Despite Trump’s promise, Republicans are going after Social Security benefits

Published 6:57 am Sunday, January 1, 2017

Dear Editor,

Well that didn’t take long did it? Donald Trump is not even in office yet and already Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee on Social Security has introduced legislation that would slash Social Security benefits. It would do this by raising the age of full retirement to 69 and by lowering social security payouts to beneficiaries at all but the lowest levels.

The cuts in the bill lean more heavily on high income-earners, but most workers would see cuts — some of them drastic — if Johnson’s bill became law. Additionally Johnson’s bill makes some notable cuts to spousal benefits, while introducing some additional means-testing provisions. The thing is that Social Security is solvent, able to pay out 100 percent of promised benefits until the year 2034 or beyond. A relatively modest increase in the earnings limit subject to the FICA tax would solve the problem forever, but Republicans refuse to even consider that solution.

Email newsletter signup

So here’s the catch to this deal: In order to avert a 22-percent shortfall 20 years from now, the Republicans want to reduce benefits by more than that beginning right now. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound like a good plan to me.

At the same time, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) is preparing legislation that would “end Medicare as we know it” and turn it into a voucher program. So if the value of the voucher doesn’t keep up with the cost of private insurance, which it assuredly will not, who do you think is going to make up the difference? That’s right buddy — we do. Suck it up. You’re on your own now. 

Donald Trump ran on a promise not to cut Social Security and Medicare. But like so many of his promises, this one will be broken the day he assumes office. 

Here’s the deal. There is no money in the Social Security trust fund. Since the days of Reagan, all $2.8 trillion of it has been lent to the federal government to make the deficit look lower than it is. The rich and wealthy do not want to pay this money back as that would be painful. So their solution is to reduce SS benefits so that yearly payout equals yearly income. Then the money never has to be paid back! Painful for us beneficiaries, but that’s their diabolical plan.

Jim Porter