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House Republicans Want To Make The Nov Election About Raising The Retirement Age— Will Dems Fight?

Most GOP Members Just Grabbed The 3rd Rail Of American Politics



Last week, I heard Erica Payne, founder of Patriotic Millionaires, telling the UN that “no are no benevolent billionaires, there are no public-minded plutocrats.” I was so impressed that I asked her what she thought about this new Republican Party proposal to hike the retirement age. After all, the Republicans have, traditionally, been the party that represents plutocrats and the billionaire class. “Republicans,” she told me this morning, “think children should be in coal mines instead of school and that old people should work until they die— and it's all so that billionaires can get another tax break.”  


Bloomberg reporter Jack Fitzpatrick noted yesterday that the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus of House Republicans (something like 80% of them), “called for an increase in the Social Security retirement age Wednesday.” The RSC proposal “called for the Social Security eligibility age to be tied to life expectancy in its fiscal 2025 budget proposal. It also suggests reducing benefits for top earners who aren’t near retirement, including a phase-out of auxiliary benefits for the highest earners. The proposal sets the stage for an election-year fight with Biden, who accused Republicans of going after popular entitlement programs during his State of the Union address. ’If anyone here tries to cut Social Security, Medicare, or raise the retirement age, I will stop you,’ Biden said in his March 7 address to Congress.”


Of course, Biden isn’t the only Democrat opposed to taking away Social Security benefits. Every serious Democrat running for Congress, should be talking about this with the voters. Example-- Arizona Republican David Schweikert, who represents his state’s wealthiest district, is an RSC member and has long boasted of his support for raising the retirement age. His likeliest November opponent, Conor O’Callaghan, told us today that he’ll “oppose any efforts to raise the retirement age. In the past 5 years, life expectancy in the US has gone down rather significantly, not up. We can fix Social Security, namely by raising or eliminating the FICA cap, without increasing the retirement age. Social Security is essentially a sacred contract entered into by American workers with the government and that contract should always be honored and never called into question.”


Like O’Callaghan, Sue Altman is running in a must-flip district for the Democrats to win the House back. She’s running in the ultimate swing district in New Jersey in a seat the accidentally flipped red last cycle. “Tom Kean, Jr.,” she told us this morning, “ran as a moderate but has aligned himself with the most extreme elements of the Republican Party. Whether it’s palling around with extremist Speaker Mike Johnson at fundraisers or advancing Donald Trump’s dangerous agenda in Congress, Kean is out of step with New Jersey voters. It’s time for him to stop hiding from his constituents and clearly state what his positions are on policies that would devastate hundreds of thousands of families across our state.”


In Michigan, Diane Young is in the same kind of swing district, another key to the House majority. “My opponent, John James and the Republican Study Group, are out of touch with average Americans,” she told us today. “Many people cannot keep working until age 70 and increasing the age of retirement would cut benefits for people who have to take their Social Security checks at age 62. This hits hardest the people who need the benefits the most. There are better ways to strengthen Social Security and Biden's plan does just that.”

 



Kevin Hern (R-OK), one of Congress’ wealthiest members and the caucus’ chairman— a multimillionaire McDonald’s franchiser— said the president’s opposition to Social Security policy changes would lead to automatic benefit cuts when the program’s trust fund is set for insolvency in 2033. A phased-in retirement age change was a standard feature of past negotiations, he said.


One of the most prominent senior Capitol Hill chiefs of staff noted this morning that “It's funny how the people who advocate for raising the retirement age have generally never worked an honest days work in their whole lives.” He reminded me that Hern took a $1,070,000 PPP loan during the pandemic, which he helped make sure would never have to be repaid to the American people. It was one of the biggest of the GOP PPP thefts by any single member. "Don't forget, he told me, Hern became wealthy by paying his employees starvation wages that forced them onto food stamps and when he got to Congress, he did everything he could to cut the food stamp program... And over 38,000 households in his district are using food stamps... That's Hern. That's the guy who wants to raise the retirement age and gut Medicare and ObamaCare. Funny how Republican schemes like this, the policy agenda, hurt their own voters the most."


And speaking of people who have never worked an honest day in their life, Trump “has offered an inconsistent position on entitlements. He said in a March 11 CNBC interview that ‘there’s a lot you can do in terms of entitlements, in terms of cutting.’ He then told Breitbart he ‘will never do anything that will jeopardize or hurt Social Security or Medicare.’” This is classic Trump deflection, meant to confuse people and put him on every side of every issue.


