Democratic congressional candidate Lt. Gov. John Garamendi sent out a robocall over the weekend into the senior citizen Rossmoor community about his Republican opponent David Harmer’s position on Social Security.
Rossmoor Republican Club President Tom Fryer played the call for me this morning, in which a woman who identifies herself as Shirley Zucker* says: “I have been a Republican all of my life but I am calling on behalf of John Garamendi. I rarely vote against our party’s nominee. But Garamendi’s opponent wants to privatize Society Security. My Social Security is too important to my future to consider such a risky scheme.”
I’ll put on my truth squad hat.
Yes, Harmer supports privatization of Social Security. He favors allowing workers to redirect the money they currently pay into the government system into private accounts. He says the workers, not the government, should control their own money.
But the implication that Harmer wants to strip old people of their Social Security checks is false. Harmer has specifically said that he supports the benefit but believes individuals would receive a greater benefit through a privately run system.
Whether or not a private Social Security system would outperform the government program is a matter of intense debate on both sides.
But scaring old people in their homes with a robocall is wrong, Fryer said.
* This is my best guess as to the spelling of the caller’s name. I have asked the Garamendi campaign for more information about her. She may not even live in District 10 or California, for that matter.
As a sidenote, yes, robocalls are illegal in California. But candidates often use out-of-state call centers that do not come under the state’s jurisdiction. And when it comes to political speech, protected under the First Amendment, the robocall ban is almost never enforced.