Tell The GOP: Hands Off Social Security!

Americans United for Change Launches
Six-Figure Campaign to
Expose Republican Foxes in the
Social Security Hen House

New PPP Swing-State Polling Finds Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Proposals to Privatize Social Security or Raise the Retirement Age, Are Less Likely to Vote for Republicans That Support Any Effort to Cut Earned Benefits

*Summary Memo of Results from Public Policy Polling

*Audio From Today’s Press Call

Washington DC – Americans United for Change, the group formerly known as Americans United to Protect Social Security that led a national campaign to defeat President George W. Bush’s effort to privatize Social Security in 2005, today sounded the alarm that Republicans could execute a similar stealth attack on the program if they retake the White House and maintain control of Congress.  The group announced a new six-figure campaign, hiring staff in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Florida to smoke out the true intentions of Senators Ron Johnson, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, and Congressman Joe Heck, who all have strong records of support in the past for privatizing Social Security or cutting benefits by other means, and are unwilling to take these harmful and costly ideas off the table today.

As part of the effort, AUFC commissioned a new Public Policy Polling survey of voters in these five states and released the results on a press call Tuesday. Among the key findings: 88% of voters are opposed to any cuts to Social Security; Only 28% of voters support raising the retirement age; only 20% of voters would support privatizing Social Security; When informed about the possibility that Republicans might pursue some of these policy changes if they end up with control of the White House, Senate, and House after the election 53% of voters say that makes them less likely to vote for the GOP in November; 69% of voters say they’re concerned about changes Republicans might make to Social Security this fall.

Tom Jensen, Director, Public Policy Polling: “This is definitely an issue that, if it gets more air time over the last seven weeks of the campaign, has the potential to significantly hurt Republicans in the Fall. Voters do not want these changes to Social Security.  There has not been as much attention to the issue with all the different distractions going on with some of the more colorful candidates this year.  But I think the kind of campaign that Americans United outlined is going to make sure that voters in states like Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where we know the Presidential race is close, where we know the Senate races are close in a lot of these states, Social Security is going to be on the table as an issue.  And the more voters are thinking about that, the more aware they are about the potential changes that Republicans might make if they get in control, the less likely they are to actually vote Republican this Fall.”

Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change: “It’s important we not forget recent Republican history. During the 2004 election, George W. Bush ran on national security and social issues, but the minute he won, he announced plans to spend his political capital on a risky scheme to privatize Social Security. Privatization would slash benefits by a third and add trillions of dollars to the national debt while doing nothing to prolong the life of the program. So the more seniors heard about it, the less they liked it.  Fortunately, Bush was unsuccessful, otherwise the financial crisis of 2008 would have been a lot worse for Americans if they had their earned benefits tied up in that mess. Donald Trump was an early and huge privatization fan, but today claims he won’t cut Social Security. Forgive me if I can’t take someone at their word who cannot go a day without blatantly deceiving voters, especially after he signed off on language in the 2016 Republican Party Platform that included thinly-veiled calls for reviving a Bush-style privatization plan. That’s a major red flag. Trump’s word on Social Security is as good as his I.O.U.s to his contractors: utterly worthless. So we’re going to nip this sneak attack on Social Security -- à la George W. Bush -- in the bud. We’re not going to let Republicans like Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and the Senate candidates get their hands on hard-earned Social Security benefits to line the pockets of their friends on Wall Street, putting the retirement security of millions of Americans at risk.”

Elements of AUFC’s ‘Hands Off My Social Security!’ campaign include:

  1. Press conferences with local leaders outside the offices of Joe Heck, Ron Johnson, Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey calling on them to sign this pledge to protect and strengthen Social Security from leading seniors’ advocacy group Alliance for Retired Americans: “More than 58 million Americans rely on Social Security checks earned through a lifetime of work. More than a retirement program, Social Security provides life insurance benefits to young survivors of deceased workers and disability insurance protection for workers and their families. I pledge to oppose every effort to privatize, cut benefits or raise the retirement age. I also pledge to expand Social Security so that every American can retire with dignity and respect.”
  2. Release reports on why Republicans can’t be trusted to not to mess with Americans’ retirement security;
  3. Execute rallies/protests featuring AUFC’s signature yellow-and-black “Hands Off My Social Security!” signs, bird-dogging Senators at public events to sign the ARA pledge, employ aggressive digital media tactics to pressure candidates who refuse to sign the pledge to explain why.