Not surprisingly, Republicans are at it again. If they're not taking food out of kids' mouths, hurting working families or taking money from the elderly, they're just not happy. It is an example of the latter we'd like to talk about at DWT this evening.
As you may know, it has taken a long time to get 100% of Democrats in the Senate behind increasing Social Security, instead of keeping it as is or cutting it. But through hard work, Third-Way shaming and Blue-Dog self demolition, we've gotten there. In the House, we haven't quite made it yet. The Republican wing of the Democratic Party– the New Dems– is still strong there. But it is still Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, who used Social Security survivor benefits himself to attend college, who is leading the assault. He may call it a #BetterWay, but anyone paying attention knows it's just the same old failed austerity neoliberal nonsense he's been recycling for his whole donor-serving career. As he's failed to cut the program itself, he is now applying the tried and true GOP method of attack whenever they can't eliminate something. Defund it:
The need for Social Security staff services has increased as baby boomers begin to retire. Instead, these services have been cut back since 2011. And in late July, as the American Federation of Government Employees noted, “the House Appropriations Committee cut President Obama’s proposed budget for the Social Security Administration (SSA) by $1.2 billion. If they get their way, SSA will be forced to operate on $263 million less than it does now– even though it’s already struggling to meet public demand.”
These congressional cuts would even force workers to take a two-week furlough. Crippling Social Security’s ability to function just when it’s needed most is the epitome of what Republican public policy has become. It’s part of a familiar right-wing strategy to degrade the quality of government services, then use that degradation to argue for privatization.
Not surprisingly, they are using the dumpster fire that is this election season to try and hide that they are doing this. But their is also a way to use this as an advantage. By running against the cretinous imbeciles trying to cut one of the most popular programs in the history of the country explicitly on this issue:
[Nancy] Altman has a message for every Democrat running for federal office: “I strongly encourage all Democrats running to office to make full funding for SSA, along with expansion of Social Security's modest benefits, a centerpiece of their campaigns.” Because, as she points out, “a Democratic majority in Congress is the best way to ensure that Americans receive their earned benefits in a convenient and timely fashion as a result of the first class Social Security service they have purchased and deserve.”
One of Ryan's most devoted– and devious– devoted henchmen, Trumpist Sean Duffy, is a big fan of privatizing Social Security and Medicare and of the whole ghastly grab-bag of neoliberal horrors that would devastate working families and obliterate the middle class. The progressive Democrat running against him this cycle in WI-07, Mary Hoeft, is frustrated by the unwillingness of the media to call him out on what he actually votes for rather than on his empty and condescending assurances, “My opponent Sean Duffy is a masterful liar,” she told us today. “At his website he tells the people of his district that he would not privatize Social Security. Unfortunately, people believe him. I am shouting it from the rooftop that Sean Duffy is not telling the truth. I ask myself over and over again what does it take to expose a liar? If someone has that magical answer for me, please share it.” You can donate to Mary and Blue America's other progressive champions, all of whom will fight these efforts that secretly attack Social Security by clicking on the thermometer below.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis