Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats To Rep. Ryan: Be Honest With America Tonight About GOP Plan To Privatize Social Security

Schumer Says: Ryan ‘Can’t Sweep Roadmap Under The Rug Just Because Spotlight Will Be Shining Brighter Than Usual’

Washington, DC – With Rep. Paul Ryan delivering the Republican response to the State of the Union tonight, Senate Democrats are calling on him to level with Americans about his plan to privatize Social Security and Medicare.

In recent days, enough top Republicans have endorsed Ryan’s “roadmap” for dismantling Social Security and Medicare that the plan has in effect become the official position of the Republican Party.

“Paul Ryan owes it to the national audience tonight to explain why he wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare,” U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said. “He can’t sweep his roadmap under the rug just because the spotlight will be shining brighter than usual.”

Rep. Ryan has been appointed to give the official Republican response to the President’s State of the Union address. His plan has been endorsed by Republican Congressional leadership, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, which sets funding parameters for Social Security and Medicare. Yesterday, Senator Jeff Sessions, the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, went so far as to say of Rep. Ryan’s roadmap, “his whole plan and approach is fabulous, we need to be listening to it.”

?A fact sheet detailing Rep. Ryan’s proposal is below.

Paul Ryan’s Roadmap To Privatize Social Security And Medicare

Congressional Budget Office: “Roadmap” Will Privatize Social Security.  The CBO wrote in a letter to Ryan about his roadmap, “A system of individual accounts would be established in 2012. In that year, workers who are age 55 or younger would be able to participate in voluntary individual accounts, funded with a portion of their payroll taxes.” [Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10]

•               Roadmap Would Cut Social Security Benefits.  “The Roadmap specifies reductions in traditional retirement benefits through  progressive price indexing for many workers who are age 55 or younger in 2011.”  [Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10]

Ryan’s Plan Would Convert Medicare to a Voucher Program, Vastly Cutting Benefits. “People who become eligible for Medicare after 2020 would no longer have access to a defined set of benefits from any participating health care provider. Instead, they would receive a voucher worth $11,000 (on average) to be used to purchase private health insurance… Moreover, the Ryan plan imposes no requirement that private insurers actually offer health coverage to Medicare beneficiaries at an affordable price, or at all. Some beneficiaries, particularly the frail elderly, people with disabilities, and those with very modest incomes, could end up uninsured or heavily underinsured.” [Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/7/10]

Ryan’s Plan Would Eliminate the Children’s Health Insurance Program. “The Ryan proposal would eliminate most of Medicaid and all of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Low-income families with children would receive a health insurance tax credit and some additional low-income assistance and be pushed into the private health insurance market to fend for themselves.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/7/10]

Ryan’s Roadmap Would Raise Middle-Class Taxes While Handing Giveaways To Millionaires.

Ryan’s Plan Would Give More Than $500,000 to Millionaires While Raising Taxes for Middle Class Families. Households with incomes of more than $1 million would receive an average annual tax cut of $502,000, while the wealthiest one-tenth of one percent of Americans would receive an average tax cut of $1.7 million a year.  At the same time, about three-quarters of Americans — those with incomes between $20,000 and $200,000 — would face tax increases. For example, households with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 would face an average tax increase of $900. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/7/10; Urban Institute and Brookings Institution’s Tax Policy Center, 3/9/10]

·         Under Ryan’s Plan, Wealthiest Americans Would Pay Lower Tax Rate Than Middle-Class Families. “The Roadmap would lead to the wealthiest Americans paying a lower average tax rate than most Americans. Eliminating taxes on capital gains, dividends, and interest, as the Roadmap proposes, would overwhelmingly help taxpayers at the top of the income distribution, who receive most or all of their income from capital. For example, Wall Street financiers could shelter all of their income as tax-free stock options or carried interest.” [Economic Policy Institute, 1/20/11]