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On Tuesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave a speech at the National Press Club in which he laid out his sweeping proposal to confront the nation’s retirement security crisis through cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Widely viewed as a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, his speech followed comments aired last Sunday in which he said that he felt he was qualified to be president.

He began the speech by laying out policy changes involving retirement savings plans and incentives for older workers to remain in the workforce. The core of Senator Rubio's  proposal for Social Security, however, is to raise the retirement age- a move that would force millions of Americans to work even longer to collect the benefits they have earned. Although Senator Rubio cited the “rise in life expectancy” as the rationale for this change, his proposal would disproportionately harm low-income and minority seniors who have not seen their life expectancies rise in step with other workers.

Senator Rubio also used to the speech to endorse Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposal to end the Medicare guarantee by privatizing the program and converting it to a voucher system. Under the proposed changes, Medicare would be replaced by a system in which seniors would be given a voucher redeemable towards the purchase of either private insurance or a modified Medicare plan. Since these vouchers would almost certainly fail to cover the full cost of coverage, seniors would be expected to make up the difference out of pocket. Adopting such a system would result in millions of seniors paying more for coverage.

Tony Fransetta, President of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, responded to the proposal by saying,

Senator Rubio is once again politically posturing himself while ignoring the real needs of Florida retirees and working families. I am insulted that he is pitting older generations against younger ones and trying to convince my grandkids to settle for less than what they deserve, which is a secure retirement that they earn through their work.
There is a sharp contrast between Sen. Rubio's proposal and the vision offered by Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Linda Sanchez, who introduced the Strengthening Social Act. Rather than trying to improve Social Security by forcing Americans to work longer, their proposal would enhance benefit calculations, provide a more accurate method for calculating cost of living adjustments, and see all workers, including the very wealthy, pay their fair share into the system. Their proposal would actually provide a modest increase in benefits and extend the life of the Social Security Trust fund.  

Sen. Rubio claims his proposals are designed to improve the nation's retirement security crisis, but in reality they would only make things worse. If his ideas are adopted, Americans will be forced to work for years longer and see more of their hard-earned retirement income going to cover out of pocket medical costs.

Originally posted to Active Retirees on Fri May 16, 2014 at 06:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As one retiree, I'd like to... (7+ / 0-)

    ...dismantle Mr. Dry Mouth!

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri May 16, 2014 at 06:57:43 PM PDT

  •  And how! (7+ / 0-)
    [Rubio's] proposal would disproportionately harm low-income and minority seniors who have not seen their life expectancies rise in step with other workers.
    I can't put a finger on where I saw this, but a couple years ago I read that, if the retirement age was raised to seventy, the average black man in this country would collect... ZERO DOLLARS in Social Security benefits.  Because the average black man in the U.S. dies before he reaches 70 years old.

    It's bad enough that this is the case; even worse that horses' patoots like Rubio are trying to rob them of even a couple years of retirement.

    (Besides, IIRC, most of the "increase in life expectancy" in the last century has been the result of the near-elimination of many childhood diseases.  It has had comparatively little effect on how long a sixty-five-year-old is expected to live.)

    (P.P.S. -- Raise wages, and there'll be more paid into the Social Security Trust fund.  Win-win.)

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Fri May 16, 2014 at 07:44:05 PM PDT

    •  The gains in life expectancy have accrued to the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      upper income groups. There has been no such gain among the lower 80% of the population.
         Moreover, the REAL retirement age is 72. If you retire at 72, you get the maximum Social Security monthly benefit. If you retire before then, you get a pro-rated amount.

  •  Rubio is going nowhere (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I only read stuff about him for the amusement factor.

    I ♥ rock crushers.

    by fly on Fri May 16, 2014 at 08:53:28 PM PDT

  •  Dems need to run on this (4+ / 0-)

    It was reported that several months ago Senator Mark Pryor in Arkansas was behind in his Senate race against Tom Cotton, a Tea Party darling.  Pryor started running ads on Cotton's votes for the Ryan Budget and anti Medicare and Social Security.  Well, Pryor had approximately a 15% turnaround and is now leading Cotton by about 10% in their race.  

