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Rand Paul: I’m No Wimp, I’ll Cut The Social Security Benefits Seniors Need

Just days after he compared college affordability programs to heroin addiction, Rand Paul targeted another vulnerable population: America’s seniors. Paul doubled down on his plan to cut Social Security and went on to call those who have stood to protect the program “wimps.”

When asked in a recent interview how he would preserve Social Security, Paul rejected the premise that the program needs protecting and took a different approach…

“Let the age go up a couple of months every year for the next 20 years and that fixes two-thirds of the problem… Somebody has to have the guts to fix it… Most people up here are basically wimps.”

According to the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Paul’s tactic “amounts to an across-the-board cut in benefits” for all retirees, regardless of whether they file before, during or after their retirement age.

The attack on Social Security is nothing new for Paul, who has referred to the program as “a Ponzi scheme” and backed an irresponsible fiscal bill that would have forced “massive cuts” to Social Security and Medicare.

“Rand Paul is really on a roll this week, comparing college affordability to heroin addiction and now touting his determination to cut Social Security,” said Lauren Passalacqua, DSCC National Press Secretary. “Hurting seniors by recklessly cutting Social Security doesn’t make for a profile in courage, but Rand Paul and the rest of the GOP majority would break a promise to millions of Americans who earn the right to retire with dignity by paying into this program throughout their working lives.”

BACKGROUND:

1997: Paul Called Social Security “A Ponzi Scheme.” “In the late 1990s, Paul — then a simple ophthalmologist and president of Kentucky Taxpayers United — appeared on several episodes ‘Kentucky Tonight,’ a roundtable-style show on public television. He talked about the elderly dying at the hands of Medicare rationing; the need to privatize Social Security, which he called ‘a Ponzi scheme;’ and the rights of the government to invest in racist companies.” [Talking Points Memo, 7/12/10]

PAUL VOTED FOR CUT, CAP & BALANCE PLAN THAT WOULD FORCE “MASSIVE” CUTS TO SOCIAL SECURITY & MEDICARE

Paul Voted For Bill To Make Debt Limit Increase Contingent On Setting And Enforcing Statutory Spending Gaps As A Percentage Of GDP In FY 2012-FY 2021. In July 2011, Paul voted against a: “Reid, D-Nev., motion to table (kill) the Reid motion to proceed to the bill that would make an increase in the debt limit contingent upon the passage of a balanced-budget constitutional amendment. The bill also would set fiscal 2012 discretionary spending at $1.019 trillion and enforce statutory caps that limit spending as a percentage of gross domestic product in fiscal 2012 through 2021.” The motion to table failed 51-46. [CQ, 7/22/11; H.R. 2560, Vote 116, 7/22/11]

  • Center For American Progress: Cut, Cap, Balance Means “Simply Massive Cuts” To Social Security And Medicare. “There is no way around the basic arithmetic. The only way to achieve that level of spending is by radically altering some fundamental public programs and services. A federal spending cap may sound innocuous but it is simply massive cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid by another name.” [Center for American Progress, 7/18/11]

PAUL’S FY 2014 BUDGET PLAN WOULD INCREASE THE RETIREMENT AGE, AMOUNTING TO AN ACROSS-THE-BOARD CUT IN BENEFITS

FY 2014 Budget Proposal: Paul Called To Reform Social Security By Increasing The Age For Beneficiaries, Means Testing And Adding Private Accounts And An Opt-Out. “Entitlement Reform: Social Security reform, including increasing the age for beneficiaries, means testing benefits, private accounts, and opt-out; and Medicare reform, including Congressional Health Care for Seniors – a plan identical to that provided to Members of Congress.” [Office of Sen. Paul, FY 2014 Budget Proposal]

  • CBPP: “Raising The Retirement Age Amounts To An Across-The-Board Cut In Benefits.” “The full retirement age is 66 and will rise to 67 for people born in 1960 and later.  Raising the retirement age amounts to an across-the-board cut in benefits, regardless of whether a worker files for Social Security before, upon, or after reaching the full retirement age.  A one-year increase in the full retirement age is equivalent to a roughly 7 percent cut in monthly benefits for all retirees who are affected.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/5/15]
  • CBPP: Increasing The Retirement Age Would Mean “The Early Retiree Gets A Deeper Reduction” In Benefits And “The Delated Retiree Gets A Smaller Bonus.” “The full retirement age really just means the age at which full benefits are paid. Workers can file sooner and collect permanently reduced monthly benefits, or they can file later and get larger monthly benefits.  Shifting the retirement age means that the early retiree gets a deeper reduction and the delayed retiree gets a smaller bonus.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/5/15]

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