The Republican Record On Social Security
1935: Almost all Republicans in Congress oppose the creation of Social Security.
1939: 75 percent of Republicans in Senate try to kill legislation providing Social Security benefits to dependents and survivors as well as retired workers.
1950: 79 percent of House and 89 percent of Senate Republicans vote against disability insurance to defeat it.
1956: 86 percent of Republicans in Senate oppose disability insurance; program approved nonetheless.
1964: Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and future president Ronald Reagan both suggest that Social Security be made voluntary.
1965: 93 percent of Republicans in House and 62 percent in Senate vote to kill Medicare.
1977: 58 percent of Senate votes against amendment to provide semiannual increases.
1977: 88 percent of Republicans in House and 63 percent in Senate vote against an increase in Social Security payroll tax needed to keep the system solvent.
1981: President Reagan proposes $35 billion in Social Security cuts over the next 5 years. The cuts would have included the elimination of student benefits, lump-sum death benefits, and a retroactive elimination of the $122 minimum benefit for three million recipients.
1981: Reagan administration begins a wholesale review of the Social Security Disability rolls, resulting in over 560,000 eligibility investigations in 1982 360,000 more than the year before. Ultimately, at least 106,000 families were removed from the rolls.
Republicans Aren’t Going To Take Away Social Security
Without beating around the bush, the Republican Party is often associated as being the party of the well-to-do — and the rich typically aren’t reliant in any way on Social Security income. There’s, therefore, been a long-running belief that Republicans would aim to do away with Social Security sometime in the future. This is nothing more than another in a long line of pervasive Social Security myths.
Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill have an understanding of the importance that Social Security plays in keeping some 22 million people currently receiving benefits above the federal poverty line. Though both parties may have suggested tweaking how revenue is generated for the program, neither party would remove or replace any of the three funding sources: the payroll tax on earned income, the taxation of benefits, and interest income on the program’s asset reserves.
In other words, no Republican is going to advocate scraping Social Security. And even if they did, the idea would have no chance of gaining traction in Congress.
The Average Retired Worker Benefit Could Be Cut By More Than $4300 In Less Than 15 Years
The good news, if there’s a silver lining to pull out of this mess for seniors and future retirees, is that Social Security won’t be bankrupt, even if Congress fails to act. Two of Social Security’s three sources of funding — the 12.4% payroll tax on earned income and the taxation of benefits — are recurring sources of revenue. As long as the American public continues to work, money will be flowing into the Social Security program for disbursement to eligible beneficiaries.
On the other hand, no money left in asset reserves would mean that the existing payout schedule, inclusive of cost-of-living adjustments, would no longer be sustainable. Translation: Benefit cuts would be necessary to maintain Social Security’s solvency for decades to come.
According to the latest Trustees report, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust would only be able to pay 76% of scheduled benefits once its coffers are cleaned out. Put another way, it means retired workers and survivors could face an across-the-board benefit cut of 24% by 2035.
Now, think about this for a moment. In May 2020, the Social Security Administration published data showing that the average retired worker was bringing home $1,512.63 a month. That’s $18,151.56 a year for the typical retiree. A 24% benefit cut would, in May 2020 dollars, equate to a benefit cut of $4,356 a year. That’s terrifying when you consider that 62% of retired workers rely on their monthly payout to account for at least half of their income.
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The Average Retired Worker Could Be Taking Home A Lot Less From Social Security In 15 Years
This has been a challenging year in so many respects for the American public. The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way we interact with one another, and its displaced more than 20 million workers. If youre an investor, you were also taken on a wild ride, with the stock market packing about 10 years worth of volatility into a period of four months. And dont even get me started about the murder hornets.
But one of the few solaces working Americans have always been able to take is the idea that, if they earn 40 lifetime work credits, a Social Security benefit will be waiting for them when they retire.
The Social Security program has navigated through 13 recessions prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite some obviously grim outlooks during those previous recessions, youll note that Social Security is still here, and its been paying continuous retired-worker benefits for more than 80 years. This is why its often referred to as Americas most successful social program.
But just because its been a historically successful program doesnt mean its necessarily in great shape to service future generations of retirees.
What You Should Know About The Gop And Social Security
Who’s to blame for this mess? Well, some Americans would point their fingers specifically at Republicans in Congress. While they absolutely do take some of the blame, the inaction by Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill makes them equally culpable in exacerbating Social Security’s problems.
When it comes to Republicans and Social Security, here are the four things you absolutely need to know.
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With A Potential Debt Ceiling Increase Afoot Liberals Brace For Obama To Once Again Push For Social Security Cuts
Paul Ryans Wednesday Wall Street Journalop-ed was perhaps the starkest sign of a striking shift: a government shutdown and debt ceiling showdown pitched by Tea Party members to be about blocking Obamacare is being framed by GOP leaders as a push towards entitlement reform. In Wednesday interviews, leaders of liberal groups commended the presidents consistent insistence on not offering new budget concessions in exchange for reopening the government or averting debt default. But they pledged an all-out effort to defeat Social Security or Medicare cuts if Obama offers them once again after the default threat is delayed. GOP leaders push for a six-week debt ceiling increase suggests that moment could come very soon.
