Today marks the 77th anniversary of Social Security, a program relied on by 21,581,154 women across the country. And if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have their way, the hugely successful program won’t live to see 78.
That’s despite the fact that the program remains among the most popular with almost all voters. “Social security is one of America’s greatest promises,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List. “Women all over the country have earned those benefits and rely on them throughout retirement. EMILY’s List is proud of the role our Democratic women in Congress have played in protecting this critical program, and it’s shocking that after such success, Republicans are trying to dismantle it. From cradle to grave, Republicans are waging a war on the services that American women need to take care of themselves and their families. That’s why women voters are going to support Democrats, and in particular our Democratic women candidates who have traditionally been the champions of vital programs like social security.”
EMILY’s List commissioned a poll of independent women in battleground states and found that Republican proposals to cut social security while giving tax breaks to millionaires were deeply unpopular – including among younger women far from retirement age who are well-educated about what a future with diminished social security would mean for them. 65% of independent women found this a convincing reason to vote against Republicans running for Congress.
These findings were the result of telephone surveys conducted by professional interviewers that reached out to 950 likely independent female voters across 13 EMILY’s List battleground states: Arizona (where 427,737 women rely on social security), Nevada (156,337), New Mexico (135,781), Connecticut (270,933), Massachusetts (470,498), Wisconsin (431,948), Minnesota (368,485), Iowa (249,276), Missouri (449,194), Ohio (853,508), Michigan (753,776), Pennsylvania (1,071,716), and Florida (1,569,565).
More than 21 million American women rely on this earned benefit to help them through retirement. We need more women in office who are standing up for programs that help women and families – and not Paul Ryan, who thinks it’s a ponzi scheme despite the fact that it was his Social Security survivor benefits he received after the death of his father that made his education and career possible.
Social Security represents the best of this nation’s ideals and an expression of the social contract at work. When politicians undermine those ideals, even simply to score political points and retain power, it cheapens the value of that promise. Our seniors and our dependent children deserve to have their basic needs met in this country. Putting those needs in the hands of corporate interests whose only purpose is to profit of their case, which is what the Romney-Ryan ticket would do is a renunciation of that spirit of equality in favor of an embrace of cynicism and greed. And if there are two words that best sum up the Romney-Ryan ticket, they are cynicism and greed.
Photo from 401K 2012 via flickr.