A new survey from Navigator Research doesn’t just show how strongly voters feel about protecting Social Security and Medicare, but it also shows how much voters don’t trust Republican lawmakers to do it. And that’s including a solid majority — 61 percent —of Republicans.
The survey finds that 75 percent of registered voters are either somewhat or very concerned that congressional Republicans “passed a tax plan that gave record-breaking tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations, but would result in cuts to programs that people count on like Social Security and Medicare.” Supporting tax breaks for the wealthy at the cost of Social Security and Medicare are the most concerning positions of Republicans in Congress on the issue of taxes.
Voters have good reason not to trust the GOP. Right now, House Republicans are plotting yet another fiscal commission that could fast track Social Security and Medicare cuts, in the name of deficit reduction, and they want to include that commission in the 2024 funding package. We’ve seen this ploy from Republicans before, with the Bowles-Simpson commission in 2010 and a congressional “super committee” in 2011. These committees are how Republicans have tried to cut Social Security and Medicare without dirtying their own hands. In this ploy, a committee would be responsible for coming up with the plan, and then Congress would have to pass it in order to save the country from the deficit.
This time around, however, the majority of Democrats aren’t going to play the deficit-peacock game, and they’re calling this plan what it is: “They should probably call this commission the Commission to Slash Benefits,” Rep. John Larson of Connecticut said at a recent press conference. “It’s tantamount to passing a death panel, because that will be the impact on so many Americans.”
Social Security doesn’t have to be cut to be saved. Democrats have legislation to shore up the Social Security trust fund by raising payroll taxes on those making more than $400,000 a year. The cutoff for payroll taxes this year is $168,600. Earnings beyond that aren’t subject to the payroll taxes that fund Social Security's Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program.
This new commission is “undemocratic” Larson said, because it would all be in the hands of the committee, leaving lawmakers out of the process—just as Republicans want it. “We need hearings out in the open on specific proposals so the public can see what’s going on,” he said.
Judging by the Navigator survey results, the public knows exactly what Republicans have planned, and they don’t like it.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.