Republicans are playing a weird game when it comes to Social Security and Medicare. When asked whether they want to dismantle these programs, Republicans pretend to be Democrats, insisting they only want to protect them. However, Republican proposals on Social Security and Medicare suggest a very different and darker story. With the midterm elections approaching, the Democratic Party isn’t letting this subterfuge go unnoticed.
Recent reporting from the New York Times and Bloomberg Government outline how influential Republicans are targeting Social Security and Medicare for the chopping block in budget negotiations with President Joe Biden. Some ideas include raising the age to receive benefits from 67 to 70 and requiring higher healthcare premiums for many older Americans.
Senator Rick Scott is talking about having these programs sunset every five years, meaning Congress must regularly agree to renew them or they’re gone, essentially setting them up for hostage-style negotiations. Senator Ron Johnson has even proposed putting Social Security and Medicare up to a yearly survival test by tying them to annual congressional spending bills.
A video recently surfaced of Senator Mike Lee back in 2010, who as a candidate said, “It will be my objective to phase out Social Security. To pull it up by the roots and get rid of it.” When the Utah Daily Herald questioned Lee directly about this video a week ago, he argued that since he supposedly doesn’t “recall” advocating for dismantling social programs, the video is magically invalid.
With Republicans salivating at hacking away at Social Security and Medicare if they gain the majority, all Americans should be worried. Fortunately, the Democrats are on the case, helping sound the alarm to voters ahead of the midterms.
Addressing a crowd in Florida on Tuesday, Biden warned, “They’re coming after your Social Security and Medicare, and they’re saying it out loud.” He then explained the situation in clear terms: “You’ve been paying into Social Security your whole life. You earned it. Now these guys want to take it away. Who in the hell do they think they are? Excuse my language.”
President Obama also exposed this Republican threat to voters in Wisconsin. “You know why they have Social Security?” he asked this week. “Because they worked for it. They worked hard jobs for it. They have chapped hands for it. They had long hours and sore backs and bad knees to get that Social Security!”
The Republican fantasy of harming Social Security and Medicare, either directly or by threatening their existence as leverage for negotiations, is real, no matter how the GOP likes to characterize it. This is one of many reasons why Republicans do not deserve anyone’s vote this Tuesday.