Clinton Continues To Disagree With Sanders On Expanding Social Security Benefits & More Debunking Of DOMA Revisionism

Bernie Sanders Expand Social Security

There are some interesting items in the report from The Wall Street Journal on Clinton’s recent statements on capital punishment (previously discussed here) as the story extends to other statements made by Clinton in New Hampshire this week. This includes her continuing to oppose proposals from Bernie Sanders and others on the left to expand Social Security benefits, an being open to considering an increase in the retirement age:

Mrs. Clinton also broke from many liberals, including Mr. Sanders, in discussing the future of Social Security. The left wants to expand benefits for most or all recipients. Mrs. Clinton said Wednesday she wants to increase benefits to the poorest, most vulnerable recipients—but she stopped well short of endorsing an across-the-board benefit boost. She also didn’t rule out other benefit cuts…

She also laid out her views on the future of Social Security in more detail than she has in the past, and what she didn’t say was as important as what she did say. Mrs. Clinton spoke of increasing benefits for the poorest retirees, but said nothing about more benefits for others.

“I am concerned about those people on Social Security who are most vulnerable in terms of what their monthly pay out is—that is primarily divorced, widowed, single women who either never worked themselves or worked only a little bit so they have either just their own earnings to depend on, or they have a spouse who was also a low-wage worker,” she said. “The first and most important task, I think, is we make sure that we get the monthly payment for the poorest Social Security recipients up.”

The program faces a long-term funding gap, and for many years, there was a rough consensus that the solution would ultimately involve both tax increases and benefit reductions to bring the program into balance. [Note this is the view of The Wall Street Journal] But many on the left have united to oppose any cuts to benefits and to back across-the-board benefit increases, funding them with tax increases on upper-income workers.

Mrs. Clinton said she wouldn’t rule out raising the retirement age for people whose jobs allow them to work later in life, if that were possible, though she said she didn’t favor this.

Sometimes Clinton continues to promote more conservative views. Sometimes Clinton takes a more liberal stand, and then tries to cover up how conservative she had been in the past. There has been a lot of discussion this week backing up Sanders for accusing Clinton of practicing revisionist history to excuse her support for the Defense of Marriage Act. The Washington Post Fact Checker also debunked her statement.

In addition, the above video from 2004 has gone viral in which Clinton called marriage, “not just a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman.”

I believe marriage is not just a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman. I have had occasion in my life to defend marriage, to stand up for marriage, to believe in the hard work and challenge of marriage. So I take umbrage at anyone who might suggest that those of us who worry about amending the Constitution are less committed to the sanctity of marriage, or to the fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and a woman, going back into the midst of history as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principal role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society into which they are to become adults.

BuzzFeed  has further debunked Clinton’s claims in an article entitled There’s No Evidence In Clinton White House Documents For Clintons’ Story On Anti-Gay Law

Over the past few years, some Democrats — including the Clintons — have offered a new explanation for why they supported the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

The threat of a federal constitutional amendment, these Democrats have argued, motivated them to support DOMA — a law that defined marriage for federal government purposes as between one man and one woman and said states could refuse to recognize same-sex couples’ marriages from others states.

“We were attempting at the time, in a very reactionary Congress,” Bill Clinton told an audience in 2009, “to head off an attempt to send a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the states.” Four former senators — including Tom Daschle, who made the claim in 2011 — raised the idea in a Supreme Court brief in 2013. Clinton later cited that brief when, in a Washington Post op-ed, he called for the law he signed to be struck down by the court. Hillary Clinton just last week called her husband’s decision to sign DOMA “a defensive action.”

There is no contemporaneous evidence, however, to support the claim that the Clinton White House considered a possible federal constitutional amendment to be a concern, based on a BuzzFeed News review of the thousands of documents released earlier this year by the Clinton Presidential Library about same-sex couples’ marriage rights and the Defense of Marriage Act. In the documents, which include correspondence from a wide array of White House and Justice Department officials, no one even hints that Bill Clinton’s thinking or actions regarding DOMA were animated by the threat of a federal constitutional amendment.

The claim has faced renewed scrutiny in recent days after Hillary Clinton made an extended argument in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that DOMA was a “line to be drawn” to prevent further action.

“I think what my husband believed — and there was certainly evidence to support it — is that there was enough political momentum to amend the Constitution of the United States of America, and that there had to be some way to stop that,” she told Maddow.

“I was in on some of those discussions, on both ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and on DOMA, where both the president, his advisers, and occasionally I would chime in and talk about, ‘You can’t be serious, you can’t be serious.’ But they were,” Hillary Clinton said. “And so, in a lot of ways, DOMA was a line that was drawn, that was to prevent going further.”

Maddow pressed here, asking, “It was a defensive action?”

“It was a defensive action,” she replied.

In the days since, many longtime LGBT advocates have called the comments inaccurate — and her leading opponent for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, who voted against the legislation as a congressman, criticized her implicitly but sharply, onstage at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Iowa…

Hit & Run summed up the significance of why Clinton has been lying about this (emphasis mine):

But that the Clintons had no reason to lie about this in the first place is what makes the lie so strange and worthy of paying attention to. The Clintons “evolved.” Obama “evolved.” A lot of Democrats and not a small number of Republicans “evolved” on gay marriage. As I said when I wrote about this lie earlier, Clinton seems to be trying to disprove accusations that the Clintons hold positions on the basis of shrewd political calculations and is doing so in a way that’s very obviously politically calculated. Apparently the Clintons have decided that it is important that they are seen as leaders and protectors on gay rights, even though they weren’t back then. The only logical explanation is that Hillary Clinton is really worried about Bernie Sanders. But getting caught out like this only highlights the Clintons’ well-established flaws to primary voters. Ironically enough, it shows that Clinton hasn’t “evolved” when it comes to her reputation for dishonesty. And she can’t blame this one on Trey Gowdy.

