In July, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who has claimed that Social Security is “broken,” went a step further and disparaged the retirement program at a Denver, CO townhall, calling it an “absolute disgrace”:
Americans have got to understand that we are paying present day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers…and that’s a disgrace. It’s an absolute disgrace.
McCain’s statement reflected a lack of knowledge about Social Security. “[P]resent-day retirees have always been paid their benefits from the taxes paid by current workers. That has been true from Social Security’s inception,” noted Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Now, Colorado seniors are pushing back. McCain is scheduled to speak in Aspen, CO on Thursday, which is coincidentally the 73rd anniversary of the Social Security Act. The Aspen Times reports that a group of seniors plans to protest McCain’s event:
The Colorado Alliance for Retired Americans is organizing a gathering of mostly Front Range retirees to protest during McCain’s engagement at The Aspen Institute’s Greenwald Pavilion. … The Colorado group and the national alliance have been expressing alarm since McCain’s remarks at a July 7 town hall meeting in Denver.
McCain has long supported gutting Social Security. In 2005, he campaigned for President Bush’s radical Social Security privatization plan, though he denies it today. In 2008, McCain said his plan would create “private savings accounts…along the lines that President Bush proposed.”
In 2007, McCain received $23,157 in benefits from Social Security, despite his claim that the system is “broken.” “We’re just absolutely flabbergasted that a man who has been collecting close to $24,000 a year in Social Security has called it a disgrace,” Bernadette Horchner, a member of the Colorado group, said. “He doesn’t give back the money.”