ICYMI: Ron Johnson Would “Wreck Social Security and Medicare”

Aug 12, 2022

ICYMI: Ron Johnson Would “Wreck Social Security and Medicare”

“It is a frontal attack on programs that American workers and seniors love, have dutifully paid for with every paycheck, and depend on for a healthy and secure retirement.”

MADISON, Wis. — A new op-ed slammed Ron Johnson for once again threatening Social Security and Medicare funding and made clear that older Wisconsinites will be voting against Johnson in November.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Our ancestors created Social Security. Ron Johnson’s idea would destroy it, and Medicare along with it

Key Points:

  • What a tragic irony that a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, now seeks to wreck Social Security and Medicare. Wisconsin played a key role in giving birth to both programs and ensuring their success.
  • We know. Our grandparents created Social Security.
  • When President Franklin Roosevelt worked with his New Deal team to design Social Security, our forebears — Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and Emergency Relief Administrator Harry Hopkins — looked especially to Wisconsin for help.
  • When a second generation of New Dealers in Congress created Medicare in 1964, Wisconsin also played a decisive role.
  • Yet now U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson holds a dagger to the throat of both Social Security and Medicare.
  • His plan will blow up the legal — and the moral — foundation on which both programs rest. Johnson wants to decimate one of Wisconsin’s greatest contributions to America’s progress.
  • For generations, both Medicare and Social Security have guaranteed and delivered earned benefits.
  • It’s been this way from the start. Congress has no “discretion” to mess with the benefits that workers have paid into and earned over their entire working life.
  • But Ron Johnson hates it. He proposes to give total “discretion” to Congress to decide whether any worker or retiree would receive a benefit … who would get a benefit … and what the benefit would be.
  •  No longer would workers, seniors looking toward retirement and current retirees be able to count on a hard-earned, reliable, old-age health care program. Nor would they have a hard-earned, predictable pension to count on as they age and retire.
  • “Discretion” has its place. But Johnson’s scheme will destroy workers’ and retirees’ legal right to guaranteed, predictable health care and retirement income.
  • The programs could even be wiped out entirely. Their fundamental insurance structure — if you pay your premium, you legally qualify for guaranteed benefits — would vanish like smoke.
  • FDR himself explained the reasoning behind creating Social Security as an insurance program that workers pay into through payroll taxes — “to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.”
  • Johnson’s opponent in the Nov. 8 election, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, is pretty blunt, too, objecting that “self-serving multi-millionaire senator Ron Johnson wants to strip working people of the Social Security and Medicare they’ve earned.”
  • It is a frontal attack on programs that American workers and seniors love, have dutifully paid for with every paycheck, and depend on for a healthy and secure retirement.
  • On behalf of our New Deal ancestors, we recommend that all Wisconsinites who cherish these long-standing programs of financial security should exercise their “discretion” to remove Ron Johnson from the U.S. Senate when they vote in November.