The Republican Party’s recently released Platform is, as The New York Times Editorial Board said this week, “The most extreme Republican Platform in memory.”
From labeling pornography a “public health crisis” – not gun deaths, of course – to declaring food stamps unconstitutional, their 2016 agenda is a grab bag of insane ideas.
The Social Security section of the GOP Platform has one national advocacy group fuming.
In a statement released today by Social Security Works, group co-director Nancy Altman called the Republican agenda on Social Security “a dangerous scheme.”
More of the statement:
“The Republican Party’s plank on Social Security, in its just released Platform, achieves the dubious achievement of being both terrible policy and stupid politics. Despite its claim of courage, it is intentionally vague, because even GOP strategists know that the benefit cuts to which it alludes are deeply unpopular with the American people. Despite the Party’s effort to avoid accountability through the use of vague language and dog whistles, a careful reading makes it clear where the Party stands.
“The Social Security plank states that Republicans “believe in the power of markets to create wealth” which is code for privatizing Social Security, a dangerous scheme that was resoundingly rejected by the American people when George W. Bush proposed it in 2005. It also states that “we oppose tax increases” which means that they oppose requiring the wealthiest Americans to contribute their fair share and want to see Social Security drastically cut or even dismantled, instead.”
Altman added that the GOP Platform ignores “the nation’s looming retirement income crisis, and indeed proposes to make it worse by cutting Social Security’s modest benefits for younger Americans who will need them the most.”
Of course, the GOP has been attempting to either privatize or cut Social Security since the beginning of time, whether it’s through the actions of Republican presidents or right-wing budgets proposed in Congress. They’ve also refused to ask the wealthiest income earners to contribute more to the critical program, which would certainly extend its life into the future.
Donald Trump had said during the primary campaign that he wouldn’t touch Social Security funds, but he quickly fell in line with the rest of the Republican Party once he secured the nomination in May.
While Social Security Works doesn’t make presidential endorsements, Altman told me that this year “the choice for the American people is clear.”
“The Democratic Party Platform, which reflects Secretary Clinton’s position, champions expanding, not cutting, Social Security, paid for by requiring the wealthiest to pay their fair share,” she said in an email exchange. “This is wise policy and what the overwhelming majority of Americans want.”
On Trump, Altman said, “His past statements and recent statements suggest that he is not being honest with the American people about his views on this crucial issue.”
While it’s hard to pin down the Republican nominee’s views on this issue, among many others, the GOP Platform is the clearest indication yet that he will embrace the standard right-wing position and work to dismantle a program that so many Americans rely on.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.