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.”
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 Trump’s new 2021 budget proposal: “The president also understands that Washington’s 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.
Republicans Are Pushing Myths About Social Security
Republican politicians want to cut Social Security. They never say so out loud, but their 2016 platform reveals the truth. In the section labeled, Saving Social Security, it proclaims, As Republicans, we oppose tax increases Since Social Security cannot deficit spend and is projecting a shortfall in 2035 if Congress doesnt act, that only leaves benefit cuts.
Representative John Larson , the Chairman of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Social Security, is trying to force his Republican colleagues into the open. Larson is the sponsor of the Social Security 2100 Act, which increases Social Securitys modest benefits. Additionally, it raises enough revenue to ensure that all benefits can be paid in full and on time through the year 2100 and beyond. Ninety percent of the Democrats in the House of Representatives are co-sponsors, but not a single Republican. Given their refusal to back his bill, Rep. Larson has urged Republicans to offer an alternative proposal to no avail.
Non-action is not an option, unless your goal is to cut Social Security. The most recent Social Security Trustees’ Report projects that with no action, benefits will be automatically reduced by 20 percent in 2035. As Chairman Larson has plainly stated, The hard truth of the matter is that Republicans want to cut Social Security, and doing nothing achieves their goal.
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His Tax Cut Isnt Helping The Economy But It Did Blow A Hole In The Budget That Hed Fill By Gutting Entitlement Programs
Health-care activists rally in front of the Capitol in March 2017 to highlight the changes then being sought in Medicaid in the Republican American Health Care Act.
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Later this evening, Donald Trump delivers his third State of the Union address. If past speeches are any indicator, we know tonights speech will be filled with a number of exaggerations and outright falsehoods especially when it comes to the economy.
Since he signed the bill two years ago, Trump has heralded the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as this administrations greatest accomplishment, declaring that it is helping everybody so much.
But this couldnt be further from the truth. While the law gave giant tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations, the rest of us were left with crumbs at best. The wage growth that Trump promised hasnt materialized, and 100 million Americans are going to be left paying higher taxes.
Now, Trump is using his tax cuts, which he promised would be a boon to the economy, as an excuse to threaten cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs Americans have been paying into with every paycheck, and programs the federal government is required, by law, to offer to every single eligible person.
Turns out everyones predictions were right: Republicans are targeting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. No surprise there.
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.
Yes Republicans Want Big Time Cuts In Social Security
Over the last couple weeks, Dylan Scott has been out front on the House GOPs effort manufacture a Social Security funding crisis that would hit over the next two years. Theres more than one Social Security Trust Fund. Theres one that covers most retirees. Theres another that covers the disability part of the program. And over the years, Congress with little controversy has shifted funds back and forth between the two to maintain actuarial balance. So to date, the whole push has been rather technical and framed around bean counting. But earlier this month, most notably from Rand Paul, we heard the other prong in the attack come into play.
Speaking to Republican presidential primary voters in New Hampshire, Paul said that most Social Security disability recipients are in fact malingerers and scofflaws who have no business receiving benefits in the first place.
The thing is that all of these programs, theres always somebody whos deserving, everybody in this room knows somebody whos gaming the system. I tell people that if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldnt be getting a disability check. Over half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club. Who doesnt get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everyone over 40 has a back pain.
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.
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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 it’s displaced more than 20 million workers. If you’re 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 don’t 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, you’ll note that Social Security is still here, and it’s been paying continuous retired-worker benefits for more than 80 years. This is why it’s often referred to as America’s most successful social program.
But just because it’s been a historically successful program doesn’t mean it’s necessarily in great shape to service future generations of retirees.
Vote Tallies For Passage Of Medicare In 1965
Actions in Congress- H.R. 6675, The Social Security Admendments of 1965, began life in the House Ways & Means Committee where it passed the Committee on March 23, 1965 and a Final Report was sent to the House on March 29, 1965. The House took up consideration of the bill on April 7th, and passed the bill the next day by a vote of 313-115 . The Senate Finance Committee reported the bill out on June 30th and debate began on the Senate floor that same day, concluding with passage on July 9, 1965 by a vote of 68-21 . The Conference Committee to reconcile the differing bills of the two houses completed its work on July 26th. The reconciled version of H.R. 6675 then went to final passage in the House on July 27th and final passage in the Senate the following day.
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The Republican Obsession With Dismantling Social Security And Medicare
The Republicans are desperate to destroy Social Security and Medicare. These two programs demonstrate government at its best. The federal government runs these two extremely popular programs more efficiently, universally, securely, and effectively than the private sector does with its alternatives or indeed could, no matter how well those private sector programs were designed.
Because Social Security and Medicare are government programs that work so well, the Republican elite with its seemingly religious belief that the private sector is always the best hates them. So obsessed are the Republicans in their desire to eliminate these effective government programs that the very first action that House Republicans took in the new Congress was to adopt a rules package that included a new rule that amounts to a stealth attack on Social Security and Medicare.
The rules package, adopted at the start of every new Congress, sets out how the chamber will operate for the next two years. This years package is already infamous for provisions in the initial version that would have gutted the Office of Congressional Ethics provisions that were ultimately dropped after a massive outcry from the American people. Unnoticed by most was an additional provision, which is one part of the Republican game plan to destroy Social Security and Medicare.
Here’s How The Gop Could Remove $174 A Month From Retirees’ Paychecks Without A Direct Cut
On Capitol Hill, both political parties have acknowledged that Social Security needs some TLC. Unfortunately, neither party is in the same ballpark as to how best to fix what’s estimated to be a $13.9 trillion shortfall over the next 75 years.
What isn’t in doubt, though, is that if Republicans were able to implement their two most prominent solutions, every beneficiary would see some form of reduction in their payout.
The GOP has long favored cost-cutting as the best means of reducing Social Security’s shortfall. The most commonly touted method of tackling this would be by gradually raising the full retirement age — i.e., the age at which you become eligible for 100% of your monthly payout. Currently set to peak at age 67 in 2022 for those born in 1960 or later, Republicans would like to see this figure gradually increased to age 70. Such a move would require future generations of retirees to either wait longer to collect their full payout or to accept a steeper up-front reduction by claiming early. No matter their choice, lifetime benefits, and therefore program outlays, would be reduced.
But the thing about raising the full retirement age is that it takes a long time to work. Meanwhile, the other Republican proposal — changing Social Security’s inflationary tether from the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers to the Chained CPI — could yield modestly faster savings.
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Softening Social Security Rhetoric On The Right
This represents a break from Angle’s past comments. Her website used to say that Social Security should be “transitioned out” in favor of “free market alternatives.
But that has been replaced with a markedly different stance.
“We must keep the promise of Social Security by redeeming the ‘IOU’s’ that have been written to the Social Security Trust Fund and then putting that money in a lock box that cannot ever be raided again by Washington politicians. The only way we pay for it is by cutting spending,” it now says in the “issues” section.
Talk of a “free market” alternative is replaced with “personalized accounts for the next generation that cannot be raided.”
Still, that careful rebranding will be complicated by comments she made Friday, when she apparently referred to Chile as a model for privatizing social security in the future, according to a short AP write-up.
Democrats Hope To Turn Attention From Economy
For their part, Democrats are intent on convincing voters that Republicans want to privatize the whole system.
“Republicans are dead set on privatizing or eliminating Social Security to please their Wall Street backers,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee National Press Secretary Deirdre Murphy.” Democrats will continue to stand up for our seniors and call out Republicans who want to leave them high and dry.”
But he said changing the subject from the economy will be challenging.
Progressive Groups Seek A “No Cuts” Pledge
Heals Act Vs Heroes Act
In a joint statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Pelosi and Schumer outlined where they said the HEALS Act falls short compared to Democrats Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act, which passed the House in May.
The $3 trillion Heroes Act extends $600 weekly unemployment benefits through January;2021, whereas the HEALS Act;cuts supplemental unemployment benefits to $200 a week through September, when the payment will be combined with state benefits to replace 70% of wages.
Pelosi and Schumer also said HEALS gives wealthy corporations a business meal tax deduction but doesnt extend the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for struggling families. The Heroes Act provided;a 15% increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs.
The Heroes Act contains $175 billion in new supports for rent, mortgage and utility payments and other housing-related costs.
HEALS, Pelosi and Schumer said, also provides zero election funding or Post Office assistance, while spending $2 billion on President Trumps priority to renovate the FBI headquarters and prevent competition for Trump Hotel and handing a $30 billion slush fund to defense contractors.
HEALS does not extend the eviction moratorium, provide rental or mortgage assistance or boost state and local funding, Pelosi and Schumer added.
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