Collins Demagogues Social Security

This letter to the Buffalo News bears special attention. Thanks to Bruce Kennedy of Orchard Park for taking the time to write it. It highlights the rhetorical nonsense and outright lies that Chris Collins utters without apology, accountability, or irony. 

If I am looking for misinformation or half-truths, there are radio personalities and television networks I can tune into. I expect more from my elected congressman.

Rep. Chris Collins, on a radio program recently, was making the case that we have to cut Social Security benefits in order to lower the federal deficit. This is a talking point that is repeated over and over again as a political scare tactic. The only problem is that it is untrue.

Pause here to remember that all politicians love usually to pander uncontrollably and shamelessly to seniors. During the two Hochul races against Corwin and later against Collins, the Republicans had their support for the Paul Ryan budget hung around their necks to shame them, like the kids whose parents make them stand on the corner with a cardboard sign reading, “I lied”. The issue at the time was Medicare, the wildly popular and efficient single-payer plan for senior citizens.

The Republicans were pushing a plan whereby people under the age of, say, 55, would receive fewer and weaker Medicare benefits when they reach the appropriate age, while current seniors’ plans would be unchanged. This two-tier proposal was especially egregious when you remember that Medicare isn’t some government handout, but a plan that you pay into your entire working life. You’re not some welfare bum, but a customer, in “run things like a business” parlance. 

The Social Security Program is totally financed by a designated tax (FICA). The program does not add a penny to the federal debt and it never has. Social Security in fact is prohibited by law from spending any more money than it has in its trust fund.

Also, it is a social insurance program, not an entitlement, as he referred to it. I assume Collins has subscribed to the theory that if you shade the truth about an issue enough times, people begin to think it has to be the truth. It is a representative’s job to inform the public, not to misinform. When you misinform on important issues, it is a disservice to your constituents.

Collins, of course, is a hyper-partisan borderline tea party public sector millionaire, as he called it. Collins is the least bipartisan rep from New York. He is the 2nd least productive rep from New York. He was for the disastrous shutdown before he was against it. He’s here denigrating Social Security as just another welfare handout that the government just can’t afford anymore, and that he and his nihilist Republican colleagues need desperately to “reform” through abolition and privatization. 

Problem is, there’s no one to credibly run against this congressional trainwreck. However, the new district boundaries help to expand the list of potential candidates. Collins will be largely self-funded, and supported by corporate interests and big right-wing PACs. His opponent would need name recognition, an ability to self-fund, a positive public image, and an way to challenge the myriad Collins lies and anti-regular-person positions and policies.

Know anyone? Tick tock.

14 comments

  • Not a fan of Collins but the Democrats sell us out too. So we replace a lying Republican reboot with a Democrat who wont vote to cut SS but will vote for the new Fast Track Trade Agreement…we need a total do over with this government complete with additional political parties that can actually compete on a local, statewide & national level…..

    • Didn’t you catch the “self-funded” thing in the story dear Uncle? Either way we have to find someone richer than an oil sultan to represent all us schmoozes.

  • Social Security is not insurance. The Supreme Court, in Fleming v. Nestor 1960, ruled that entitlement to social security benefits is not a contractual right. There is no money in a social security fund. All monies are placed in special securities from the United States Treasury. The actual money collected ends up in the general fund, indistinguishable from other monies. Since the government is drowning under massive debt, the Social Security Fund is only as good as the “Full Faith and Credit” of the U.S. Government. That is a very fragile position. Collins remarks about Social Security could have been worded more accurately, they appear to have been simplified for the sake of brevity and understandability for the masses.

    • Simplified for the sake of brevity and understandability for the masses? more like distorted and twisted to support the agenda of a hyper partisan plutocrat.

    • Uh, no. That’s not how investments work. The Social Security Trust Fund buys government bonds because they’re secure and provide a solid rate of return. Private investors buy them for the same reasons. The money isn’t “gone,” it’s invested, and cutting Social Security wouldn’t reduce the debt because those bonds still exist. Also, the position of government bonds is only “fragile” if we let the Republicans sudden obsession with driving the US into default run the show.

    • China, Japan and a host of other countries buy U.S. bonds. They don’t do this because they are nice guys or are stupid. They get a good return on their investment. It sounds to me like Mr Collins doesn’t understand how the system works.

  • This week it was reported that the most member of Congress are millionaires. Certainly Mr. Collins is. The permanent “fix” to Social Security is simple. Raise the contributions of those earning over 115k per year. Why should a person making a million dollars pay the same FICA tax as someone earning 100k? Make the tax progressive. But then Mr. Collins would have to pay more. Oh my, he wouldn’t want that, would he?

    • Exactly, S.S. is just one more example of how the wealthy avoid paying full price while the average slob is nickled and dimed to death by regressive taxes and fees. The only real measurement of wealth and fairness is in disposable income. All that matters in the end is how much does an earner have left after paying taxes and necessities. The wealthy and their defenders love to whine about how much they pay in taxes while failing to recognize the reason, they have almost all our nations wealth. That disparity continues to grow and undermine our democracy and our economy. Time to return to values that reject the crass materialism and the greed that has so diminished America.

  • The Full Faith and Credit of the U.S. is in such a fragile position that The Market is demanding 3.6% interest on long term bonds.

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