Rep. Mike Honda’s social security town hall raises some concerns, few benefits

Rep. Mike Honda at a town hall on social security
Wednesday morning in Fremont.

For someone poised to introduce his third piece of social security legislation in the past few years, Rep. Mike Honda appeared flummoxed by the intricacies of the benefit at a town hall Wednesday dedicated to the subject.

Honda is expected to reintroduce next month a bill that would “scrap the cap” on social security incomes taxes collected above the current threshold of $118,000. This week is also the 81st anniversary of social security.

But, aside from the political aspects surrounding social security, namely the perennial push by Republicans to privatize it, Honda often appeared clueless over the details of the entitlement so important to the livelihood of seniors.

On two occasions when Honda was unable to grasp the concept of a constituent’s question, he desperately looked to the panelists seated to his left to handle the confusion. “Do you want to take it?” Honda said to one panelist. In another instance, Honda sidestepped a question entirely by handing it off quickly to another. “You take it,” Honda instructed another panelist.

When a constituent claimed he was being required to pay more for prescription drugs because of an increase in his monthly income, Honda’s responded by glancing toward the others, asking, “Are we aware of it? Are we aware of it?”

A minute later Honda’s smartphone began ringing uncontrollably, the speaker paused to allow Honda to mute the ringer. But that wasn’t the only slightly embarrassing moment for Honda. At one point, Honda referred to the social security expert seated next to him, an advocate named Ernie Powell, by the wrong first name. This came after introducing him correctly at the start of the event.

Near the conclusion of the town hall, Honda twice admonished a staffer after she attempted to ask another constituent to wrap up their comments. “Let’s finish this,” an exasperated sounding Honda told the staffer in an attempt to allow the speaker to continue.

Then, when the staffer kindly instructed the man to contact the district office, Honda again interjected, “Let him finish.” The staffer then flashed an embarrassed grin as the congressman wrapped up the meeting. The same pained and sometimes perplexed expression was also evident on the faces of other staffers at the Wednesday morning event, like a group of employees walking on egg shells.

Honda, though, by the end of the event, seemed to understand his grasp of social security was lacking before thanking the panel for “making complicated questions understandable to me.”

Whether or not the roughly two dozen seniors at the Fremont Library were enlightened by the town hall is unclear, but a woman seated next to me was unsatisfied and remarked by its end, “Well, I didn’t get anything out of this.”

8 thoughts on “Rep. Mike Honda’s social security town hall raises some concerns, few benefits

  1. A rundown of 40 Influential Asian Americans in Washington D.C. was as of late ordered and discharged by Jennie Ilustre of Asian Fortune News. In spite of the fact that there are various other compelling Americans of Asian foundation at present serving in the Nation's Capital who could without much of a stretch have been recorded as they are most meriting, the rundown includes some of the individuals who are extremely dynamic in advancing the worries of Asian Americans.


  2. Wanting to add:

    We wasted over $2 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Libya and Syria) with NO SUCCESS to show for it. The standard of living in that area of the world was better in the 1980s.

    Imagine if we had used that money for Social Security, schools and roads?

    Actually, what we have to show for it is $20 trillion of national debt that will crush our children. It is really much, much more, but that is the amount they actually put on the books.

    Want to fix Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare? Stop wasting trillions on futile wars overseas to help people who will never, never become secular, non-sharia, self-ruling, democratic capitalist.

    This issue is very related to U.S. retirement security…just most people don't understand why.

    Then, just maybe, we can save Social Security.

    Ron Cohen For Congress 2018


  3. Social Security calculations and rules are very complex. It is very hard to take questions about individual cases “on the fly.”

    However, “scrap the cap” is a socialist plan to make higher income people pay 6.2% on ALL wages — both for the employee and employer — rather than stop at $118,500 of wages per year (indexed for inflation).

    This is an insane proposal that will never, never pass…so Mr. Honda is just pandering to lower-income voters with the promise this would make Social Security more secure…which it will not, because, Scrap the Cap will put such a burden on employees (high income people who buy lots of things that stimulate the economy) and employers, the economy will completely stop growing and shrink…making Social Security LESS stable. I know, because I am an employer, and I will have to lay-off employees if Mr. Honda's proposal is enacted.

    It is a “class warfare” proposal. President Roosevelt was very clear that contributions to Social Security must be capped, because the benefits are capped. He was right. Honda is pandering and economically ignorant.

    I hope no one is taken-in by this bleeding-heart proposal that will never, never pass in any case…so it does not matter what Honda proposes, except to show his progressive, trendy, social-justice warrior naivety.

    The bigger issue that he completely ignores is that Social Security, Medicare, and Obamacare are complete broke, Ponzi schemes that will not work in the long term. I predict it will fail about 2023…resulting in about a 32% reduction in benefits. Protect yourself.

    I am not in favor of privatizing Social Security…but we must make it economically viable. We should start by controlling wasteful federal spending of $100s of billions a year.

    “The problem with Socialism is that at some point you run out of other peoples' money.”
    Margaret Thatcher.

    Ron Cohen For Congress 2018


  4. Mike Honda, the Sandre Swanson of the South Bay.
    Each with a chance as likely as a cold day in Hell.


  5. Dream on….Honda lost the primary. Khanna improved his 2014 performance by 22 points!!! Honda has a major ethics investigation going on. He has less money for the general than Khanna. And he lost the President's support!!!

    If you and Honda lived in reality world, you'd both realize it. Unfortunately, you don't. Both will fight these last 80 days until election day, wasting Dem money, just so Honda can say he didn't quit. If he were less vain and less selfish, perhaps more Dems could be using his funds to win their races!!! As an observer of this race (and Swalwell's in 2012), I predict Khanna will win by over 10 points.


  6. Honda will get re-elected because he has always served his constituents well and they will reward him in November.


  7. This is an embarrassment to this country that this is a representative of Congress let alone for Silicon Valley. Honda is a nice guy and personable but he's at best incompetent when it comes to public policy and needs to be replaced.


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