Some Republican senators are talking openly about Social Security cuts

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If the Republican-controlled Congress is coming for your Social Security benefits in the next few years, don’t say they didn’t warn you.

They did.

Utah Senator Mike Lee brings the number of incumbent GOP senators to a dozen who have openly said they want to put Social Security on the chopping block in some way.

Since Social Security benefits look at a 20% cut with no new taxes, we may be talking about major changes to America’s retirement plan.

Meanwhile, according to the latest numbers on Predictit.org, the online gambling market, the GOP is on track for control of both the Senate and House after next week’s midterms. Which means they’ll have the means and the opportunity and the motive to take the pruning shears, or an axe, into America’s retirement plan.

Make it what you want.

Lee declined to denounce or deny his previous comments this week that he wanted to “phase out Social Security, pull it up by the roots and get rid of it”. He made the comments in 2010. An audio recording has just surfaced – featured in a (video) assault ad in Utah, where Lee is running for re-election.

Challenged by the comments, Lee told an interviewer late last month, “I don’t recall ever advocating for those people to be dismantled. [programs]… I don’t remember advocating for its dismantling.” He added: “I vaguely remember a time in 2010 when we talked about a lot of things.”

There’s another clip where Lee makes other alarming comments about what he’d want to do with Social Security if he ever got his hands on it. “We have to start making some very difficult, some very drastic decisions about Social Security,” he said (also in 2010). While he said those who are already receiving benefits should leave those benefits intact, “those who are not yet retired but are retiring in the next 10 to 20 years should be informed right now so they can plan ahead, you need are starting to make some changes.”

Those changes, he said, should also include raising the age at which we can qualify for Social Security. That’s a cut in benefits for any prospective beneficiary, whatever people call it.

(To be clear, Lee has said he doesn’t want to cut benefits for those who are already retired.)

Lee isn’t alone in wanting changes in Social Security. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, an avid fan of anarcho-capitalist author Ayn Rand, has been known to want the program turned into “discretionary” federal spending.

Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott, who once oversaw the largest Medicare fraud in history as a private sector businessman, is known for introducing an automatic five-year “sunset” on all federal programs, including Social Security and Social Security. Medicare. “If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again,” he said.

Meanwhile, eight other GOP senators say they want to “save” America’s retirement program with unspecified, er, measures… to be decided behind closed doors.

That proposal, submitted by Utah Senator Mitt Romney, is also being championed by occasional Republican maverick Lindsey Graham, who also earlier year called for lower Social Security benefits for some to help “save” the program.

Among the other senators who support Romney’s bill is Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who recently used her vote to save those important special tax breaks America offers to private equity honchos, hedge fund tycoons and venture capitalists. (The loophole, designed just for them, cuts their top tax rate nearly in half.)

Of course, if you’re giving billionaires a nearly 50% cut in tax rates, the money has to come from somewhere. And why not grandma?

There’s really no reason to cut Social Security benefits unless you want to. The program can be enforced through other changes such as ending the payroll tax cap, investing the trust fund in stocks like any other retirement plan, levying wealth tax on all assets, increasing highly skilled immigration, or issuing bonds.

It will be interesting if the next Congress instead chooses to start cutting benefits. And if the voters, who were perfectly informed beforehand, suddenly start beeping with fright.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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