Is Social Security Safe with the Tea Party in Power?The recently averted shutdown of the U.S. government that seemed almost inevitable last week as Republicans and Democrats battled over the federal budget would have been a serious blow to the country and its economy. But the pain we just avoided is nothing compared to the havoc the nation will face if the Tea Party-led Republicans move forward with their plans to dismantle Social Security.

Haven't heard the Tea Partiers talk about ending your Social Security payment yet? Just wait.

Trust me: Whether you're receiving Social Security now or you expect to in the years ahead, your retirement benefits are not safe if the Republican Party remains in power. Here's why:

The ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party is dominating its agenda now. That's the main reason House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was afraid to compromise with President Obama and Senate Democrats, and accept a smaller, more straightforward budget cut to end the stalemate. Nor is there much in the current political climate to suggest that the Tea Party's ability to instill fear in other Republicans and propel its agenda will diminish any time soon.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, has already introduced a sham of a budget for 2012. The vague "budget proposal" is a thinly disguised anti-tax Tea Party manifesto that essentially dismantles Medicare, the nation's health insurance program for senior citizens. Under Ryan's plan, Medicare would be replaced by a voucher system that would, in theory, allow senior citizens to purchase private health insurance. Among the many problematic aspects to Ryan's concoction, the worst is that the vouchers would cover only about one-third the cost of a private insurance plan that provided coverage comparable to Medicare.

If Ryan's proposal becomes law, seniors can kiss Medicare goodbye. And for most of them, that will probably mean kissing any kind of robust health care plan in their retirement years goodbye as well, unless they have the large amount of spare cash available to buy a better policy than will be available for those holding Ryan's inadequate vouchers.

First End Medicare, Then End Social Security

If Ryan and the Tea Party sense they can win and dismantle Medicare, your Social Security payment will be next.

The proposals are likely to start innocuously enough. The Tea Party's leadership will trot out statements like "Social Security is broke," (which it isn't, really) and "We have to cut payments because there's no other way to 'save' the program."

If retirees today think a little inflation is reducing their purchasing power and a making it hard to live within a budget, wait until they -- and eventually, all of us -- feel the impact of a 10% or even 20% cut in Social Security payments.

Tea Party lawmakers and other conservatives will also probably try to couple the cut in your Social Security payment with a reduction in the amount of income that's subject to the Social Security tax, as that will give their core constituency -- upper-income Americans -- yet another tax cut.

Ryan's 2012 budget plan already recommends decreasing the maximum income tax rate for individuals to 25% from 35%. Now that's what the nation needs: Having people whose annual adjusted gross income is $1 million and up pay 25% in federal income taxes, instead of 35%. It's pure genius: Cutting taxes even further for the wealthy is guaranteed to solve all of our nation's social problems.

Cutting the Social Safety Net

Perhaps you think the Tea Party wouldn't risk the political fallout of proposing cuts to Social Security, which is, after all, an extraordinarily popular program. Think again. The Tea Party hasn't shown much respect so far for programs and policies most Americans favor. In several key states, Tea Party-inspired Republicans have already succeeded in stripping most public employees of their collective bargaining rights -- the primary power workers have to negotiate fair salaries, benefits and working conditions. The Tea Party brought the nation to the brink of a damaging, and clearly unpopular federal government shutdown. And the Tea Party has already announced a plan to end Medicare.

The Tea Party appears determined to dismantle the nation's limited social safety net. It would be naive to assume that Social Security isn't next.

In the months and years ahead, the Tea Party-led GOP, if it's not stopped, will announce its plan to cut Social Security payments. And to save both Medicare and Social Security, there's only one option -- replacing Tea Party extremists in 2012 with lawmakers who will protect the programs that protect the American people.

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June 18 2013 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I know of a die-hard tea party lady who is working off the books, and collecting unemployment simultaneously. My feeling is that the tea partiers are folks who want all that taken from OTHERS, but think that they themselves should be immune. Don't notice too many of them lining up to surrender their social security benefits (and after all, social security IS a social program)! They are just great for talking the talk, but not walking the walk. When their own policies come back to bite THEM, they are not going to like it!

September 03 2011 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i'm a senior, and i'm worried.. how dare they try to take away all my hard earned money and use it for their own purpose, like using it to lower our deficit... i will worry and will continue to worry.. we haven't had and increase for the pass two years, and with everything going up in prices, i barely have enough food to stretch my whole son is also disabled and paralyzed, are they aiming at the disabilty checks too? what's next, getting rid of everyone to reaches a certain age or are disabled and put us down as "non-essantial" my next vote is tea party government out.. and i and many others will spread the word....