Charles Chamberlain, who directs the Dean campaign offshoot Democracy For America, told Salon that it would be a huge mistake for Obama to once again push the Social Security cut called chained CPI, and the president would face a gigantic amount of opposition from progressives nationwide if he did. Still, said Chamberlain, he put her on the table once before. I dont think hes going to take it off.
Meanwhile, the presidents support appears to have tempered opposition to Social Security cuts within the Democratic Caucus. A work-in-progress whip count from Social Security Works so far counts a dozen Democrats in the Senate and 46 in the House whose statements suggest they would oppose any deal including chained CPI .
They Haven’t Taken A Dime From The Social Security Program That Isn’t Accounted For
Another misconception is that the Republican Party stole money from the Social Security Trust and used it to fund wars. More specifically, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush have come under intense scrutiny for borrowing from Social Security and “not putting the money back.”
However, the truth of the matter is that Congress has been able to “borrow” Social Security’s excess cash for five decades, and it’s happened under every single president over that stretch. In fact, the Social Security Administration is required by law to purchase special-issue bonds and certificates of indebtedness with this excess cash. Please note the emphasis on “required by law” that I’ve added above. The federal government isn’t simply going to sit on this excess cash it borrows from Social Security. It’s spending this cash on various line items, which may be wars and the defense budget, as well as education, healthcare, and pretty much any other expenditure you can think of.
This setup is actually a win-win for both parties. The federal government has a relatively liquid source of borrowing with the Social Security Trust, and the Trust is able to generate significant annual income from the interest it earns on its loans. Last year, $85.1 billion of the $996.6 billion that was generated by the program came from interest income.
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Trump Keeps Proposing Entitlement Cuts And Then Denying That He Did So
In 2015 and 16, Trump differentiated himself from the rest of the Republican presidential hopefuls by campaigning on a vow to not cut entitlements.
Im not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and Im not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid, Trump told the Daily Signal, a conservative publication affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, in 2015.
As his budget proposals indicate, this promise was an empty one. Trump, however, seems to realize that cutting entitlements is a political loser for him, and as a result has continued to make assertions about preserving them that are at odds with reality.
All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they dont, they will after I speak to them. I am in total support. Also, Democrats will destroy your Medicare, and I will keep it healthy and well!
Donald J. Trump
Last month, however, Trump seemed to have a moment of radical honesty when he told CNBC during an interview conducted in Davos that at some point entitlement cuts will be on the table.
CNBC: Will entitlements ever be on your plate ?TRUMP: “At some point they will be”CNBC: But you said you wouldn’t do that in the pastTRUMP: “We also have assets that we never had”
Those comments created a negative stir, so the very next day Trump tried to walk them back.
Democrats are going to destroy your Social Security. I have totally left it alone, as promised, and will save it!
Donald J. Trump
Democrats Have Already Signaled Trumps Budget Is Going Nowhere
While Trump tries to have it both ways by proposing entitlement cuts while claiming hes not really doing that, Treasury Department spokesperson Monica Crowley was somewhat more straightforward during a Monday morning appearance on Fox Business.
Asked by host Stuart Varney if she agrees that the new budget hits the safety net, Crowley said the president understands that Washingtons habit of out of control spending without consequence has to be stopped.
Treasury Secretary Assistant Sec. Monica Crowley defends cuts to entitlements in Trumps new 2021 budget proposal: The president also understands that Washingtons habit of out of control spending without consequence has to be stopped.
But for Trump, not all spending is bad. While his budget cuts non-defense spending by 5 percent, he actually slates defense spending for an increase to $740.5 billion for fiscal year 2021.
Budget proposals are just that proposals. And while Trump insists that Republicans are the ones trying to save entitlements from destruction, the irony is that the truth is exactly the opposite: Entitlement cuts are dead on arrival as long as Democrats control a chamber of Congress.
House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth alluded to this reality in a statement he released on Sunday blasting Trump for proposing deep cuts to critical programs that help American families.
Is The Gop Really Trying To Do Away With Social Security
Social Security is unquestionably the nation’s most important social program, with more than three out of five current retired workers leaning on it to account for at least half of their monthly income. Yet, this crucial program is on shaky ground, with the latest annual report from the Social Security Board of Trustees painting a grim intermediate- and long-term picture for the program.
According to the report, Social Security is facing an inflection point this year. For the first time since 1982, aggregate expenditures, which almost entirely includes benefits, but also takes into account administrative expenses and Railroad Retirement exchange contributions, will exceed revenue generated. Although the net cash outflow is only estimated at $1.7 billion, which is relative peanuts when compared to the $2.89 trillion currently in asset reserves, it’s a conclusive sign that the existing payout schedule isn’t sustainable.
