Written in Ink
Written in Ink
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Harming Social Security through Bad Customer Service?

From The LA Times: It's no secret that if you really want to destroy a business, just hack away at its customer service. (Sears has been testing this axiom with considerable vigor.) The principle also holds true for government programs, which is why you should be very suspicious about the relentless budget-cutting at the Social Security Administration

Mark Miller of Reuters brings us up to date on this underhanded campaign, which involves closing field offices by the score, satellite offices by the hundreds and service staff by the thousands. "Visitors to field offices waited more than 30 percent longer in fiscal 2013 than in 2012," Miller reports. "Busy signals on the SSA's toll-free customer assistance line (800-772-1213) doubled in fiscal 2013 over the previous year."

As Nancy Altman, co-director of the advocacy group Strengthen Social Security, told Miller, this is part of "a raging fight by conservatives to get rid of the government's footprint wherever possible." And since Social Security has long been in their cross hairs, it's unsurprising that a meat cleaver has been taken to its administrative budget. The budget request has been pared down in 14 of the last 16 years, Miller found.


There are so many ways that the GOP is trying to slowly strip our social safety network. Some of it is by promoting this widespread dysfunction and then bemoaning the failures of government. Other ways are by making universal programs means tested which has been shown time and time again to reduce the amount of political support for it—if nothing else, it becomes again about who deserves a program and who does not and once you get into a morality argument, it's much easier to vilify people on vague moralistic grounds and then deprive them of their benefits.

We need to be more vigilant of the ways that the GOP is fighting a propaganda war to promote unpopular measures, like cutting social security, as they do, with depressing predictability.

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