Aug 17, 2015

Democrat Who Stands Up for Social Security Wins the Presidency

Republicans still want to kill Social Security. The Democratic
Party nominee for the presidency all but guarantees victory
by standing up for Social Security against GOP attack.
- Image from August 15 Email from the
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Republican presidential candidates want to phase out Medicare and Social Security, and call it entitlement reform (Krugman, New York Times) (Krugman, New York Times).

Nothing new there, GOP arguments about urgency for action are still fallacious, kill Medicare and Social Security to save them.

As Paul Krugman notes this morning, "[N]o, Social Security does not face a financial crisis; its long-term funding shortfall could easily be closed with modest increases in revenue." (New York Times)

What is equally clear is that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders want to protect and expand Medicare and Social Security (Yahoo News), and this is a winning message, reinforcing every other issue message fighting for the working class of America against the One Percent who want to destroy Medicare and Social Security.

"The argument being used to cut Social Security is that because we have a significant deficit problem and a $14 trillion national debt, we just can’t afford to maintain Social Security benefits. This argument is false. Social Security, because it is funded by the payroll tax, not the U.S. Treasury, has not contributed on nickel to our deficit," warned Bernie Sanders back in 2011. "In fact, according to a very recent study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Social Security has a $2.5 trillion dollar surplus and can pay out every penny owed to every eligible American for the next 27 years until 2038."

Earned-income, social insurance programs that are the most successful in American history are threatened by Republicans who will not give up their decades-long effort to kill Medicare and Social Security because of their perverse ideology.

As Krugman, a Medicare and Social Security champion and debunker of Republican attempts to kill the programs, writes today:

The issue in question is the future of Social Security, which turned 80 last week. The retirement program is, of course, both extremely popular and a long-term target of conservatives, who want to kill it precisely because its popularity helps legitimize government action in general. As the right-wing activist Stephen Moore (now chief economist of the Heritage Foundation) once declared, Social Security is 'the soft underbelly of the welfare state'; “jab your spear through that” and you can undermine the whole thing.

But that was a decade ago, during former President George W. Bush’s attempt to privatize the program — and what Mr. Bush learned was that the underbelly wasn’t that soft after all. Despite the political momentum coming from the G.O.P.’s victory in the 2004 election, despite support from much of the media establishment, the assault on Social Security quickly crashed and burned. Voters, it turns out, like Social Security as it is, and don’t want it cut.

The same popularity in a healthy democracy would have all candidates of every party clamoring to protect Social Security from attack.

Yet Republicans—Walker, Ryan, Bush, Cruz, Paul and Rubio—won't back down. Neither should Clinton and Sanders.

Notes Krugman:

It’s remarkable, then, that most of the Republicans who would be president seem to be lining up for another round of punishment. In particular, they’ve been declaring that the retirement age — which has already been pushed up from 65 to 66, and is scheduled to rise to 67 — should go up even further.

Thus, Jeb Bush says that the retirement age should be pushed back to “68 or 70”. Scott Walker has echoed that position. Marco Rubio wants both to raise the retirement age and to cut benefits for higher-income seniors. Rand Paul wants to raise the retirement age to 70 and means-test benefits. Ted Cruz wants to revive the Bush privatization plan. 

Here are the facts of Social Security as noted by the National Priorities Project in one image:

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