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Economics Politics Social Safety Net WTF?!

A Top House Republican Just Introduced A Bill That Would Gut Social Security

Well, that sure didn’t take long, did it?

Donald Trump has not even been in office for a month, but Republicans already have their long knives out, and they’re going after Social Security.

Thursday, Texas GOP Congressman Sam Johnson, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Social Security, unveiled a plan that would dramatically reduce retirement benefits. The bill would make the program less of a universal earned benefit and more of a means-tested safety net that would aim only to provide basic support to the poorest retirees and some disabled workers. Everyone else? Bend over and take that shaft the Republicans have been sharpening for decades.

Here’s an example of what happens under the Johnson proposal: a middle-class 65-year-old who begins to claim benefits in 2030–one with average annual earnings of about $49,000 over 30 years of employment–would experience a 17 percent benefit cut below what they would currently receive according to the Social Security Administration’s chief actuary. A 65-year-old with the same earnings history claiming benefits in 2050 would experience a 28 percent benefit cut compared to current law.

Johnson attempted to defend his indefensible bill by claiming that he wants to “save” Social Security for his grandchildren, commenting:

“For years I’ve talked about the need to fix Social Security so that our children and grandchildren can count on it to be there for them just like it’s there for today’s seniors and individuals with disabilities. My commonsense plan is the start of a fact-based conversation about how we do just that. I urge my colleagues to also put pen to paper and offer their ideas about how they would save Social Security for generations to come.”

Translation: In order to save Social Security, Johnson and his colleagues in the GOP will have to kill it.

The Johnson proposal would seem to be at odds with what President-elect Donald Trump has said over the past year and a half on the campaign trail, where he has made this promise:

“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican, and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”

Does he mean that? Well, considering that Trump lies as often as he breathes, anything he says is subject to doubt. And based on how he has skipped out on paying contractors who did work for him over the decades, he clearly has no problem screwing over the little guy.

So, to all the Trump voters who thought he was on their side, the next questions would appear to be these: Have you saved enough on your own to get by if Social Security is cut? If you haven’t, how do you suppose you’ll feel when the realization hits that your hero stabbed you in the back?

 

By Andrew Bradford

Proud progressive journalist and political adviser living behind enemy lines in Red America.

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