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Tom McMahon

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House GOP: Eliminate Medicare, Disembowel Medicaid. Next: Social Security

Posted: 06/13/11 12:37 PM ET

They've already voted to end Medicare and disembowel Medicaid to pay for trillions of dollars in new tax breaks for millionaires and Big Oil under the Ryan plan. 'Hey, why stop now,' figure House Republicans.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), the guy in charge of getting more Republicans elected to Congress as chairman of the NRCC, has dropped a bomb of a bill called the "Savings Account For Every American Act," which reportedly would allow Americans to immediately opt out of Social Security in favor of a private "S.A.F.E." account.

In others words: privatization -- and by "S.A.F.E," the Congressman means not safe at all, as letting Wall Street get their hands on guaranteed benefits is still the same huge gamble it's always been.

The same old snake oil that President Bush tried to sell the American people in 2005 only to have the door slammed in his face. It's a good thing no one bought it, too; a lot of Americans' otherwise guaranteed benefits would have been wrapped up in the 2008 Wall Street tailspin that wiped out $2 trillion in retirement savings in 15 months.

But House Republicans don't seem to care that the American people already overwhelmingly rejected the idea of Wall Street getting their hands on our guaranteed benefits -- or that privatization would have been a bloody disaster for millions of people during the financial crisis. Much like they don't seem to care that the vast majority of Americans are rejecting their proposal for privatizing Medicare. Nothing really seems to matter to House Republicans when it comes to more profits for Wall Street.

Social Security privatization was included in the early drafts of Paul Ryan's 'Roadmap to Ruin' budget plan, but, for whatever reason, the proposal was not included in the final budget that Congress ultimately voted on on April 15 -- and that left many conservatives "frustrated."

It just wasn't enough to vote to turn Medicare into Coupon Care and starve Medicaid to death. The urge became too great not to go after the third of the nation's three most cherished social safety nets responsible for keeping millions of seniors, children, survivors and people with disabilities out of poverty. It's conservative ideologues' version of winning the Triple Crown.

Predictably, Rep. Sessions says Social Security has to be privatized to prevent "adding more unsustainable debt." Never mind that experts have stressed time and again that Social Security does not contribute to the deficit or that the latest trustees' report states that Social Security will be able to pay all benefits for the next quarter century without any congressional action.

Another Republican Congressman, Joe Heck of Nevada, got a little carried away recently making the same fallacious case -- deriding Social Security as nothing more than a "pyramid scheme" during a town hall meeting, only to be met with audible gasps and groans from his constituents. When video of his comments emerged several days later, Heck desperately claimed he "misspoke." But, proving he meant every word, a few days later Rep. Heck was caught on tape again agreeing with a radio show caller who described Social Security as, you guessed it: a "pyramid scheme." Heck certainly wasn't the first Republican politician who supports privatization to call Social Security a "pyramid scheme," only the latest.

It's ok, Congressman Heck. Go ahead and wear your contempt for Social Security on your sleeve. We know. We already know.

 

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