Senators Spar Over Future of Social Security in the Wall Street Journal

Senators Spar Over Future of Social Security in the Wall Street Journal

Florida Senator Rick Scott's "Rescue America" plan has drawn some criticism, including questions about what it would mean for the future of Social Security.


Last month, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, released a document called the 11-Point Plan to Rescue America, which was billed as policy positions that will be pursued by the Republicans in the event that they take over control of the Senate following this year’s midterm elections. 

Scott’s plan is in the tradition of the Contract For America, a platform that the Republicans ran on during their successful midterm election campaign in 1994. It combines policies associated with the Trump era as well as others from past eras of GOP governance. 


Scott’s document, however, received negative reviews, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly clashing with Scott over the agenda. In particular, Democrats have seized on a provision in the agenda that would raise taxes on the poor and middle class in order to ensure that all Americans pay some income tax. 

The plan only mentions Social Security briefly, expressing an intention to “force Congress to issue a report every year telling the public what they plan to do when Social Security and Medicare go bankrupt.” Part of the plan calls for “no government assistance unless you are disabled or aggressively seeking work.” That has been interpreted as a threat to Social Security and other established social programs. 

Social Security has also become the subject of an exchange of words on the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page between Scott and a Democratic lawmaker. 

Scott wrote an op-ed titled “Why I’m Defying Beltway Cowardice” in which he defended his “Rescue America” agenda. Scott denounced “the militant left [which] has seized control of the federal government, the news media, big tech, academia, Hollywood, the Democratic Party, most corporate boardrooms and even some of our top military leaders.”

“I’ve been told there are unwritten rules in Washington about what you can and cannot say. You can’t tell the public that Social Security and Medicare are going bankrupt,” Scott said. “You can’t talk about term limits, because, while voters want them, nobody in Washington does.” 

Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), the author of the Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust legislation, responded Thursday to Scott with a letter to the editor. Larson made the case for his own Social Security plan.

“The urgency to act on Social Security is clear. The elderly are not only the most susceptible to this pandemic; since they are on fixed incomes, they are also the most susceptible to inflation. They need help and they need it now. It has been more than 50 years since Congress enhanced Social Security benefits and 39 years since it strengthened the program.” 

Larson’s bill is being marked up in the House Ways and Means Committee, although its chances of advancing are uncertain.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.