Donald Trump repeatedly promised in his campaign to leave Social Security alone, to make sure that the program would remain untouched for seniors and future retirees.
House Republicans either didn't believe him, or figure they can roll him and push through legislation to undermine the most popular and effective government program in the nation's history. That's what Rep. Sam Johnson's (R-TX)—Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee—legislation would do. He calls it a "Plan to Permanently Save Social Security," but since it's coming from a Republican, you already know not to believe that.
It's not out-and-out privatization, but would so weaken the promise of it to eventually end up there. As Nancy Altman, founding co-director of Social Security Works, says:
"No one voted for massive cuts to Social Security, nor to end the program as we know it. Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to not touch Social Security. But the powerful Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee has just unveiled a proposal that would slash Social Security benefits and radically transform the program. The Johnson plan would gradually but inexorably turn Social Security from a program that replaces wages to one that produces essentially one flat benefit, independent of how much a worker contributed. "Moreover, the proposal would reduce Social Security’s cost of living increases (COLAs) for everyone and eliminate them entirely for some, even though COLAs are already inadequate. And this radical plan would reduce benefits for spouses and children of workers so seriously disabled that they can no longer support their families."It would raise the retirement age, too, which is a cut in and of itself for future beneficiaries. The Chief Actuary for Social Security analyzed the proposal and diving deep into the tables, it looks like the cuts start in 2023, relative to current benefits (that's just six years away, btw). By 2033, they'll be about 10 percent below what they'd be under current law, and basically just continue to decline. The promise of Social Security to future generations of Americans would be kaput.
That's an important point, one reiterated by Josh Marshall. If you're still working, and have been paying Social Security "you've been paying in not only money for current beneficiaries but additional money which was invested in US government bonds to make it possible for Social Security to pay benefits of Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers."
This bill shows that Republicans plan to steal all that money that's been invested for your retirement in bonds. You won't ever see it. It's going to go to tax cuts for the rich.