Letter: Social Security under attack from Republicans

To the editor:

Each month, those of us on Social Security look forward to the day that our check will arrive. Those of us still working hope that the money we paid in will be there when we retire. Currently, 39 million retired workers receive these payments averaging less than $1,300 per month.

Under Social Security, workers earn retirement benefits by making payments during their working years. In 2005, President Bush and other GOP leaders proposed to have Wall Street manage Social Security funds. The public rejected this plan. Now, Social Security is under attack again.

Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson, R-Texas, has already introduced a bill to drastically cut everyone’s earned benefits and end Social Security as we know it. Under the guise of “saving” Social Security, which could be accomplished immediately by removing the income cap on contributions (this would assure solvency at least into the next century). This bill would further increase the full retirement age to 69 and drastically cut benefits, particularly for future beneficiaries. The average monthly benefit would be reduced to $1,266 — a nearly 20 percent cut, pushing more elderly Americans toward the poverty line.

Instead of bolstering the Social Security Trust Fund, the bill would further reduce revenues by eliminating the taxes millionaires and billionaires pay on their benefits! In other words, he proposes saving Social Security by giving the ultra-rich a tax break.

President Trump promised to protect Social Security but what is he doing to protect us from Republican proposals that unfairly burden ordinary people, like in Johnson’s proposal?

“Social Security is in grave danger,” according to Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, an advocate of strengthening the program (SocialSecuityWorks.org). AARP’s 37 million members have also been advocating for saving Social Security as we know it (www.aarp.org/politics-society/advocacy).

While Trump dominates the news with tweets on other items, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence, both of whom have a long history of opposition to Social Security, have a chance to gut the program. We need to be more than vigilant. To keep from being victims, we need to take action. You can help right now by Googling “Social Security Works” and signing the petition to protect Social Security. We need to strengthen Social Security, not cut the only source of income for an increasing number of Americans.

R.E. Bower,