While Congressman James Comer (R-KY), the chair of the House Oversight Committee, was busy on ABC’s This Week slamming President Biden — and Democrats in general — for trying to “scare” seniors by falsely claiming that Republicans want to cut their Social Security and Medicare plans, his party colleague Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) was undermining his message of reassurance in a conversation with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union.
With the nation’s seniors reliant on Social Security to stay alive during their retirement years with the widespread disappearance of corporate pensions — and on Medicare to cover their health issues in old age — the continued viability of both social safety net programs is of paramount importance to the social stability of our country.
Yet here was Senator Rounds declaring that he wants to have Congress re-authorize spending for Social Security on an annual basis.
Mike Rounds on CNN suggests he supports funding Social Security on a year-by-year basis pic.twitter.com/a8TluKtZn2
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 12, 2023
How anyone would see that suggestion as a viable option — given the knock-down, drag-out battles over issues such as simply raising the debt limit to allow the U.S. Treasury to pay the debts that Congressional spending has already authorized — is mystifying.
As bad as that idea from Senator Rounds was, his hints at GOP desires to privatize Social Security were even more frightening.
Rounds on Social Security: "Republicans want to see Social Security be successful and be improved. And the best way to do that is to take a look at other successful pension programs that the vast majority of us … would include in their portfolios." pic.twitter.com/CCZhnrfXDR
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 12, 2023
Rounds demonstrates how out of touch he is with the financial realities of the average American with his reference to the portfolios of “the vast majority of us.”
Slightly less than half of Americans (42%) own no stock whatsoever and, of the 58% percent who do have portfolios — many in company-managed 401Ks — few are the type of sophisticated investors who could navigate the intricacies of balanced retirement planning and avoid the predatory financial shysters who would surely target the elderly.
Twitter denizens who saw Rounds’ ideas about how to transform the social safety net immediately shot back to point out how he essentially confirmed President Biden’s point about the threat that Republicans pose to our current system of ensuring that America isn’t plagued with a large population of sick and homeless elderly people.
1. Mike Rounds wants to drastically change Social Security making it a year to year program.
2. He’s vacationing in West Palm Beach, Florida. https://t.co/kpayO1Kozy
— Briggs Warren (@BriggsWarrenSF) February 12, 2023
Sen Mike Rounds, who no doubt is well off, thinks it's ok to appropriate our hard earned benefits every year. Give me a break. The MSM should bring on Dems on their shows who can explain how we can keep these programs solvent.
— Susanne- "Governing over Gaslighting" (@MomofTwonodigit) February 12, 2023
Mike Rounds & the GOP know Social Security and Medicare are funded by employee payroll deduction. By federal law neither program can contribute to the national debt. Know 25% of the entire national debt was spent by Trump & is why the debt ceiling needs to increase.
— Rainywk (@rainywk) February 12, 2023
Wow. Another Republican Senator, Mike Rounds, just suggested that social security & Medicare should be funded on yearly basis. Yet another Republican proving President Biden’s point that Republicans are coming after your social security and Medicare. So enraging.
— Victor Shi (@Victorshi2020) February 12, 2023
Sen Mike Rounds wants to rob old people of $$ they paid into Social Security all their lives, which is THEIR money & wants them to die poor.
He wants to rob disabled people who can’t work & rely on SSDI to survive.
He’s a multimillionaire ghoul. Republicans are a death cult. https://t.co/IKT2TWACPq
— JK 🇺🇦 Democracy (@jfk117) February 12, 2023
Republican word is worthless. See: we'll never overturn Roe v. Wade. Journalists who ignore the hostility toward Social Security of much of the GOP – Mike Rounds, Mike Lee, Rick Scott, many in the House – are complicit. When Ron Johnson calls it a ponzi scheme, time to wake up.
— Michael B Lehrhoff (@mblehrhoff) February 12, 2023
I hate to break it to Mike Rounds but funding Social Security is not a gift. It is funded by payroll. It is a promise to seniors. It is a plan against poverty and starvation. Before FDR signed it into law, during the Great Depression, millions of elderly Americans were suffering.
— Mombity at Large (@Mombity) February 12, 2023
More misinformation on SS by GOP
Sen Mike Rounds just said Social Security is funded by government bonds – Jake Tapper on CNN let him go unchecked, no clarification
SS money if from you & employers…..not the gov.
It's Your Money
It is NOT an Entitlement
GOP want to take it
— Fin FoxGuy – I'm Staying for Dems 2024 (@FinFox2) February 12, 2023
This means that GOP congressman Mike Rounds suggests CUTTING Social Security https://t.co/lIiDT7CvPK
— Erik Halvorsen (@erikhalvorsen18) February 12, 2023
Why the Republican Party seems to think that doing anything besides strengthening our existing Social Security and Medicare programs for seniors and the disabled will help them win votes is the biggest political mystery of our time.
The answer is likely that these moves aren’t being proposed on behalf of the majority of the citizens that they represent, but for the wealthy donors to their campaigns who want to see their tax burden reduced even further than the $2.3 trillion cut that the GOP gave them under Trump.
Luckily, as long as we have a Democrat like President Biden in the White House, the GOP is unlikely to succeed in their plans to slash benefits and raise the retirement age.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that they won’t keep trying.
Original reporting by Aaron Rupar.
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