“When President Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law 85 years ago (August 14, 1935), he famously said that ‘no damn politician can ever scrap my Social Security program’ because it is funded directly by American workers. But President Roosevelt may not have imagined a successor, 85 years later, publicly promising to ‘terminate’ the payroll taxes that were supposed to protect the program from being ‘scrapped.’
Despite having made a campaign promise ‘not to touch’ Social Security, President Trump has surrounded himself with conservative ideologues who have long wanted to undo FDR’s landmark program. The most glaring example is the President’s unilateral (and likely unconstitutional) action to defer the payroll taxes that fund Social Security. This could cost the program over $300 billion in lost revenue for the rest of the year, plus the interest it would have earned.
FDR promised the program would offer Americans a ‘measure of protection’ from the ‘hazards and vicissitudes of life.’ Today, Americans have faced ‘hazards and vicissitudes’ unseen for one hundred years – a deadly global pandemic and the resulting economic fallout. As Social Security continues to provide basic financial security to 68 million Americans during this tumultuous time, the program itself needs protection. Not only are Social Security’s resources strained by the pandemic; the program’s opponents seek to undermine and eventually dismantle it amid a national crisis.
Fortunately, in less than three months, the broader public — who paid for, depend on, and cherish their earned benefits — has an opportunity to elect new leaders who will protect workers against the ‘hazards and vicissitudes’ of life that President Roosevelt understood so well.” – Max Richtman, president and CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
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