It is too bad that Americans failed to heed to preponderance of warnings that if the Koch brothers and Wall Street were successful in buying control of Congress, Republicans would immediately “go after the Federal government; all of it.” Mitch McConnell’s pledge to the Koch brothers was fulfilled even before Tuesday when Republicans officially accepted the Koch’s congressional majority gift. There has been volumes written already about Republicans remunerating the Kochs for the gift of a Republican Congress, including subverting the Constitution by overstepping the Executive Branch’s authority to approve a permit for a foreign pipeline, and eliminating healthcare for millions of Americans. However, it was revealed on Wednesday that the evening before officially taking control of Congress, Republicans launched a Koch-Wall Street attack on Social Security as a first step in another Republican-created crisis; this time to hasten privatizing Social Security for the Kochs and Wall Street.
On Monday evening before taking ‘official’ control of Congress, Republicans secretly included a provision in the House’s parliamentary rules for 2015 banning Congress from shifting Social Security Trust funds into Social Security’s disability insurance Trust. Also, the Kochs added a brand spanking new trickle-down rule from Ayn Rand devotee Paul Ryan that forces the once-bipartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to automatically analyze, score, and approve huge trickle-down tax cuts for the rich as deficit reducing job creators and a bonanza for federal revenue; like the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich proved not to be.
Democrats complained that both the ban on transferring funds between Social Security Trusts and the Congressional Budget Office attacks were added to the Koch’s “broader rules package by surprise” very late Monday night before the Koch Congress was officially sworn in on Tuesday. The surprise bill (H.R. 5) the very first action in the new Koch Congress, caught Democrats off guard and was subsequently approved on a strictly party-line vote. The wording in the new Koch rules say Congress is forbidden, and out of order, to shift funds between Social Security’s Trusts even though it was a typical procedure eleven times over the past 60 years before the Kochs owned Congress. What it means is that there will be a 20% benefit cut in Social Security disability accounts affecting about 11 million Americans the Republicans, Koch brothers, and Wall Street say do not deserve any welfare; that money belongs to the Kochs in tax cuts and Wall Street in administrative fees.
For over a year, the Social Security Administration’s actuaries called on legislators to do what Congress has done 11 times since the 1950s without complaint or controversy, but of course that was long before the Kochs, Republicans, and Wall Street began calling Social Security a Marxist welfare program for, what Willard Romney said was, America’s 47% moocher class. The Social Security administrators projected that if Congress did not do what it has eleven times as a matter of course for sixty years, Social Security’s disability Trust will run out of money even though the money is there; albeit in a different account in name only. It is basically an accounting procedure that never drew criticism until the Kochs and Wall Street decided “they” cannot afford to allow Social Security to function as it was intended. Their belief is that the Trust’s $3 trillion-plus reserves belongs to private Wall Street bankers and not Americans who paid into Social Security throughout their working lives.
The Republican legislator appointed to oversee Social Security, Sam Johnson (TX), championed the Koch’s ban on shifting funds within the Social Security Trust and said allowing Social Security to function as it has for over 80 years “does nothing to fix the program. Johnson said that the new Koch “rule seeks to encourage more much-needed reform” in Social Security instead of raising the limit on high-income earners instead of paying nothing into Social Security. In fact, Johnson and Republicans bemoan Social Security as a welfare sham that is plagued with fraud.
One of the real Democrats in the Senate, Sherrod Brown (D-OH), criticized the new Koch rule on Tuesday and reminded Republicans that shifting Social Security funds between Social Security Trust accounts was routine for sixty years and that, “Reallocation has never been controversial. But detractors working to privatize Social Security will do anything to manufacture a crisis out of a routine administrative function rather than solve the short-term problems facing the Social Security as we have in the past. It is obvious that Republicans want to set the stage to cut benefits for seniors and disabled Americans.”
An advocacy group for retirees and the elderly, Social Security Works, that opposes benefit cuts and privatizing Social Security called the Koch-Republican strategy “hostage taking.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) concurred with Senator Brown and accused Koch-Republicans of “inventing a Social Security crisis that will threaten benefits for millions & put our most vulnerable at risk.” Unfortunately, that is the Republican intent and now that the Kochs delivered control of Congress into Republican hands, threatening millions of Americans and putting the most vulnerable at risk is exactly what is going to happen on a regular basis, and on a much grander scale than making up rules to expedite the Koch vision for America.
Republicans have started the 114th Congress in a manner that makes their 2011 beginning appear to be an altruist’s dream scenario. That they began a crusade to attack and slash Social Security, and create a trickle-down friendly Congressional Budget Office the night before they were officially in charge and made it effective as their first order of business on Tuesday is a bad portent for Americans. However, Americans were duly warned when Mitch McConnell promised the assembled billionaires at the Koch’s strategy meeting in June (2014) that if the Kochs delivered Republicans control of Congress, they would make “going after the Federal government, all of it” their highest priority, and based on their first day’s actions, it is a promise Republicans are going to see through to fruition.