Thursday, December 15, 2016

Congressional Republicans Intend To Use Trump To Destroy Social Security-- Sam Johnson Has Already Introduced A Bill


Will Trump let Sam Johnson and Paul Ryan gut Social Security?

Collin County, north of Dallas, is the 6th most populous county in Texas and all of the 3rd congressional district, represented by crackpot Republican Sam Johnson, lies within its boundaries. The congressional district is just over 60% white, about 15% Latino, 13% Asian and 8% Black. It's the 29th richest district in the country, with a median income of around $81,000. In Texas, the only richer county in the state is Ft Bend, one of Houston's sprawling suburban counties. Ft. Bend County, like Collin County, has been part of the red heartland that keeps Texas Republican. This cycle, Clinton suburban strategy worked in Ft. Bend and she won the county. Collin was a harder nut to crack-- the last Democrat the county voted for was LBJ in 1964-- but Hillary made strides. In 2012 Obama scored 33% there (100,754 votes). This year Hillary won 139,837 votes-- almost 40%.

Sam Johnson, a hideous reprobate and far right extremist, the oldest Republican in Congress at 86 years old, who's been in the House since 1992, doesn't get serious opponents. In 2014 a Green ran against him and this year the Democrat, Adam Bell, raised zero dollars and spent exactly nothing on his campaign. The DCCC doesn't look at the district. Johnson spent $1,148,332 on his reelection bid and beat Bell 193,063 (61.3%) to 108,780 (34.5%). We'll never know how many more votes Bell would have gotten had the DCCC made some kind of effort in the district. Johnson, who has a 1.76 ProgressivePunch lifetime crucial vote score, normally has been reelected with over 70%. The old vampire offers a constitutional amendment every two years to repeal the income tax (the 16th amendment) from his perch as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee's subcommittee on Social Security.

With Trump elected president and Ryan as Speaker, Johnson is making his move-- H.R. 6489-- to destroy Social Security altogether, a dream many Republicans have long cherished. He and Ryan seem to have worked out a plan to create a crisis with Social Security in order to set the table for privatizing it. Instead of eliminating the cap on rich people's Social Security taxes, Johnson's proposal cuts taxes for wealthy people by ending taxation of benefits and then cuts benefits massively to pay for that tax giveaway, cutting deeply-- as much as 50%-- into benefits. Even the poorest retirees will see their benefits cut back 20%.

Pelosi's response to the introduction of Johnson's bill was strong and to the point. I don't see the mass media talking about it though. "Apparently nothing upsets House Republicans like the idea of hard-working people getting to enjoy a secure and dignified retirement. While Speaker Ryan sharpens his knives for Medicare, Chairman Johnson’s bill is an alarming sign that Republicans are greedily eying devastating cuts to Americans’ Social Security benefits as well. Cutting Social Security would have devastating consequences for Americans’ retirement security. At a time when Americans are more anxious about their retirement than ever, the top Republican on the Social Security Subcommittee is rolling out legislation that cuts benefits by more than a third, raises the retirement age from 67 to 69, cuts seniors’ cost of living adjustments, and targets benefits for the families of disabled and retired workers. Slashing Social Security and ending Medicare are absolutely not what the American people voted for in November. Democrats will not stand by while Republicans dismantle the promise of a healthy and dignified retirement for working people in America."

Nancy Altman, founding co-director of Social Security Works makes the case that Trump's voters may have wanted "change," but this isn't the kind of change they had in mind.
No one voted for massive cuts to Social Security, nor to end the program as we know it. Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to not touch Social Security. But the powerful Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee has just unveiled a proposal that would slash Social Security benefits and radically transform the program. The Johnson plan would gradually but inexorably turn Social Security from a program that replaces wages to one that produces essentially one flat benefit, independent of how much a worker contributed.

Moreover, the proposal would reduce Social Security’s cost of living increases (COLAs) for everyone and eliminate them entirely for some, even though COLAs are already inadequate. And this radical plan would reduce benefits for spouses and children of workers so seriously disabled that they can no longer support their families.

With Republicans in full control of the federal government, these cuts have a real chance of being passed into law. Trump needs to immediately reassure the American people that he will keep his campaign promise and veto this awful bill.  He should tweet that immediately.
I don't know if Johnson can be defeated in 2018-- or if the DCCC will even try to recruit a plausible candidate to run against him; if history is a guide, they won't-- but there are dozens of Republican seats that will be put into jeopardy if Ryan and Trump go along with his bill and begin the process of gutting Social Security. Johnson's bill, introduced in the last week of the 114th Congress could well be the #1 issue for the 2018 election cycle. I asked several progressive Democrats who have pledged to use all they've got to fight against benefits cuts if it's possible to stop Johnson and Ryan. Ted Lieu (D-CA) is watching the Republican overreach and reminded us that "Last decade when the GOP tried to privatize Social Security, the Democrats took back the House of Representatives. Apparently the GOP still has not learned that the overwhelming majority of Americans support Social Security. This new GOP effort to destroy Social Security will fail and I look forward to the voters judgement in 2018." Here at Blue America, we would look forward to the DCCC responding if they got some live wires onto the committee-- like Ted.

Ro Khanna is a freshman from the Silicon Valley areas just north of San Jose, through Santa Clara, Cupertino and Sunnyvale and northeast to Milpitas, Newark and Fremont (CA-17). His perspective is at the core of how House progressives are reacting to Johnson and Ryan: "Standing up for Social Security is the bedrock principle of the Democratic Party. Most Americans want to expand benefits and scrap the cap to pay for it. The Republican proposed cuts are deeply unpopular. This is a time for Democrats to be united in the message that we need to expand Social Security benefits not reduce them. If we unite and resist, we will defeat the Ryan plan through grassroots mobilization just like we defeated Bush's proposal to privatize Social Security in 2004 when the Republicans also had the majority."

Madison's congressman, Mark Pocan, is in no mood to watch the Republicans roll back social policies that started when Franklin Roosevelt was president. "Once again, House Republicans have shown their determination to gut Social Security for future generations and weaken the retirement security for millions of seniors. In 2005, Americans roundly rejected Republican attempts to privatization of Social Security. Now we must stop House Republicans from slashing benefits and destroying the fundamental promise of paying into a system that will be there for you when you retire. President-elect Trump has shown a propensity for flip-flopping his position on any issue at the drop of a hat. While he made general statements about not cutting Social Security on the campaign trail, we cannot and should not trust these promises. Trump must immediately come out against this bill and strongly commit to protecting the retirement security for seniors and future generations throughout his presidency."

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At 6:18 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

It is laughable to think Trump will come out in support of Social Security for the benefit of his supporters. After all, he sees himself as a "negotiator." The Republicans and Trump will wash each other's hands. If Trump can do what he wants, he will let the Republicans do what they want. While advocating for Trump to stand up for Social Security is a good thing, to expect him to is patently absurd. The man has not moral values or ethics. He only stands up for himself. And he surely does not need Social Security.

At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They aren't going to use drumpf. they're going to use democraps.

and they'll get what they want. because wall street wants that money and democraps are tools of wall street.

fuck the people.


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