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Michigan Democrats push Republicans on Social Security as program turns 87

Patrick Semansky

Michigan Democrats brought the fight over Social Security to the state GOP headquarters Friday, August 12, as the benefit program turns 87.

Retired Judge Peter Houk spoke Friday morning outside of the state Republican Party headquarters. He says he worries some Congressional ideas like privatizing Social Security benefits would put retirees in the hands of the stock market.

"We can’t take that type of chance with seniors who can’t count on saying, ‘Well the stock market will go back up next year.’ Because they don’t have next year," Houk said.

Democratic state Representative Julie Brixie says Republican-proposed tax cuts would put social safety net programs at risk and weaken the system that serves over two million state residents.

“Say all the bad things you want about taxes but that’s how we provide services to our people and that’s how we run our government," Brixie said. "Not one of the people who are suggesting that we eliminate the income tax are talking about ways to replace the billions of dollars that runs the myriad of programs in the state."

Democrats accuse Republicans of wanting to cut Social Security, pointing to a report from a group of congressional Republicans suggesting changing the benefit formula for new retirees and changing the retirement age.

However, Michigan GOP spokesperson Gustavo Portela is dismissing the concerns as an election ploy.

“It is Republicans who have worked extremely hard to provide gas relief, to deliver all sorts of tax relief in allowing seniors in this country, in the state specifically to keep more of what they earned," Portela said.

The Michigan Republican Party says, in its words, “there is no stomach” to gut social security and that it’s focusing on providing more relief to seniors.