August 07 2011 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Boy, this guy really has his panties in wad. He has no real idea of who the Tea Party is. He reminds me of Obama and most liberals, when their lips are moving... America wake up... "If Obama is winning- America is losing!"

July 25 2011 at 1:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David K. Dodd

Laurie for president...NOW!! Too bad that your plan is full of common sense, something our gov't is unable to understand. Simple, honest and fair seems best to me. GBU

April 23 2011 at 6:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Laurie, sounds like a great plan!!

April 20 2011 at 11:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is right out of the liberal playbook. Did you have the DMC edit your article prior to posting? Your mischarachterization of the Tea Party and Rep Paul Ryan's budget plan could't be more wrong. no where in Rep Ryan's budget does he call for lowering Social Security benefits for current seniors. The voucher system for Medicare recipients have some merit and should be explored as a possible solution to curving rapidly rising healthcare costs. Please stop trying to scare our seniors with your own personal political biases. If you ever choose to write another article about Social Secuity, which I hope you never do, please do your homework and stick to the facts.

We have a very serious debt problem in this country and we need to stop spending money we do not have. We have made commitments and promises to our senior citizens and we as a society need to honor them. But our current commitments should not prevent us from looking at ways to reduce our future liabilities to this 55 and under.

April 19 2011 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If I could run the country, here is what I would do: First, universal health care for all Americans. Medicare works beautifully and costs a heck of a lot less than private healthcare. Insurance companies could go back to other types of insurance which they left in droves for health care. Our health care costs would come soaring down. Next, we pull out of Afghanistan, Iraq and all other bases in the world. We keep our military very strong but not on the soil of other countries. We work with NATO and the UN...we are no longer the police of the world. Needless to say we hire nonpartisan experts to look into waste, fraud and duplication in every federal agency. No more subsidies for any industry whether it be oil, corn, sugar, whatever. Lower the tax rate for corporations from 35% to 7 1/2% and close all loopholes. That should encourage corporations to stay in the US and create jobs. They aren't paying the 35% now so 7 1/2 is better than nothing. No cap in Social Security. In other words, no matter how much you earn, you must pay on that amount. There shouldn't be any cutoff. Social Security funds should be kept in a lockbox so the federal government cannot spend that money on anything else. Not everyone is born with a silver spoon in their mouth. People should not have to get handouts. A safety net of social security and universal health care for all but all must pay into it. No free rides for anyone unless you are disabled or ill. No doubledipping for pensions. If it's paid for by taxpayers, choose the one you want. Truthfully, I don't believe in pensions. How to invest and save money for retirement should be required in our high schools. We need to learn how to fend for ourselves and create a strong work ethic. The safety net is there for all who cannot but the opportunity to advance ourselves should be strong too. An excellent public school system is a must. It should not be paid for with property taxes but with federal funds equal to all to give everyone a good chance. A high-speed rail system throughout the country. Not only would this cut down on our use of oil, but would provide jobs. A stipulation would be American steel and products only. Serious research into alternative forms of clean energy to wean us off oil by countries who then try to annihilate us. Most importantly, a six year term for all of Congress so that they are more interested in the welfare of our country than their pockets and reelection. This is a start. We have good federal agencies but unfortunately most of them are governed by the people they are suppose to oversee. We need our corporations and entrepreneurs. But they also need a strong middle class to buy their products. In other words, we need each other so let's stop fighting and work together to get our country strong again.

April 19 2011 at 11:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

i am disable and can't work if i could i would.these fat rats thats running our country is a bunch of greedy and not carring people. ifthey had to live on and income of $1300.00 a month talk about crying like babies.and to have our health care would be to them shamefull. we have to stop these rats from letting us old people die and take all our bennifits away. i worked 31 years for what little i have and they ain't going to take it away very easy if i have a say.we have hree kinds of people in our goverment .theves , cheats , and liars god help us.

April 18 2011 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mr Reality

This is a the natural consequence of the nitwits and selfish rich who followed their grand wizard, speed addict/chain smoking fifth rate novelist Alisa Rosenbaum (stage name Ayn Rand) and the disastrous advice and policy of her fawning minion, Alan Greenspan.

That's one woman I'd throw a concrete life preserver too if she were drowning. It's totally fitting she died alone, and on Medicare and SS (!!!) one of the weak "non producers" she so hated. How that "smoking is man's triumph over fire" thingey workin' out for ya??

In 1980, the top 1% of US earners got 9% of the total income. After nearly three decades of voodoo economics tax theory (aka "trickle down" theory) the top 1% now get 24% of the total income. "Wealth redistribution" indeed...

Three decades of trailer park brains voting against their own, and their countries, best interests.

Now that I think about it...I guess I should'nt care, because I've got mine!! Palin/Bachmann 2012!!!!

April 18 2011 at 10:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply