The news is all about cutting Social Security or not cutting Social Security, but Sens. Begich (D-AK) and Harkin (D-IA) have introduced separate-but-similar bills that would actually expand Social Security benefits. I couldn't tell you why they're not throwing their weight behind the same bill or why you should care -- both bills would direct the Department of Labor to create a Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (or CPIEC), so we can measure cost-of-living benefit hikes better than the chained CPI does, and both bills would "scrap the cap" on income Social Security can tax, meaning Social Security could finally tap into millionaire and billionaire (or even $114,000aire) income, and we might never have to hear about Social Security's alleged insolvency ever again. (Mr. Begich's bill is S. 308; Mr. Harkin's bill is S. 567.) Both Bold Progressives and CREDO help you tell your Congressfolk to support the Harkin/Begich effort to increase Social Security benefits. If your Congressfolk respond that WE'RE BROKE!!!!!, kindly point out the part where you already told them how to pay for it.
Meanwhile, Sen. McCain's a la carte cable packaging bill, S. 912, has gained a co-sponsor -- Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, who says: "The current antiquated, antidemocratic system imposes all-or-nothing cable packages that give consumers no control over their cable bill, and prevent subscribers from voting with their feet when they are unhappy." Hear, hear! Now, with that in mind, note that some of my fellow lefties oppose a la carte cable packaging because they're concerned about diversity in media offerings. I'd remind them that S. 912 doesn't prevent consumers from buying TVOne or BET or Univision as part of a package, that we have other tools (like PBS, legally mandated to serve the underserved) to strengthen diversity on the airwaves, and that taking hostages to oppose a bill ("keep cable packaging the way it is, or I'll blow BET's brains out!") is a right-wing trick. The Parents Television Council still helps you tell your Congressfolk to support a la carte cable; amend the text as you need to, possibly by referring to the McCain/Blumenthal bill by name and/or number.