‘I’ve never been more worried about what’s happening to seniors and what is at risk’


Max Richtman (left), president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, speaks with retired actress Louise Goddard before the taping of her video critical of President Trump's handling of Social Security. Behind the camera is Mathieu Mazza of Newsgroup Communications, Inc.. All three have residences in Rappahannock County. The lounging cat in the foreground is named George.

Rappahannock County resident and retired actress Louise Clark Goddard (Louise Caire Clark), who appeared in the iconic “Harry and Louise” ads opposing the 1993 Clinton health care plan, is appearing in a new video critical of President Trump’s handling of Social Security.

In the video released by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare — its president and CEO, Max Richtman, residing in Woodville — Goddard contends that Trump is endangering seniors’ earned benefits.  

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“Despite Trump’s promises not to touch Social Security, he has issued an executive order to temporarily defer payroll taxes,” Goddard states in the video. “He’s now promising to eliminate payroll taxes entirely if he is re-elected president. Without them, Social Security will be totally defunded in just two-and-a-half years.” 

Richtman, who has penned several Social Security and Medicare related op-eds in the Rappahannock News in recent years, says the national committee he heads strongly opposes Trump’s deferral of employee payroll taxes, a major funding source for workers’ Social Security benefits. 

Trump, the committee contends, pledged to “terminate” payroll taxes in a second term, which Social Security’s chief actuary said would bankrupt the retirement trust fund by 2023 — at which point the program would pay zero benefits.

“I don’t think President Trump has the foggiest idea how Social Security is funded,” Richtman charges. “If he is re-elected, and follows through on his scheme to eliminate payroll taxes, the entire Social Security program will be at risk.

“We’re grateful to Louise Goddard,” the president and CEO adds, “for acting on her convictions and telling seniors what’s truly at stake in this election — their earned benefits and their overall well-being.”

President Trump has said that if reelected he plans to implement a payroll tax deferral, but promised that Social Security would not be negatively affected. He explained that money would be paid into the program through the general fund.

Goddard appeared in a series of advertisements against the Clinton health care plan from 1993 to 1995 and in the “Cures Now” ad for stem cell research in 2002. She was additionally featured in ads favoring health care reform during the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns and in a spot that aired during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In 2009 she appeared in a television ad in support of President Obama’s health care plan that eventually became the Affordable Care Act. 

Now retired in Rappahannock, Goddard, who has appeared in several movies and television shows and in over 300 commercials, says she felt compelled to speak out as a public service because of Trump’s “blatant disregard” for Social Security and the 68 million Americans who depend on their monthly benefit checks.

“I’ve never been more worried about what’s happening to seniors and what is at risk,” Goddard says in a separate Q&A taped by the committee. “President Trump’s plans… they’re just so scary. And I care [about this issue] very much.”  

Breaking with 38 years of precedent, the national committee on September 17 endorsed Joe Biden for president as a “better choice” for both workers and retirees.

Goddard’s late husband, Ben Goddard, wrote and produced the “Harry and Louise” ads. The new video was produced and shot by Newsgroup Communications, Inc., a worldwide video and documentary production company whose principal owners, Mathieu and Tracy Mazza, also have a home in Woodville. 

“Mathieu and I were thrilled to work with Louise and Max to help get this important message out for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare,” said Tracy Mazza, the company’s vice president.