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Saturday, December 10, 2016

House Republicans introduce bill to slash Social Security, daring Trump to keep promise to save it

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 07:  Demonstrators, including many senior citizens, protest against cuts to federal safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on November 7, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. About 40 of the demonstrators were arrested, cited, and released after they blocked a downtown intersection and refused police orders to move.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

"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."

What are the democrats complaining about? This sounds like something out of their playbook--everyone is equal, we all get the same, regardless of how much we contribute, low income or high income.

Jim Keyworth said...

Appreciate your comment, but Democrats do not believe in preserving the unjust distribution of wealth that exists today. If we get rid of the 1% and learn to play fair and share there will be enough for everybody to enjoy a decent standard of living. It's Bernie's Democratic Socialism and it works very well in many European countries. Greed being what it is we will probably not achieve that, but we will never give up the fight.

Anonymous said...

I said nothing about the 1% and the distribution of wealth today but somehow you disregard my comment and change the subject.

The quote about the proposal fits socialism where all equal no matter how much, or little, they contribute to society. That's exactly what you want but yet you still complain.

Jim Keyworth said...

The comment about the distribution of wealth was in response to your misunderstanding of what Democratic Socialists believe, which was central to your argument. You obviously still don't get it. Not unusual for those who are protecting their stuff from others.

Anonymous said...

"This bill shows that Republicans plan to steal all that money that's been invested for your retirement in bonds."

Now I understand. If the Republicans take from one and give it to another, it's stealing. If the Democratic Socialists do it, it's redistribution.

Socialism works so well. Just look at Cuba. They are thriving there.

Jim Keyworth said...

There is a big difference between Democratic Socialism as envisioned by Bernie Sanders and practiced by many European countries and the kind you are talking about as practiced by Russia and China.

As for Cuba, the people were much better off under Fidel Castro than they were under the U.S.-supported dictatorship he overturned. Witness the outpouring of affection when he died.

Anonymous said...

The residents of Cuba's affection towards Castro was not unlike that of an abused spouse towards his/her abusive mate.

They thought they were happy because that's all they knew. How many of those that got out, returned?

Jim Keyworth said...

First, I really appreciate your civility in this exchange. So many comments I receive are simply unprintable.

It would be really hard to prove that all of Cuba's residents are suffering from some kind of abuse syndrome.

Compare their health care system to ours. That a poor country can provide its people with effective universal health care while ours is hyper-inflated by the gross profit-taking of insurance and drug companies speaks volumes. Why can't we cut out these middle men and make health care available to all? It's simple greed and government corruption.

And yes, there are flaws in all forms of government. The U.S. has its share of expatriates who will never return.