As Republicans gear up to cut social welfare programs like Social Security, they’ve been careful to craft a public message that says they support these programs, and that their reform efforts are merely attempts to save the social safety net. “Most young people acknowledge that it’s broken — it’s broken so badly that the only way we fix it and the only way it can continue is we have to look at the eligibility,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said yesterday.
But appearing on CSPAN’s Washington Journal this morning, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), who sits on the Budget Committee, had a more honest (and negative) assessment of Social Security:
AKIN: Now, Social Security through the years, for many many people, has been a terrible investment. It’s really a tax, that’s all it is. Social Security is a tax. The government has taken the tax. There’s been more money coming in than going out. And we spend it. That’s not been responsible. I don’t like it. I didn’t design Social Security. It actually came from Bismarck, FDR put it in place.
Despite Akin’s claim, Social Security is far more than a tax. After 75 years in existence, the program “remains one of the nation’s most successful, effective, and popular programs.” It has dramatically reduced elderly poverty — nearly half of seniors today would be in poverty without it — and it is the nation’s most effective tool at alleviating poverty among people with disabilities. It does all this while spending less than a penny per dollar on administrative costs. And despite conservatives’ fear mongering, Social Security is not going bankrupt any time soon.
For all these reasons, Social Security is beloved and respected by Americans, even if it isn’t by Akin. The program’s support among Americans is so strong that a PPP poll from January found that 67 percent of tea party supporters would rather raise taxes than raise the retirement age on Social Security.