FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Linda Benesch, [email protected]
Statement on GOP Platform & Social Security
(Washington, DC) —The following is a statement from Nancy Altman, co-director of Social Security Works, in response to the Social Security portion of the Republican Platform:
“The Republican Party’s plank on Social Security, in its just released Platform, achieves the dubious achievement of being both terrible policy and stupid politics. Despite its claim of courage, it is intentionally vague, because even GOP strategists know that the benefit cuts to which it alludes are deeply unpopular with the American people. Despite the Party’s effort to avoid accountability through the use of vague language and dog whistles, a careful reading makes it clear where the Party stands.
The Social Security plank states that Republicans “believe in the power of markets to create wealth” which is code for privatizing Social Security, a dangerous scheme that was resoundingly rejected by the American people when George W. Bush proposed it in 2005. It also states that “we oppose tax increases” which means that they oppose requiring the wealthiest Americans to contribute their fair share and want to see Social Security drastically cut or even dismantled, instead.
Finally, it states that “current retirees and those close to retirement can be assured of their benefits” which, by its omission, means cutting benefits for younger generations of Americans. This obviously transparent attempt to essentially buy off older voters is highly demeaning to those very older Americans. The Republican Party brazenly assumes that seniors care only about themselves, and will be fine if their children’s and grandchildren’s economic security is decimated, as long as they themselves are protected. As Republicans should have discovered when they used this same tactic in their failed effort to privatize Social Security in 2005, seniors care about the security of their families, even if the Republican Party does not.
While darkly suggesting that Social Security is in crisis, the Republican Platform completely ignores the nation’s looming retirement income crisis, and indeed proposes to make it worse by cutting Social Security’s modest benefits for younger Americans who will need them the most. This stands in sharp contrast to the Democratic Party Platform, which wisely and responsibly supports expanding Social Security and rejects all benefit cuts.
This platform, along with Donald Trump’s selection of anti-Social Security Mike Pence as a running mate, sends a loud and disturbing message. It is clear that Trump and the rest of the Republican Party are committed to dismantling our Social Security system. The nation should expand Social Security’s modest benefits while restoring the program to long range balance by requiring the wealthiest to pay their fair share. That is the right policy. If smart policy isn’t enough for Republicans, it is also winning politics. Poll after poll shows that the American people (regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, or political party) support expanding, not cutting, Social Security. It’s long past time for the GOP to listen!”
Social Security Works is the convening group in the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, a coalition comprised of more than 350 national and state organizations representing more than 50 million Americans from many of the nation’s leading aging, labor, disability, women’s, children, consumer, civil rights and equality organizations.