Ted Lieu (D-CA) isn’t taken in. “The overwhelming majority of House Republicans are Members of the Republican Study Committee. The budget they released would be devastating and hurt any American who isn’t a millionaire or billionaire. Their budget: raises the retirement age for Social Security; ends Medicare as we know it; rolls back the Affordable Care Act; and bans abortions and IVF. These are extreme, radical proposals. And we will stop them.”


Lieu is spot on. The RSC is calling for drastic policy changes “that would reduce spending on Social Security by $1.5 trillion and Medicare by $1.2 trillion over the next decade… The proposal calls for Medicare spending reductions by implementing a ‘premium support model’ in which private Medicare Advantage plans would compete with the federal Medicare plan.”


Long Island voters knew what they were doing when they put Tom Suozzi back in the House last month. With no learning curve to contend with, he came out swinging. “Raising the retirement age for Social Security is bad policy,” he told us this morning. “The joints, backs and bodies of workers that work with their hands or outdoors simply won’t last. This is another poor policy suggestion by the GOP that simply doesn’t appreciate what working men and women do everyday.” And who was it— MAGA Mike if I recall— who said Suozzi was elected because he ran on Republican issues.


Once again— like every cycle— the Republicans have decided to target Matt Cartwright, who represents a northeast Pennsylvania district that Trump won. But while Trump was winning it by 2.9 points, Matt was winning it by 3.8 points. The reason he does so well is because he consistently stands up for the working and middle class— no GOP-light there. Today he told us that he noted “with sadness that the House Republicans are still for raising the Social Security retirement age. It’s one thing if you’re working a desk job. But for people who are digging and climbing and lifting and carrying for a living, making them keep at it further and further into their senior years? Not only it wrong, but it’s also a betrayal. These people paid into the FICA system their whole working lives, and for the House Republicans to change the rules now? It is nothing less than a bait-and-switch. I won’t be party to it.”


Jerrad Christian is running in a redder district than some of the other candidates, but one that he’s working hard to flip. His opponent, Troy Balderson is a member of the Republican Study Group and is hung ho on cutting Social Security and Medicare. It’s one of Christian’s strongest issues working working class voters. “The discussion around Social Security, particularly proposals to raise the retirement age,” he told us today, “highlights the critical need to not only maintain but also expand this program. Social Security is an earned entitlement, funded by workers through payroll taxes with every paycheck, representing a promise of financial security in retirement. The narrative of scarcity, often used to justify cuts or restrictions, overlooks the program's foundational role in the social safety net. Expanding Social Security is essential to address the growing needs of an aging population and to ensure that all citizens can rely on this support after a lifetime of contribution. The notion that the system is unsustainable ignores potential reforms like lifting the cap on taxable income, which could secure its future without burdening those who depend on it the most. The ones who will be hurt the most are the baby boomers that are aging right now. Even Alan Greenspan (conservative) knew the scarcity fear was a lie in 1997— ‘A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.’”


Fitzpatrick reported that “Biden’s fiscal 2025 budget proposal, released March 11, called for an increase in the tax rate to support Medicare on those earning more than $400,000 a year, from 3.8% to 5%. It also broadly called for top earners to pay more to support Social Security, but didn’t make specific proposals. White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young told reporters the Biden administration doesn’t like the current structure of the payroll tax— which only applies to the first $168,600 of an individual’s income.”



5 Comments


GOP is running an overfed, oversexed, and underducated insurrectionist whose gross incompetence led to the deaths of thousands of Americans in 2020. He's turning the party fund-raising machinery into a personal piggy bank and will, presumably, starve downballot Goopers. Their platform includes cutting SS benefits and a nationwide abortion ban. Their recent official SOTU responder went Full Stepford and became a national punchline.


My memories go back to the 1968 campaign, and I've never seen a party run such an abysmal nominee on such an unappealing platform. The fact that this election is currently a toss-up is an indictment of the donkey.

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Guest
Mar 24
Replying to

all indictments of your donkey are indictments of you donkey voters. ipso facto QED.

When you realize this, maybe there is a chance of something getting fixed.

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Democrats should talk about the repturds' proposal as sentencing the elderly to years of hard labor. Will they?

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Guest
Mar 22
Replying to

They have nothing to run on except how horrible the nazis and trump are. That's been true for over 40 years. And they still can't win as often as they lose.

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