New dangers for Social Security

We are entering a new phase in the fight to protect Social Security. Up to now, we have focused on opposing the administration’s plans to privatize Social Security. The national movement to protect SS has been successful: the majority of people, Democratic Congress members and enough Republicans have stood firm.

No one thought the administration would simply give up. Their new approach centers on convincing the public that Social Security needs some serious fixing, and quickly. Some Democratic politicians and those Republicans who oppose privatization are being lured into this deadly trap.

In order to appear “reasonable,” most have agreed that there is a problem to be fixed. Once having said that, the administration is now saying, “If not privatization, then what is your alternative?” The idea of price-indexing benefits (as opposed to wage-indexing) has been floated around before, including by some Democrats. Now they are being put into a position of “not being reasonable.”

If you acknowledge there is a problem, then you have to come up with a solution. In this situation, there is no solution that doesn’t cut into the fabric of Social Security. There is no crisis or emergency! We have 30-40 years to solve any possible problem in the future. Raising the cap on income contributions is the obvious one.

We now have to consider a slight adjustment in our focus to include those elected officials who ostensibly oppose privatization but might be willing to “discuss” alternatives to solve a non-existent problem. And they are out there, on both sides of the aisle.

That is why our continued efforts are so important. We must not ease up before the battle is won. There is no record for the fastest time for the half-mile in a mile-long race. We’ve got to finish strong.

John Gallo

Cleveland OH

Laura Bush not funny

Am I the only person is the USA who didn’t think Laura Bush was funny at the press conference? Maybe the families (at home and abroad) of the victims of “Mr. Excitement’s” immoral war are also “Desperate Housewives.”

Perhaps the horror the American people have allowed “Mr. Excitement” and his “chain saw” buddies to create has caused me to lose my sense of humor.

Gretchen Nielsen

Tucson AZ

‘Nuclear option’ is priority

There are many struggles right now. Yet, I believe the “nuclear option” or Sen. Frist’s initiative to torpedo the Senate filibuster is the single most serious one in front of us. It will impact all the other struggles: livable wage, women’s choice, environment and civil rights. If we lose on this one, it will have a major impact on the struggle for civil rights, the women’s movement, and result in vast exploitation and undermining of workers’ rights in our country.

Everyone now should be writing and targeting their senators and everyone else, including moderate Republicans. This should be the top issue on everyone’s list. Please cover this issue. The Republicans claim they have the votes now to torpedo the filibuster. They don’t need to and don’t want to compromise. They want to take our country away from us. Please write and call your senators now!

Valerie Linder

Oakland CA

Nonunion auto plants

Glad that someone is taking an interest in the growth of the nonunion auto companies (“Toyota truck plant to open in San Antonio,” PWW 4/16-22). In 1973, 73.2 percent of vehicles sold in the United States were UAW made. Now this is 56.8 percent and dropping. Job loss and decreased tax base have devastated many communities. The UAW is under increased pressure to give back what so many of us sacrificed for. Until recently Toyota, Nissan and Honda paid comparable wages and benefits to keep the union out. Now at the new Nissan plant in Canton, Miss. (where the Titan truck is being built to compete with the Ford 150), assembly line workers are paid $14 an hour, skilled trades $18 an hour — about 50 percent of UAW wages.

The Canadian Auto Workers have not been able to organize these nonunion companies either. Honda has been in Ohio for 25 years and we have only been able to organize the boiler operators. The anti-union atmosphere makes it very difficult to organize. These companies are very adept at keeping the union out.

By the way Toyota owes its sales and popularity to its perceived and actual quality (Lexus, Camry), not the myth of “its relatively environmentally friendly standards,” because like all capitalists they are pumping out SUVs and trucks to make profits.

I think it is a good article, but a little arrogant in trying to tell the union how to organize.

Jim Glenn

Detroit MI

Communism and religion

It was very refreshing to see your article on the dialogue developing between the CPUSA and persons of faith (PWW 4/30-5/6). This is a healthy trend which I hope continues; a voice from the religious left would be a welcome answer to the dominance of attention that the right currently enjoys in this area. It is especially encouraging to see persons of faith who understand the common social goals that both the party and Christianity embrace.

I have always taken inspiration from the quote by Robespierre, “The true worship of the supreme being lies in the carrying out of human duties.” He followed by listing the duties entailed, all of which were ones of social betterment, particularly dealing with defense of the poor against tyranny. The recognition of these common threads between Communism and Christianity can only lead to a better relationship between the two, to the enrichment of both.

John Beckham

Fontana CA

The history of society in two parts

Part 1: January 1848

“The history of all hitherto existing society (that is, all written history) is the history of class struggles.”

Part 2: May 2005

“The history of all hitherto existing society since Part 1 is the history of class struggle burdened further by endless futile attempts to refute Part 1.”

Bill Appelhans

Chicago IL

Mother’s Day

My mother used to say she hated Mother’s Day. “One day a year you love mother and the rest of the year she can go to hell,” she’d say. That pretty well sums up Bush’s hypocrisy when it comes to women.

Renee Weisman

Bozeman MT