    Dems in every Congressional District and those running for the Senate should do the same thing.  Remember, people don't like taxes but don't touch their Social Security and Medicare.  

    Rubio and all Republicons can't change the votes they've been making to slash these programs and will lose based on this.

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011) Voting is a louder voice than a bullhorn but sometimes you need that bullhorn to retain your vote.

    by Rosalie907 on Fri May 16, 2014 at 09:14:00 PM PDT

    •  Yes. The Government programs (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alypsee1, FloridaSNMOM, Bruce Webb

      created by the New Deal are very popular with voters and potential voters, but they've been under attack by the big business interests who fund both political parties since forever.

      We need to reject third way corporatist candidates that religiously adhere to some mythical "center", which just means corporate donors, and start supporting candidates who want to strengthen and grow the New Deal programs that are very popular with the voters and for which are very easy to build broad popular support around.

      -9.50/-7.59 - "Why are the missiles called peace-keepers when they're aimed to kill?" -Tracy Chapman

      by Situational Lefty on Fri May 16, 2014 at 09:54:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Remember, a Dem President has been floating (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Bruce Webb

      proposals to cut Social Security by under counting inflation (chained CPI.) That pissed away the traditional Dem advantage on Social Security.
         Worse, many Dems, including the President, have bought into the babble about SS solvency, or a Social Security"crisis."

  •  It's all a matter of perspective, point of view. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As a conservative, power-hungry United States Senator, all Rubio's got is his personal perspective. From where Rubio sits, individuals getting dollars directly from the federal Treasury is a disaster because it means he's got nothing with which to curry the support of the electorate, nor to keep his corporate minions in check, other than by issuing threats to make things worse than they already are.

    The Germans have a saying. "Kommst Du nicht willig, dann brauch ich Gewalt."  That's, losely translated, "if you're not compliant, I'll have to use force." Note how the failure to be compliant or obedient is employed to justify a physical response. It's a perspective that's familiar to many of our cops. Coerced obedience is their familiar. Ideally, the utterance of the threat is sufficient because the actual use of force is hazardous. But, having the ability to dole out rewards is even better, especially if getting control of the rewards comes with an office that one can attain by just talking.

    It used to be, in the early centuries of these United States, that the various legislative bodies had a host of natural resources to distribute to the faithful. Nowadays, in part, because Mother Nature's cupboard has been stripped bare and, in part, because converting resources and assets into money makes the distribution more convenient, easier to track (and to take back), the dole comes in the form of contracts and grants, which, if the citizenry is funded directly, are no longer necessary. That is, Congress has nothing with which to buy our affection. Not collecting dollars as taxes is a weak substitute. Think of the difference between Dad bringing sweets and withholding the rod.

    by hannah on Sat May 17, 2014 at 03:44:11 AM PDT

  •  Notice how every time someone proposes to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    cut SS and Medicare, its couched in phrases about "solvency", "crisis", and "unsustainable".

    But of course, being the Monetarily Sovereign, the US Govt can never run out of its own fiat currency. If taxes were $0, the Govt could still make every SS payment forever. This is the definition of being the issuer of any kind of token. Nobody worried about the NY subway system running out of tokens in the 90's, or stadiums running out of their tickets.

    Once you realize that there is no SS "crisis", "solvency", or "sustainability" problems, the rationale for making seniors poorer goes away entirely.

    "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it. If we can afford full employment killing Germans, we can afford full employment during peace-time.

    by Auburn Parks on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:05:46 AM PDT

  •  I have no doubt he will blame his loss (0+ / 0-)

    on his failure to make his "message" do the GOPers after every loss.

    Republicans, we understand your "message" quite well - it's just idiotic, offensive and anti-American - and at this point, I can not imagine why anyone with an IQ in triple digits would vote for any of you.

    Boycott all republican owned businesses-see how they like THAT.

    by old mark on Sat May 17, 2014 at 08:13:03 AM PDT

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