Under a Hillary Clinton administration, expect to hear such Orwellian double think along the lines that “Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia.” This is likely to occur with regards to both justifications for military interventionism and on domestic policy.

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9 Comments

  1. 1
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Whoa.

    The WSJ says the Democrats on the left want to increase benefits across the board for Social Security and pay for it with increased taxes "on upper income workers"?

    What the hell?

    If they refer to the idea of getting rid of the cap on payroll taxes, why describe it that way, as if higher paid workers would be hit by the tax but no one richer than them and so not at all the infamous 1%?

    Talk about hostile propaganda.

  2. 2
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Remove the cap altogether and you could likely lower the rate, resulting in workers actually being taxed less.

  3. 3
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    I am not surprised Hill (and probably Bill) actually opposed gay marriage in those years. Obama did in 2008, favoring only civil unions. Recall Joe Biden pushed O into shifting his position in 2012. Did Hill and Bill favor civil unions, way back when DOMA was passed?

    Nor, of course, am I surprised she now lies about it.

    She is well known as a liar, though that's not to say that's a rare failing among politicians.

  4. 4
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    I fear it all playing out with Hillary getting the nomination after brutally bruising Bernie and them almost immediately being indicted for something or other, perhaps something to do with the emails.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Removing the cap altogether wold mean the workers paying less taxes as it would mean the death of Social Security.

    Income replaced by Social Security is based upon an income level approximately the same as the cap. If the cap was removed (assuming benefits were not increased based upon the higher level) then Social Security becomes a welfare plan and will be seen as bad deal for those making over around $120,000. Social Security only has political support as it is seen as something we are all in regardless of income.

    We can get away with tilting it somewhat to help those in lower incomes more, and could get away with a surtax on the wealthy, but if there was a general increase in taxes on the middle class making over $120,000 (without also adjusting benefits) there would be considerable opposition to the entire program.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    Indictment is unlikely but possible. Most of what she did wrong was unethical and in violations of regulations, but did not have criminal penalties when she was in office. She could possibly be indicted for mishandling classified information but typically those higher up get away with these things, while unknown people get prosecuted. She could also be prosecuted for influence peddling as Secretary of State, but I bet she was smart enough to prevent there from being sufficient evidence to convict.

    The more likely problem is that she wins the nomination, and then all the evidence we already have is brought up repeatedly, along with any new evidence to be uncovered. While possibly not enough to convict someone as powerful as her, it might be enough to cause her to lose the election.

  7. 7
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    Removing the cap altogether wold mean the workers paying less taxes as it would mean the death of Social Security.

    Income replaced by Social Security is based upon an income level approximately the same as the cap. If the cap was removed (assuming benefits were not increased based upon the higher level) then Social Security becomes a welfare plan and will be seen as bad deal for those making over around $120,000. Social Security only has political support as it is seen as something we are all in regardless of income.

    Not sure about that first sentence but I think I see your point, though I don't agree with it.

    Benefit levels would need to be substantially increased, anyway, just to replace wages for those making less than the cap amount like me, and it is hard to see how the hostility to the program ginned up by the right could actually get worse.

    And, as I said, taking off the cap would enable a significant drop in the actual rate, making the program a much better deal for the vast majority of Americans, people who expect little or nothing else as income in retirement and have no savings, as well as most of those who have savings, maybe a home, and/or other income to rely on.

    Sure, that makes the program more extensively redistributive, but so what?

    That's actually the point of nearly everything set up by a century of progressive victories from minimum wage, workers comp, and equal pay anti-discrimination laws to public schools, hospitals, colleges, and universities.

    And there is no cap on the tax that supports Medicare.

  8. 8
    Philo Vaihinger says:

    By the way, Medicare sucks big time, leaving huge expenses for HMO or supplemental premiums and out of pocket medical costs.

    Medicare for all would not completely cover everything for everybody without a huge increase in benefits and so a huge increase in taxes, vastly redistributive in impact, to make it work.

    I have not heard you complain about that much bigger and more expensive redistributive project that plays a conspicuous role in Bernie's agenda.

    Why not?

    Because the two changes would benefit different groups, and you like those better who would be benefited by Medicare for all than those who would be benefited by taking the cap off the social security tax in order to enhance retirement benefits while diminishing the cost of the program for working people who need it?

    The class of people benefiting by Medicare for all is much less old, much less white, and probably much less Republican than the class that would benefit from the Social Security changes I have suggested.

    Hmm.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    It wouldn't be just the right who would object to Social Security if taxes were increased on income beyond the portion of income which is replaced.

    Medicare For All has a lot of advantages to offset the cost. Plus everyone has the same benefits regardless of income.

    If the Social Security cap was entirely removed, people making $250,000 would be paying taxes based upon income of $250,000, but benefits are capped based upon an income of around $118,000. That would be a huge increase in taxes while limiting benefits based upon an income of about $118,000 would make it no longer seem like a good deal. There are many people beyond the right making over $118,000 who are likely to start objecting to Social Security.

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