In an interview that comes just days after Congressional Republicans had Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) — chief advocate for privatizing Social Security and ending Medicare as we know it — deliver the Republican radio address, House Republican Leader John Boehner comes out in support of sweeping cuts and changes to Social Security benefits:
Ensuring there's enough money to pay for the war will require reforming the country's entitlement system, Boehner said. He said he'd favor increasing the Social Security retirement age to 70 for people who have at least 20 years until retirement, tying cost-of-living increases to the consumer price index rather than wage inflation and limiting payments to those who need them.
Leader Boehner believes our nation's seniors and older workers should have their Social Security benefits they’ve earned cut to pay for the irresponsible fiscal policies of George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans–and further suggests that the reason to slash Social Security benefits is not to extend the solvency of Social Security for generations to come, but to pay for the wars in in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sadly, as Politico reports in an article titled GOP shrugs over Boehner comment, “the reality is that Boehner's comments are hardly out of line with what his own party has said — especially on Social Security and financial reform.”
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI) and Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) issued the following statements on Leader Boehner’s comments:
“The American people should take note of the Republican Leader's proposals to undermine Social Security,” said Chairman Levin. “Generations of Americans have worked long and hard to earn the benefits paid through Social Security and these funds should not be used to pay for anything else, as suggested by Mr. Boehner. This outrageous proposal pulls the cover from the Republicans’ misguided priorities to undermine the universal support Social Security has enjoyed for generations.”
“Republicans want to repeal the estate tax for billionaires and are holding up Wall Street reform, but now say they want to finance a war and reduce the deficit by cutting the benefits that seniors have paid for all their lives” Subcommittee on Social Security Chairman Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) said. “The Minority Leader’s comments today express a dangerous view of one of our country’s most important programs. Minority Leader Boehner wants to put the cost of the war on the backs of our seniors, including tens of thousands of veterans, even as he cries foul at the slightest suggestion that the wealthiest individuals in this country should forgo a tax cut.”
Chairman Levin further said “Democrats have fought against Republicans’ harmful ideas to privatize Social Security, and now the Republican Leader wants to divert funds from Social Security to fund the war.”
Chairman Pomeroy continued, “Social Security is a promise made to all generations, and I am committed to ensuring that promise is fulfilled for both current and future beneficiaries.”
In a recorded interview, the Republican Leader indicated that in order to justify cutting benefits for middle class families he would tell the American people that “we are broke.” The fact is, Social Security is not broke – there is $2.6 trillion of American workers’ money in the Social Security Trust Fund, which is invested in Treasury bonds that are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.