Statement on Sam Johnson’s Social Security Bill

Congressman Sam Johnson, representing Texas’ Third Congressional District that covers most of Collin County, introduced a bill last Thursday to “reform” Social Security. County Chair Mike Rawlins issued this statement:

With the Orwellian doublespeak that has become all too typical of the modern Republican Party, our own Congressman Sam Johnson has introduced his “Social Security Reform Act of 2016”. Johnson’s office describes it as “legislation that will permanently save Social Security, ensuring this vital program continues to work for today’s workers and beneficiaries and future generations.” And he further described it as putting “Social Security back on a sustainable path by modernizing the program for the 21st century, rewarding retirees and individuals with disabilities for their years of work, and improving retirement security.”

The reality is that the legislation solves the expected exhaustion of the Social Security Trust Fund by cutting benefits and increasing the retirement age, with the net effect of putting this vital old age, disability, and survivor’s insurance program on the road to extinction. Due to the Republican’s slavish and mindless refusal to raise taxes on the highest wage earners, the only way they can bring things into balance is to cut benefits. At a time when the turmoil of financial markets has become all too apparent for most people who are planning for retirement, cutting the guaranteed benefit of Social Security is one of the worst ideas we’ve ever seen from Johnson.

We wonder why Johnson decided to introduce this late in the week of a lame duck session, when most of the political press is obsessed with President-Elect Trump’s latest surprise. It’s obvious it’s not going anywhere this session. If he’s actually just looking to start a “fact-based conversation” about how we can guarantee the future of Social Security, then we’ll reply: Congressman, this is a bad idea and the people of the 3rd District and the nation deserve much better.