My Point of View: Social Security is a contract

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

My Point of View by Joe Pacovsky

Joe Pacovsky

Republicans have been trying to kill Social Security ever since President Roosevelt created it. The current crop of Republicans in Washington, D.C., is still trying to kill Social Security.

Republicans are waging a war on working Americans. Republicans characterize Social Security as an entitlement. It is not an entitlement. It is a contract. A worker contributes to Social Security for 40 or 50 years during their working lives. Their employers make an equal contribution. Workers consider the Social Security program when making career choices, and they cannot undo their decision mid-career,

Email newsletter signup

Social Security retirement benefits provide a basic standard of living and are meant to be supplemented by private retirement plans and other retiree assets. Unfortunately, employers have been steadily eliminating defined benefit retirement plans also known as pensions. Companies have been replacing them with fixed contribution plans funded by employees or employers or not providing any retirement program. For many retirees, Social Security is their only income. Social Security also provides basic disability and survivors protection. This protection is important for all Americans whether an employee or a small business owner (farmers).
Against this reality Republicans are attempting to cripple and eliminate Social Security.

Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida is proposing to require reauthorizing funding for all programs including Social Security every five years. This would subject Social Security funding to the same blackmail and games experienced with the recurring debt ceiling showdowns. Requiring reauthorized funding is just a ploy to eliminate Social Security and Medicare.

Former Vice President Pence is proposing to siphon Social Security contributions to private individual retirement accounts. This would make the existing Social Security system unworkable. The beneficiary would be Wall Street financiers. Social Security provides a basic benefit. Individuals already have the right to contribute to Individual retirement accounts with access to various investments which can supplement their Social Security income.

Another example of Republican shifting of wealth to their high-income supporters at the expense of working Americans is their national sales tax proposal. They would eliminate the income tax and replace it with a national sales tax of 30%. This would be a disaster for the middle class. Lower- and middle-income families spend a greater proportion of their income for necessities like food, clothing, housing, and automobiles than high income families. If the sales tax scheme worked as the 25 Republican co-sponsors promise, it would effectively shift tax payments from high income families to middle income families. That means more of the burden of funding our government would fall on the middle class, and the wealthiest would get a big tax break. When Republicans refer to this as a “fair tax,” be aware that it’s “fairest” to the wealthy.

Make no mistake, Republicans have been attacking the Social Security contract ever since President Roosevelt created it. They are still trying.

Joe Pacovsky is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.