Tongue planted firmly in cheek this morning, Catherine Rampell wrote that “Researchers have identified a previously unknown species in D.C. Like cicadas, this species stays underground for years at a time, typically in four- or eight-year intervals. Its members hide away until there is an auspicious change in the ecosystem. Then, they bust out and wreak havoc. This species: Republicans who care about deficits. From 2017 through early 2021, members of the species lay dormant. Coincidentally, though, a nearly identical-looking sister species, Republicans who love debt, ruled Capitol Hill in their stead. With unified control of the House, Senate and White House, these debt-loving Republicans gleefully spilled red ink across the nation’s capital and beyond… Then, the ecosystem changed. Specifically: A Democrat reentered the White House. Our newly identified varietal of Republicans resurfaced and seized control.”
So now, they’re refusing to pay the bills they piled up unless the Democrats agree to cut benefits of the most popular governmental programs in the country— Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. They want people to keep working until they’re 70… and pay a 30% tax on everything they buy. Rampell speculates that “they know their belt-tightening proposals are unpopular, and so they’d rather not have a GOP-affiliated president preside over their passage. Or maybe they’re not genuinely fiscally conservative at all, and are just looking for excuses to damage short-term economic conditions. Whatever the intentions, that was certainly a consequence of debt-ceiling brinkmanship in the Obama era, as well as the resulting austerity ‘compromise’ that dragged on the recovery post-Great Recession. It’s also a likely consequence this year, if these resurfacing swamp creatures flirt with default again.”
But the Democrats have an unexpected ally this time around: Señor Trumpanzee. Watch this video he posted today:
As you can see, most of it is his typical gaslighting bullshit, but he started the message with a warning to congressional Republicans: “Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security.” Right on, Señor T! He wants them to target “left wing gender programs from our military” and “billions being spent on climate extremism” instead. “Cut waste, fraud and abuse everywhere that we can find it and there is plenty there’s plenty of it. But do not cut the benefits our seniors worked for and paid for their entire lives. Save Social Security, don’t destroy it.”
Does this ever go against the grain of the serious austerity types who have been bellowing about it— like wealthy, worker-hating Georgia slime-buckets Buddy Carter and Rick Allen, the latter being the guy who thinks people want to work longer and believes in “incentivizing” them by raising these they can start accessing Social Security and Medicare benefits. This should be nice and embarrassing for Trumpists who have spoken out on cutting Social Security and Medicare, like Missouri closet queen Jason Smith (R), McCarthy’s new chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. He’s been promising “a lot of hearings” on cutting Social Security and Medicare. I guess that’s a no-go now.
Presumably Don Bolduc’s and Blakes Masters’ calls to privatize Social Security and Medicare was part of the reason each of them did so miserably in the New Hampshire and Arizona midterms. Masters trailed the entire statewide ticket and Bolduc drew just 275,928 votes (44.5%) while Republican governor Chris Sununu was reelected with 352,813 votes (57.1%).
Two weeks ago, Igor Bobic filed this report for Yahoo News: “House Republicans are making clear that they intend to seek cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare with their new majority in the 118th Congress. Their plans to target health care programs follow demands from a group of conservatives that helped elect House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) over the weekend. Those far-right lawmakers have sought across-the-board spending cuts in order to tackle the growing national debt.” Florida reactionary Michael Waltz told Fox Business viewers that “If we really want to talk about the debt and spending, it’s the entitlements programs.”
The Republican Study Committee proposed a budget for fiscal 2023 that would gradually increase the eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare, and change the Social Security benefit formula for people 54 and younger, while not changing it for people closer to receiving benefits.
Los Angeles Congressman Ted Lieu, now the 4th highest ranking Democrat in the House, told me this morning that “While Democrats are putting People Over Politics, Republicans are making life more difficult for seniors. The House GOP wants forced work into old age and less Social Security and Medicare benefits when people finally do retire! Democrats will take back the House next term. Guaranteed.”