JOLT began after the Women's March, when the members of a small suburban book group felt inspired and compelled to speak out for human dignity, fair government and a just and humane society. What started with a simple post-card signing event has become part of a movement to safeguard our Democracy and preserve the basic principals that have guided us as a nation; freedom from oppression, embracing of diverse cultures; and to defend and protect our planet for future generations.
To JOIN together and use our power as citizens to affect change.
To ORGANIZE opposition to a divisive, inauthentic Presidency, and a legislative agenda aimed at denying civil liberties, oppressing human rights, enriching corporations at the expense of the individual, supporting an oil and gas dominated economy, and dismantling environmental protections.
To inspire others to LEAD in their communities; to reach out to neighbors, friends and strangers, and to unite for a better America.
To TEACH or educate as to the meaning and implications of legislative acts, gerrymandering, voter right restrictions, executive orders, and judicial appointees.
Attend Educational Events- issues and political figures.
Activism- regularly scheduled post card writings, phone athons, get out the vote and voter registration events.
Sign up to stay connected with activist events including post-card writings; phone-at-thons; speakers and more. Be surrounded by like minded community members. Every small action you take adds to the wave of change. Please be involved
JOLT USA is our nonprofit arm dedicated to civics outreach and support of issues and people that further a more representative and fairer Democracy. Submissions and suggestions for articles on civics, law, economics, education and literary contributions for publication on Speakers Corner are welcome. Please email ridgewoodjolt@gmail.
Donations are needed and welcome. Checks can be made out to Jolt USA and sent to 364 Graydon Terrace. JOLT USA is a 501c4 and Contributions are non-deductible.
Note: The Vote By Mail Event previously scheduled for Wednesday, August 14th has been cancelled due to the immense success of the first event. 600+ VBM applications were sent out to GenZ and Millenials in Ridgewood and neighboring towns. Thank you to all the volunteers who made this possible!
Spend 15 minutes every day taking an action for change https://www.facebook.com/15mins4change/Automatic
In concert with the Brennan Center for Justice's Voter Reform Initiative for NJ, we are asking our members to dedicate 15 minutes each to calling state legislators. http://www.brennancenter.org for scripts email firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT WE'VE DONE
ATTENDED WOMENS MARCH ON NYC
THE CHANGING FACE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY WITH ASSEMBLYWOMAN SHAVONDA SUMTER AND BERGEN COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE VICE CHAIR, BALPREET VIRK-GREWAL
FEBRUARY- NET NEUTRALITY AND PRIVACY. ATTORNEY CLARA LICATA TOOK US THROUGH THE NUANCES OF THE NEUTRALITY REPEAL BY TRUMP AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR OUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ATTORNEY DAVE HARRIS AND HUMANITY CO'S LEXA ABRAHAMSON UNVEILED THE COLLECTION OF OUR DATA ON LINE AND OFFERED PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SOLUTIONS.
MARCH-STRONGER TOGETHER -WOMEN REFORMING NJ
SUE ALTMAN OF SOUTH JERSEY WOMEN FOR PROGRESSIVE CHANGE AND SAILY AVELENDA OF NJ11TH4CHANGE, WALKED US THROUGH THE INTRICATE WEB OF NJ POLITICS AND THE PROBLEMS WITH LEGISLATIVE AND PARTY PRACTICES AND STRUCTURE. EMPOWERING AND ENLIGHTENING.
APRIL- GREEN NEW DEAL AND NJ GREEN ACTIONS EVENT
CLIMATE REALITY LEADER HARRIETT SHUGARMAN WALKED US THROUGH THE GREEN NEW DEAL AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE FEDERAL AND INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE REPORTS AND THE PROPOSED HUDSON POWER PLANT, AND ERIC BENSON OF CLEAN WATER ACTION SHOWED US MEASURES WE CAN TAKE TO ADDRESS LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
MAY- Q&A WITH ASSEMBLY CANDIDATES AND KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE
Q&A WITH NJ ASSEMBLY CANDIDATES MARIA CORDONNIER AND MIKE SEDON (40) AS WELL AS CHRISTINE CLARKE (26) AND SHOWING OF KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE DOCUMENTARY FEATURING 4 WOMEN WHO WON CONGRESSIONAL SEATS AGAINST ALL ODDS
JUNE- CALL TO ACTION PLANNED PARENTHOOD AND CLEAN WATER ACTION NEXT LEVEL ACTIVISM TRAINING
ERIC BENSON (CLEAN WATER ACTION) AND NICOLE MATOS (PLANNED PARENTHOOD) GAVE SUGGESTIONS ON WRITING LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, OP-EDA, FILING OPRA REQUESTS, TESTIFYING AT HEARINGS, AND LOBBYING LEGISLATORS
RIDGEWOOD PRIDE MONTH CELEBRATION
RIDGEWOOD RAISED THE PRIDE FLAG TO BE FLOWN ALONGSIDE THE AMERICAN FLAG IN VAN NESTE SQUARE FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH OF JUNE. JOLT RAISED MONEY FOR THE 25' FLAG AND WELCOMED AT THE CEREMONY.
#WEARORANGE GUN VIOLENCE AWARENESS RALLY
STUDENTS DEMAND ACTION, MOMS DEMAND ACTION, SANDY HOOK PROMISE, AS WELL AS ELECTED OFFICIALS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS REMEMBERED ALL OF THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN VICTIM TO GUN VIOLENCE AND ROSE AWARENESS ABOUT GUN SAFETY IN THE HOPES OF PREVENTING SIMILAR SHOOTINGS IN THE FUTURE.
JULY- EMPOWER IMMIGRANTS KNOW YOUR RIGHTS EVENT
IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY CAROLINA CURBELO, ESQ. EXPLAINED ICE DETAINEES' RIGHTS AND CURRENT CONTRACTS WITH ICE IN NJ.
CO-SPONSORED LIGHTS FOR LIBERTY CANDLELIGHT VIGIL
THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE CAME TOGETHER IN LOCATIONS WORLDWIDE TO PROTEST THE INHUMANE CONDITIONS FACED BY MIGRANTS IN DETENTION CENTERS
JANUARY- Woman's march on NYC
FEBRUARY- SECOND AMENDMENT EVENT
MARCH- DACA presentation featuring immigration attorney and a Dreamer
Gun Awareness meeting
March for our Lives Hackensack
Town Hall on Gun Awareness with Senator Menendez and Congressman Pascrell
APRIL- Presentation of "An Inconvenient Sequel" and Q&A with Climate Reality Leader Harriet Shugarman
Earth Day Fare Presentation on use of fertilizers and pesticides on lawns and fracking
MAY - VOTER TO VOTER GET OUT THE VOTE POSTCARD EVENT.
JUNE- #WEARORANGE Table at RIDGEWOOD MEMORIAL DAY RUN and
Ceremony proclaiming Gun Violence Awareness Day
Saily Avelenda of NJ11thforChange and Anna Wong of Indivisible NJ5 instructed and inspired members on GOTV initiatives.
REUNITE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES rally
JULY thru OCTOBER
Every Wednesday through Election Day- Jolters meet for writing to voters, phone banking and canvassing.
NOVEMBER- GOTV ELECTION WEEKEND, ELECTION RESULTS VIEWING PARTY
DECEMBER- JOLT HOLIDAY THANK YOU PARTY
JUNE-JOLT members proudly flew pride flags at their homes and supported the Town's initiative to fly a flag in Van Neste park.
JULY-JOLT members participated in phone banks and canvassing for the 40th district.
AUGUST-JOLT members turned out in force for the Candlelight Vigil for Charlottesville.
SEPTEMBER- We worked for LD40 and co sponsored NFRPP seminar on
the Polarization of Politics
OCTOBER- Co-sponsored Network for Responsible Public Policy's seminar "Democracy Under Threat"
NOVEMBER-Postcards for Doug Jones and Toy Drive for Paterson School
DECEMBER- Postcards for Doug Jones!
It is important for us to take local initiatives to protect our environment, starting with increasing our town's commitment to solar and wind energy; electric vehicles; and pesticide freee public spaces. We are working to get our mayor to sign onto the Mayor's National Climate Action Agenda have Ridgewood publicly honor the Paris Climate accord standards. If you are interested in helping on this initiative email email@example.com
Central to our mission is the integrity of the Presidency and our system of Democracy. As such many of our calls to action and initiatives have as a focus the investigation into Russian hacking of the 2016 election and relations between the current administration and Russia.
We will be working on local resolutions concerning gun regulation; as well as items relating to marches or rallies pertaining to gun regulation. We will also support all student activism on gun legislation. Email ridgewoodJOLT@gmail.com or go to ridgewoodJOLT on FB for information on upcoming meetings and eventd
We are working to GOTV to help Rep. Gottheimer retain NJ-5's Congressional Seat and to keep Senator Menendez in office. We will also help with other districts and Senate seats.
If you are interested in participating email firstname.lastname@example.org
by Clara S. Licata
Recently, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has admitted that Republicans are “gunning” for Social Security and Medicare. They view these programs as “entitlements,” a term that has come to have pejorative connotations at time, even though the basis for the entitlement is that the payments have been earned. This is nothing new in conservative circles. What is new now is that the GOP is now trying to shift the blame for the current federal budget deficit to these programs. This tactic demands an examination of the relationship between Social Security/Medicare and the federal budget deficit. This is a complicated problem for which there are no easy solutions. It demands bi-partisan attention, not bombast and rhetoric from both sides.
A counter-argument has been circulating in media that Social Security does not contribute to the deficit because it is self-funded through a payroll tax and Medicare is funded through a combination of payroll tax and premiums paid by recipients. Social Security in particular has been described as “off-budget,” in that the Social Security Trust Fund is not considered to be part of the federal budget, to protect trust fund surpluses from being diverted into other programs.
This is an attractive argument, but when researched really does not withstand scrutiny. Other commentators have noted that labeling Social Security as “off-budget” is just a matter of accounting reporting and does not reflect economic reality. For example, the 2018 Social Security OASDI Board of Trustees Report states that Social Security and Medicare together accounted for 42% of federal program expenditures in fiscal 2017 and the “unified budget” reflects trust fund operations. Thus, the report states, even when there are positive trust fund balances, any drawdown of those balances and interest payments to the trust funds that are used to pay benefits increases pressure on the unified budget.
A deeper understanding of how this system works is necessary. The only disbursements permitted from the trust fund are benefit payments and administrative expenses. Federal law requires that all excess funds be invested in interest bearing securities backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The Treasury Department currently invests all program revenues in special non-marketable securities of the U.S. Government which earn interest equal to rates on marketable securities. When Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes are collected in excess of immediate program costs, funds are converted to Treasury bonds and held in reserve for future periods. Thus, accumulation of assets in the trust funds improves the unified federal budget position. When trust funds are drawn down to pay scheduled benefits, bonds are redeemed and interest payments are made, creating a current year cost to the unified federal budget without any new income coming in. Thus, when the unified budget is not in surplus, these payments are made through some combination of increased taxation, reductions in other government spending, or additional borrowing from the public in the form of issuing more bonds.
The investing of trust fund assets in U.S. government securities has been called intergovernmental debt. This is important because national debt has been defined as total national debt, excluding intergovernmental debt. Each dollar of FICA surplus, when it exists, decreases the degree that the federal government needs to borrow from the outside and each dollar of trust fund bond redeemed (to make social security payments) is another dollar that requires the issuing of more bonds to borrow that money. Congress would not default on these bonds, but to keep the trust fund bonds unspent, the government must reduce social security spending, either by boosting the retirement age, a benefit phase out based on income, or some other mechanism.
Thus, social security benefits are part of the overall governmental spending picture. Between now and 2034, when the Social Security Trustees predict the trust fund surplus will run out, Congress must pass some kind of legislation or general revenue funds will need to supplement FICA revenues.
