Friday, August 01, 2008

John McCain Quietly Draws on Social Security While Calling the Program Publicly a “Disgrace”


A recent revelation that John McCain personally derives full benefits from the long-standing and popular Social Security program stands in stark contrast to his recent remarks in Denver, Colorado.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain, on July 7, 2008, during a town hall meeting in Denver, told the small gathering, “Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed."

The remarks were roundly panned by analysts and Democrats, pointing out that since its inception, Social Security was designed and has always worked effectively in its current format. Whereby current wage earners pay into the system routinely – and in doing so – supply the payroll needed to fund the benefit program for retirees. Democratic Party backer, Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees added, “Social Security has always been pay as you go, with today's workers paying for today's retirees.”

McCain has a vociferous and protracted record of advocating for the privatization of Social Security and cutting benefits for retirees, the disabled, and their dependents, stretching as far back as 1983.

More than 42 million Americans are on Social Security – chiefly, the elderly, widows and widowers, and young children whose parents unexpectedly died – allowing them to live independently and out of poverty.

However, In spite of John McCain’s yearly salary as a U.S. Senator of $169,300, and a reported total income in 2007 of $405,409, public records show that McCain, in fact, personally draws from Social Security. Although McCain and his wife keep separate finances, Cindy McCain, an heiress and direct benefactor of a family beer fortune, maintains an expansive largesse estimated at potentially $100 million.

Incongruently, and in complete conflict with his public views and withering remarks, John McCain received, according to public records, $23,157 in Social Security benefits in 2007 – a welfare benefit that averages nearly $2,000.00 per month.

The advocacy group, Alliance for Retired Americans, has launched a campaign to educate its members and the general voter population to attract attention to McCain’s duplicitous, anti-Social Security views. Bemused and angered by McCain’s comments and double standard stance, Director Edward F. Coyle, in a conference call with “leaders of labor and other progressive groups” stated, “Social Security has kept millions out of poverty, and is one our nation’s greatest success stories.”

Additionally, since Senator McCain has pronounced Social Security an, “absolute disgrace”, while personally and hypocritically drawing out of the fund, the Alliance for Retired Americans has asked that the Arizona Republican “return his Social Security checks.”

Considering the near unanimous condemnation of McCain’s acerbic commentary toward Social Security, while surreptitiously collecting benefits, it is unlikely this will prove to be a success story for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

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