Miscellany Blue - New Hampshire Politics

Marilinda Garcia cites debunked Social Security myths in making case for entitlement cuts

In a presentation to the Sullivan County Republican Committee, congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia cited debunked Social Security myths to make a case for cutting entitlement programs.

"I don’t think of Social Security as something that’s going to be there for me," she explained. "I actually assume it won’t be. … That is quite sad. So I have no trouble looking at everything. Everything should be on the table."

Garcia suggested the programs should be completely eliminated. “We should be able to rely on a government that’s providing what should be its basic responsibilities,” she said. “That’s fulfilling the rule of law, providing for basic infrastructure and keeping us safe and protecting private property rights. These are what the government should be doing and it’s gone far, far astray.”

The four-term state representative from Salem, who is challenging Congresswoman Ann Kuster in the state’s second congressional district, based her argument on discredited urban legend.

"Take Social Security," she said. "It was first supposed to be voluntary. Well, that didn’t last long. Then it was supposed to be safe from being raided. Then it was moved to the general fund. Then it’s raided constantly."

The Internet myths Garcia repeated are so pervasive, the Social Security Administration has prepared fact sheets debunking them:

Persons working in employment covered by Social Security are subject to the FICA payroll tax. Like all taxes, this has never been voluntary. From the first days of the program to the present, anyone working on a job covered by Social Security has been obligated to pay their payroll taxes.

There has never been any change in the way the Social Security program is financed or the way that Social Security payroll taxes are used by the federal government. The Social Security Trust Fund was created in 1939 as part of the Amendments enacted in that year. From its inception, the Trust Fund has always worked the same way. The Social Security Trust Fund has never been “put into the general fund of the government.”

Clip from video recorded in Newport, New Hampshire on February 20, 2014 by NH02RawFootage.


GOP lawmaker spreads Social Security ‘myths and misinformation’

In an “all reps” email message distributed to every member of the New Hampshire House, state Rep. Rick LeVasseur (R-Hudson) passed along a discredited Internet meme filled with myths and misinformation about the history of Social Security.

The message identified “promises” made by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt that have supposedly been broken by Democrats, betraying the original intent of the system.

For example, the message claims Roosevelt promised “money the participants elected to put into the program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year.”

"Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?" it asks. "The Democratic Party," it answers.

"Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (& some older ones) didn’t know this," says the message. "It’s easy to check out, if you don’t believe it." As it turns out, that may be the only actual fact in the message.

According to Snopes, this particular meme has been making the rounds since 2005. It was so pervasive, the Social Security Administration prepared a detailed response to debunk the myths it contained: Myths and Misinformation about Social Security (Parts One and Two).

Here’s the response to the item above:

Myth 3: President Roosevelt promised that the money the participants elected to put into the program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year

There was never any provision of law making the Social Security taxes paid by employees deductible for income tax purposes. In fact, the 1935 law expressly forbid this idea, in Section 803 of Title VIII. (The text of Title VIII. can be found elsewhere on our website.)

The message LeVasseur distributed concludes with unintended irony:

Then, after violating the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away! And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it!


Frank Guinta’s about-face on Social Security: Change of heart or cynical campaign ploy?

Today, Frank Guinta announced he is going to try and win back the First District congressional seat he lost to Carol Shea-Porter last year.

In his first campaign video, Guinta declared he is committed to protecting Social Security. “Washington needs to focus on helping the middle class,” he said. “We need to reform government so we can protect things that really matter, like Medicare and Social Security.”

Just three years ago, when he was riding the crest of a Tea Party wave, Guinta didn’t seem to think Social Security “really mattered” at all:

Government’s the problem here, ladies and gentlemen. When Social Security was created, you didn’t have the wealth of private sector solutions for lifetime savings that you have today. We have to honor the obligations that have been made to those who are reliant on the federal government — older generations. But future generations should seek different private sector solutions and have personal responsibility start to lead the way. My kids are 6 and 5. They shouldn’t know what Social Security is!


'I will not break a social, economic and moral contract'

If the 112th Congress fails to address the so-called fiscal cliff, writes 1st District Congresswoman-elect Carol Shea-Porter, she and the 113th Congress will be prepared to act on day one.

Shea-Porter acknowledges Democrats and Republicans will need to compromise, but she draws a line in the sand over cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits:

I will not compromise on Medicare and Social Security benefits. The Congressional Budget Office says if we do nothing, spending on Medicare and Medicaid will rise to 10 percent of the economy by 2037. We cannot ignore this. … I want to see us control costs and hold down spending increases, but I will not support forcing seniors and people with disabilities to dig into their wallets to make up for bad policies, lobbyists’ influence on Congress and our tax code, for “subsidies for the rich and famous,” … and for waste, fraud and mismanagement across the spectrum.

I simply will not break a social, economic, and moral contract with working men and women in America….


Quote of the day: Handouts from government

It amounted to a government takeover of social responsibility, We don’t need more handouts from government, and we don’t need government leaders attacking religion for cheap political gains.

— State House Speaker Bill O’Brien on the New Deal, the comprehensive series of social and economic programs enacted during the Great Depression that included the Social Security Act.


Congressman Frank Guinta’s breathtakingly cynical campaign to ‘save’ Social Security

Today, New Hampshire Congressman Frank Guinta wrote of a “responsibility” to keep Social Security and Medicare “on a solid footing” for his two young children.