Things begin to get really dicey in 2020 and beyond. Beginning at the turn of the decade, ongoing demographic shifts are expected to cause the net cash outflow to balloon. By 2034, following 16 years of outflows, the $2.89 trillion in excess cash is expected to be completely gone. Should this happen, Social Security would survive, but payouts to then-current and future retirees could be cut by up to 21%. That’s not a pleasant forecast given the noted reliance of seniors on the program.
Meet The New Gop Plan To End Medicare Same As The Old Gop Plan To End Medicare
We here in the Democratic Whip Press shop will give Republicans credit for their transparency. They are not even trying to hide the fact that their Cut, Cap and End Medicare bill would end the programs guarantee.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said yesterday the plan basically mirrors the budget proposal that the House passed this year.
That would be the same Republican budget proposal that ends the Medicare guarantee and more than doubles heath care costs for seniors, all while preserving tax breaks for the wealthy.
And the Republican Cut, Cap and End Medicare plan is no different.
But dont just take our word for it. According to theCenter on Budget and Policy Priorities, the measure:
stands out as one of the most ideologically extreme pieces of major budget legislation to come before Congress in years, if not decades.
The legislation would inexorably subject Social Security and Medicare to deep reductions.
In addition, the extreme and draconian Republican proposal would reverse decades of precedent that exempt cuts to basic services for the most vulnerable among us. More from the CBPP:
Since the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law of 1985, all such laws have exempted the core basic assistance programs for the poorest Americans from such across-the-board cuts. Cut, Cap, and Balance, by contrast, specifically subjects all such programs to across-the-board cuts if its spending caps would be exceeded.
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Republicans Will Cut Social Security And Medicare After Tax Plan Passes Says Marco Rubio
Update | Florida Senator Marco Rubio admits that the Republican tax cut plan, which benefits corporations and the wealthy, will require cuts to Social Security and Medicare to pay for it.
To address the federal deficit, which will grow by at least $1 trillion if the tax plan passes, Congress will need to cut entitlement programs such as Social Security, Rubio told reporters this week. Advocates for the elderly and the poor have warned that entitlement programs would be on the chopping block, but this is the first time a prominent Republican has backed their claims.
Expect all the guests on the Sunday shows to be Republicans explaining how they now have no choice but to slash Social Security & Medicare because the deficit has suddenly and mysteriously gotten much worse.
Bruce “Snarking and Barking” Bartlett
“You have got to generate economic growth because growth generates revenue,” Rubio said at a Politico conference. “But you also have to bring spending under control. And not discretionary spending. That isn’t the driver of our debt. The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries.”
Rubio’s talk of structural change is vague but will likely include changing the rate and age of Social Security and Medicare payouts.
So where does that money come from?
Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch said Thursday that “liberal programs” for the poor were wasting Americans’ money.
The Political Outlook For Social Security Reforms
But the Biden administration and its Congressional allies are instead focused on threading the political needle for an ambitious $3.5 trillion infrastructure spending package, while also dealing with the fallout from the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Leading Republican legislators have called for so-called entitlement reform , but that’s a tough sell in the current ;Democratically controlled Congress.
“Does the report mean the timetable argues for real concrete action on Social Security? Probably not. Will it revive the rhetoric that the sky is falling? Sure,” says Robert Blancato, national coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition advocacy group, president of Matz Blancato and Associates and a 2016 Next Avenue Influencer in Aging.
The issue over how best to restore financial solvency to Social Security isn’t going away. That’s because the program is fundamental to the economic security of retired Americans. Social Security currently pays benefits to 49 million retired workers and dependents of retired workers .
However, the tenor of the longer-term solvency discussion has significantly changed in recent years.
To be sure, a number of leading Republicans still want to cut Social Security retirement benefits to reduce the impending shortfall. Their latest maneuver is what’s known as The TRUST Act, sponsored by Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.
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Democrats Urged To Reject Latest Gop Attempt To Hold Social Security ‘hostage’
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday said he would be willing to vote to raise the federal debt ceiling in exchange for a policy that could result in cuts to Social Security and Medicare, a proposed trade-off that progressive advocacy groups implored Democrats to reject.
“Fortunately, Democrats can protect Social Security and Medicare by raising the debt ceiling in the forthcoming reconciliation package.”Alex Lawson, Social Security Works
With members of Congress staring down an to increase the debt limitthe amount of money the federal government is legally permitted to borrow to meet its financial obligationsGraham toldBloomberg that he could bring himself to vote yes on a debt ceiling hike if Democrats agree to legislation establishing commissions tasked with crafting Social Security and Medicare “reforms.”
But Social Security Works, a progressive advocacy organization, was quick to warn that Graham’s offer is a thinly veiled trap.
“Lindsey Graham and his fellow Republicans will stop at nothing to cut the American people’s earned Social Security and Medicare benefits,” Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, said in a statement. “Graham has now telegraphed his party’s intention to demand a commission to cut Social Security and Medicare as the price for raising the debt ceiling.”
Social Security Works and other groups warned at the time that the proposal was nothing more than “a plot to gut Social Security behind closed doors.”