Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), the new House Budget Committee chairman, hinted to the Heritage Foundation on Monday that he has big plans for Social Security “reform” in the next two years, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Talking Points Memo blog. Price mentioned means-testing and increasing the eligibility age as possibilities. He also suggested that privatizing Social Security is a possibility.
“With Chairman Price’s comments this week, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinting at a Grand Bargain last week, there definitely seems to be a House-Senate consensus and a plan to cut Social Security,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance.
Talking Points Memo also posted on Wednesday that “The 80-Year Conservative War on Social Security Is Back for More,” noting that conservatives have virulently opposed Social Security since its inception. The post went back to the New Deal Era creation until 1955, when conservatives called for the complete dissolution of Social Security or for its replacement with much less substantive programs. As concerns about solvency grew in the 1980’s, President Reagan signed a bill that slowly increased the retirement age while also boosting payroll tax rates, opening the door for later failed privatization efforts by President George W. Bush. The conclusion: with a Republican majority now in Congress, it is entirely possible that Social Security could face further attacks.
On Monday, several Democratic Senators sent a letter to McConnell (R-KY), pressing him to repudiate a rules change by House Republicans that could cut Social Security disability payments by 20%. Last week, the House included language in their new rules for the 114th Congress, making it more difficult to allocate payroll tax revenues to replenish the Social Security Disability Trust Fund, which is due to run out of money in 2016. The Hill reported on the Democrats' letter, which warns that nearly 11 million Americans could see their Social Security benefits cut if Congress does not take action in the next two years. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (IL), Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (NY) and Finance Committee ranking Democrat Ron Wyden (OR) signed the letter, as did Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
“We are deeply concerned that the rule change in the House will impact millions of Social Security beneficiaries,” the Senators wrote. “House Republicans acted according to their extreme ideology and put these benefits at risk by adopting a legislative rule change that creates a point of order against simple bipartisan technical corrections.”
On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) accused a large subset of Americans of being able to “game the system” to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Senator Paul then joked that "half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts.” These comments have generated substantial criticism from labor and disability advocates, with some also noting that Senator Paul is a likely contender in the 2016 Presidential Election and has reportedly been visiting New Hampshire and other early primary states.
“Senator Paul should not trivialize the challenges faced by of millions of people,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “The kind of fraud he is talking about is very rare and distracts from real concerns over the well-being of the disabled.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: Although I don't expect a response, I emailed Fox News with the subject line "20% Cut in Social Security Disability" to:
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Is there Fraud in Disability — or in the GOP? I didn’t see a segment on Fox News regarding the new GOP rule change to block Social Security funds from being reallocated to the disability fund to keep the fund solvent beyond 2016. Is it possible to air a segment on this issue and have someone like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren on one of your shows to debate this issue? And if an article was posted on the Fox News website about this issue, can you please provide a link? (A Google search only showed posts on your website about “massive fraud” and how our Vets are “triple-dipping” the system.)
cc: Warren, Sanders, AARP, etc.
I also emailed AARP (with links to my posts below) to PCMNationalOffice@aarp.org and firstname.lastname@example.org (FYI: AARP never responded to my email, so I'll look for their next newsletter to see what they have to say on this matter.)
Why has AARP not come out (LOUDLY) about the GOP’s recently proposed rule change to cut disability benefits by 20 percent? Do Republican voters, who ONLY watch and read Fox News, even know about this?
My recent posts:
New GOP Congress Launches First Strike (on the Disabled)
Disability Fraud: Facts and GOP Fiction
The Republican's Attempted Murder of Social Security
History of the GOP's War on Social Security
* Please sign this Credo petition — Tell Speaker Boehner and House Republicans: "No cuts to Social Security benefits!" (Name, email and zip code is all that is required.)
** As an aside: Nancy Altman-Eric Kingson Book Makes a Case for Expanding Social Security Now: Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson, co-directors of Social Security Works, have written a new book, Social Security Works!: Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All. The book explains why the time is right to expand Social Security. Events related to the book are scheduled in Washington, DC for January 21 at Busboys and Poets with Sen. Sanders and January 28 at the AFL-CIO with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler.