LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Why is public so skeptical of politicians?

Delaware is in the midst of a primary election, with several important races with many candidates. In heated elections, candidates can use empty campaign promises. This leads voters to be skeptical of all politicians. If elected officials wish to be held to a higher standard, then, we need to speak up.

Rep. Paul Baumbach

Rep. Paul Baumbach

There are six Democratic candidates working to be our next Representative in Congress. (In full disclosure, I have endorsed one of them, [state] Sen. Bryan Townsend, with whom I have served in the General Assembly since 2012.) A mailer from Sean Barney, one of the three leading candidates, proposes a plan to boost annual Social Security benefits by $11,669 a year. Does that seem too good to be true? Of course it is!

This promise is irresponsible. As Mary Poppins said, it is a “pie crust promise, easily made, easily broken.” A second of his mailers notes that the other two leading candidates don’t support this plan. Of course they don’t — it is absurd!

Almost 40 million Americans receive Social Security retirement benefits. The increase being promised would cost $460 billion annually.

A newly elected freshman congressman from Delaware, amongst 434 colleagues (over 55 percent of them Republicans), plans to add $460 billion annually to the program? I find it hard to envision an emptier campaign promise. Taking advantage of senior citizens, offering them a 100-percent false hope, just to get more votes, is the sign of a very desperate candidate, and one that should not be elected.

I know this topic. I have been a professional financial adviser in Delaware since 1996. I have studied the solvency of the Social Security system, and the reports of the trust fund, to ensure that our clients understand how secure, or insecure, this portion of their retirement is. As a financial advisor, I get fired up when commentators inaccurately describe Social Security’s stability. As an elected official, I am furious when a candidate such as Sean Barney makes such dangerous campaign promises, about an issue as critical to our state and country as Social Security.

Why don’t voters believe politicians? Because some politicians don’t deserve to be believed.

State Rep. Paul S. Baumbach
D-District 23 (part of Newark, and adjacent unincorporated areas)

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