George Graham

Social Security Under Attack

Roosevelt Signs The Social Security Act: President Roosevelt signs Social Security Act, at approximately 3:30 pm EST on 14 August 1935. Standing with Roosevelt are Rep. Robert Doughton (D-NC); unknown person in shadow; Sen. Robert Wagner (D-NY); Rep. John

Ever since FDR introduced Social Security more than 80 years ago (photo above), Republicans have fought savagely to repeal it. Now, with a majority in the Senate as well as the House, they are finally poised to cause some serious damage to the program.

The new chairman of the House Budget Committee, Georgia Republican Tom Price, revealed his party’s latest strategy to the Heritage Action for America’s Conservative Policy Summit on Monday.  Here it is:

Whether it’s means testing, whether it’s increasing the age of eligibility … whether it’s providing much greater choices for individuals to voluntarily select the kind of manner in which they believe they ought to be able to invest their working dollars as they go through their lifetime.

Where have we heard that kind of stuff before?

Wasn’t privatization of Social Security one of George W. Bush’s top priorities? And didn’t public pressure force him to back down?

But public opinion hasn’t stopped Republicans from targeting the program in the past. And it surely isn’t going to deter them now.

The new Congress has already begun its assault. Last week, the Republican majority in the House voted to slash funding for  the approximately 11 million people who receive disability benefits unless Congress also takes action to “fix” Social Security.

Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted that:

The GOP is inventing a Social Security crisis that will threaten benefits for millions & put our most vulnerable at risk.

And of course that’s what they’re up to.

Senator Rand Paul left no doubt about his party’s contempt for the country’s sufferers. He told a group of New Hampshire lawmakers that many people receiving disability payments are fakers. “Half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts,” he sneered.

Remember how Mitt Romney poured scorn on the “47 percent” of Americans who, he claimed, sponge off the productive members of American society?

That’s classic Republican dogma.

They have made their views clear. They don’t think the government should help the poor, the sick or the old. They think those who cannot support themselves should beg by the side of the road as they do in Third World countries.

And they think the November elections gave them a mandate to reshape American society to fit their cold-hearted vision.

Fortunately, there’s another election on the horizon. Let’s hope the harm they do in the meantime is not permanent.

Click for more on the disability rule.

Click to revisit the Bush crusade.

Click for Rand Paul’s comments.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for