I am the father of two young children who are in grade school. I don’t want to face them 25 years from now and have to tell them why Social Security and Medicare won’t be available for them. Rather, I hope I will be able to tell them in 25 years, “Because Americans acted responsibly back in 2012, you will be able to count on Social Security and Medicare being there for you when you reach retirement age.”

Just two years ago, while campaigning for Tea Party support, Guinta spoke of a very different future for his children: “They shouldn’t know what Social Security is!”

Government’s the problem here, ladies and gentlemen. When Social Security was created, you didn’t have the wealth of private sector solutions for lifetime savings that you have today. We have to honor the obligations that have been made to those who are reliant on the federal government — older generations. But future generations should seek different private sector solutions and have personal responsibility start to lead the way. My kids are 6 and 5. They shouldn’t know what Social Security is!


VIDEO: Guinta on Social Security’s 77th Anniversary

Congressman Frank Guinta, May 22, 2010:

Government’s the problem here, ladies and gentlemen. When Social Security was created, you didn’t have the wealth of private sector solutions for lifetime savings that you have today. We have to honor the obligations that have been made to those who are reliant on the federal government - older generations. But future generations should seek different private sector solutions and have personal responsibility start to lead the way. My kids are 6 and 5. They shouldn’t know what Social Security is!


'Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Work for NH'

Social Security

• Social Security provided benefits to 254,752 New Hampshire residents in 2010, 1 out of 5 residents, including 167,720 retired workers, 42,504 disabled workers, 15,956 widow(er)s, 7,922 spouses and20,650 children.

• Social Security provided benefits totaling over $3.4 billion in 2010, an amount equivalent to 5.5 percent of the state’s annual GDP (the total value of all goods and services produced).

• The average Social Security benefit in 2010 was $13,386.

• Social Security lifted 73,000 New Hampshire residents out of poverty in 2008. Without Social Security, the poverty rate of elderly women would increase from 8.3 percent to 46.5 percent.

Read More


Social Security “Keeps Many of Our Elderly in Poverty”

A New Hampshire House resolution urging Congress “to privatize all aspects of Social Security” was approved by the State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee in a 8-6 vote. The infamous Rep. Lynne Blankenbeker explains why.

The initial intent of social security as a survivor benefit plan was certainly noble and laudable. But social security has morphed into a benefit plan that keeps many of our elderly in poverty. … Simple math will tell any logical person there are just not going to be enough taxpayers to sustain the huge number of beneficiaries.

Actually, the projected shortfall in the Social Security Trust Fund can be fixed with “modest changes" to payroll taxes and benefits while privatization would exacerbate it.

And the claim that social security perpetuates poverty is absurd. Without Social Security, according to the latest available Census data (for 2008), 19.8 million more Americans would be poor. But Blankenbeker has at least one fan of her fuzzy math: Congressman Frank Guinta.

Government’s the problem here, ladies and gentlemen. When Social Security was created, you didn’t have the wealth of private sector solutions for lifetime savings that you have today. We have to honor the obligations that have been made to those who are reliant on the federal government - older generations. But future generations should seek different private sector solutions and have personal responsibility start to lead the way. My kids are 6 and 5. They shouldn’t know what Social Security is!

The full House is scheduled to vote on House Concurrent Resolution 39 tomorrow.


In One Chart: Social Security Is Not a Ponzi Scheme

Campaigning in Iowa, Gov. Rick Perry again called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”

“It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. The idea that they’re working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie,” Mr. Perry told the crowd . He added during a later stop in Des Moines, “I haven’t backed off anything in my book. So read the book again and get it right.”

Nick Baumann explains some of the differences and similarities between Social Security and a Ponzi scheme in a Venn Diagram:


Welcome to New Hampshire, Gov. Perry

In Portsmouth this morning, Rick Perry got his first taste of retail politicking, New Hampshire style. Here’s how one of his home state newspapers, the Dallas News, covered it:

Gov. Rick Perry hit a buzz saw of protest and pushback Thursday morning in this liberal corner of New Hampshire.

Hecklers drowned him out as he popped into a bakery to greet voters. They hardly had to bother; nearly everyone Perry interacted with came armed with a pointed question about his views on climate change and the large number of uninsured Texans.

Whether it was masochism, a lapse in planning, or optimism that he could charm a bunch of Democrats into converting wasn’t clear. Maybe his aides wanted to give Perry a dose of humility after days of national attention.

The crowd hammered Perry over his positions on evolution, health care and climate change, but it was Social Security and Medicare — which Perry has called an unconstitutional Ponzi scheme — that generated the most heat.

Inside the café, Gail Mitchell and a companion grilled him: “You said Social Security was unconstitutional.”

“Social Security’s going to be there for those folks,” Perry answered his inquisitors, making reference to the elderly.

“But you said Social Security is unconstitutional,” Mitchell repeated.

“I don’t think I — I’m sorry, you must have,” Perry said before stopping himself.

Instead of elaborating, Perry stuffed a generous piece of popover in his mouth. (Perry called them “pop ups.”)

“I’ve got a big mouthful,” Perry said.


Rick Santorum: On Abortion and Social Security

Yesterday, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum denied saying there are not enough people to pay into the Social Security system because so many women have had abortions.

Santorum said the comment, which has been attributed to him, was made by a caller on a radio show. While he said he could see the logic, he would never equate abortion with economics.

Here’s the direct quote from Santorum, recorded March 29, 2011, on WEZS:

"This caller is absolutely right. The reason Social Security is in big trouble is we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees. Well, a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion, because one in three pregnancies end in abortion."

You can listen for yourself. The discussion in question begins at the 50:18 mark.


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