Now it is necessary to examine the current federal deficit. The Treasury Department puts the current budget deficit for the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year at $779 billion. The Congressional Budget Office projects it at $973 billion for the 2018-2019 fiscal year and the CBO predicts it will rise to over a trillion dollars in the next decade. It is generally agreed that this huge increase in the deficit since 2017 is due to the tax cuts enacted that year. This legislation temporarily reduced individual income tax rates, nearly doubled the standard deduction, modified or eliminated certain deductions or exemptions, and temporarily allowed firms to deduct the cost of capital investments immediately.Hence, the calls to reduce Social Security and Medicaid “entitlements” to relieve this deficit. But will cuts in entitlement programs have any effect on closing the deficit?
Medicare as a form of health insurance is less generous than most insurance plans for the non-elderly. Expanding coverage and requiring well to do elderly to pay more is one solution, but the number of well to do wealthy is too small to have an impact on this. As to social security, the age at which benefits can be claimed has risen, but does simply raising the age without changing the amounts paid save any money? Those who claim benefits at a later age automatically receive larger benefits that just offset the shorter period in which they can expect to receive benefits. Full or partial privatization has been floated as a solution, but it is projected that will add administrative costs and will not achieve any real saving.
Another proposed solution is cutting benefits. Until Mitch McConnell, no politician in his right mind has seriously proposed such a thing. In declaring that Republicans are “gunning” for Social Security and Medicare, he is suggesting that it is acceptable to renege on the commitment of assuring that the elderly and disabled will have basic income and health coverage in exchange for extracting a payroll tax and premiums.
The 2017 tax cuts were touted as reducing taxes for most Americans, with a corresponding increase in their pay checks. The jury is still out on this, with reports varying. In June 2018, one survey reported an average monthly increase of $130.56 in workers’ paychecks. In August, Business Insider found that workers’ wages have been flat to lower since the tax cuts. But proportionately speaking, the real beneficiaries of the tax cuts are the very wealthy.
It is clear that between now and 2034, when the trust fund surplus evaporates, Congress will have to pass some sort of social security legislation. This involves a real bi-partisan re-think of the best way to structure our retirement system, not knee-jerk proposals that would abandon the already inadequate social safety net the United States has crafted over the past 80 years in order to reduce a deficit hugely increased by legislation that puts more money in pockets of the already wealthy.
26 U.S.C.A. 3101(a)
Ghilarducci, Teresa, Social Security Does Not Add To The Federal Deficit,https://www.forbes.com/sites/teresaghilarducci/2018/10/19/social-security-does-not-add-to-the-federal-deficit/#30b7c8e32081
Bauer, Elizabeth, Yes, Social Security Does Indeed Add To The Federal Deficit, https://www.forbes.com/sites/ebauer/2018/10/22/yes-social-security-does-indeed-add-to-the-federal-deficit/#4238fe0d28c4
Aaron, Henry J., Budget Deficit and Entitlements: The Grand Delusion,https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/budget-deficit-and-entitlements-the-grand-delusion/
Social Security 2018 OASDI Trustees Report: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/TRSUM/
Kurtzleben, Danielle, National Public Radio, See How Much GOP Tax Cuts Will Go To The Middle Class, https://www.npr.org/2017/12/19/571754894/charts-see-how-much-of-gop-tax-cuts-will-go-to-the-middle-class
Hiltzik, Michael, Mitch McCconnell Says It Out Loud: Republicans Are Gunning For Social Security, Medicare And Obamacare Next,www.latimes.com/business/…/la-fi-hiltzik-mcconnell-social-security-20181019-story.html
daCosta, Pedro Nicolaci, Trump’s Tax Cuts Have So Far Failed To Deliver On One Key Promise,https://www.businessinsider.com/workers-wages-have-been-flat-to-lower-since-the-trump-tax-cuts-2018-8
Matherson, Nate, Monthly Paychecks Rise $130.76 After Tax Plan Changes | Survey & Report,https://lendedu.com/blog/tax-plan-changes-take-home-paychecks
Congress of the United States, Congressional Budget Office, The 2018 Long-term Budget Outlook, at 47, 50.
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