Wednesday, October 31, 2012
CONTACT: Joanne Schwartz, Executive Director at 303-991-1900

DENVER: #3 on ProgressNow Colorado’s countdown of the “Top Five Reasons Mike Coffman is Bad for CD-6” concerns Rep. Mike Coffman’s declaration that Social Security is “obviously a Ponzi scheme,” and his support for the privatization of Medicare—positions that render Coffman unelectable to thousands of middle class voters in his remapped district.

“It’s shocking that any member of Congress would be so outright contemptuous of Social Security and Medicare,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Joanne Schwartz. “To so many middle class families in the new Sixth District, Social Security is not a ‘Ponzi scheme.’ And Medicare is vital to the health of our seniors and communities as a whole—not something to be slashed and privatized.”

As the chairman of the ill-fated campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry for President in Colorado, Coffman said in an interview of one of Perry’s debate performances that “I think he did better on Social Security. I think obviously it is a Ponzi scheme.” 1

In 2011, Coffman voted for the FY 2012 “Ryan Plan” GOP budget proposal, which would have replaced traditional Medicare with a voucher-type privatized program in ten years. The Wall Street Journal reported at the time, “The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.” [WSJ, 4/4/11]

Coffman also voted for a later version of the “Ryan Plan” that left ‘traditional’ Medicare as an option among a range of privatized choices, offered in response to intense criticism of the first plan. This second version of the “Ryan Plan” was also criticized as harmful to Medicare and providing dubious cost savings. 2

“As the election nears, Mike Coffman is trying desperately to make voters in his new district forget his extreme record,” said Schwartz. “Middle class families in CD-6 do not believe Social Security is a ‘Ponzi scheme,’ or that Medicare should be privatized. These are essential safety net institutions that working Americans have paid into their whole lives. They must be protected and strengthened, not devalued and sold off to Wall Street.”

“It’s just another issue on which Mike Coffman is disastrously out of touch with the people he is asking to represent in Congress,” said Schwartz.