In a press release posted earlier today, Maine Gov. Paul LePage claimed that Social Security payments and Medicare are "welfare, pure and simple."
LePage was writing to argue that newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis showing that Maine lagged the other five New England states in personal income growth are wrong, that their:
growth was driven by an increase in welfare benefits, especially in the form of Medicaid expansion. The BEA conceals welfare benefits by calling them "Personal Current Transfer Receipts."
In the press release LePage then goes on to define such transfers as:
Social Security benefits; Medicare payments; Medicaid; and state unemployment insurance benefits.
“It doesn’t matter what liberals call these payments, it (sic) is welfare, pure and simple.”
Reaction to these bizarre claims came almost immediately. Rep. Mike Michaud, the Democratic Party challenger to Gov. LePage in November, had this prepared statement:
LePage's comments are an insult to Maine seniors who have worked long and hard to earn their Social Security and Medicare benefits. These two programs have helped to provide a secure retirement to thousands upon thousands of hardworking men and women who have earned them one paycheck at a time. They deserve much better than to have their monthly Social Security checks called ‘welfare handouts.’ The governor should be embarrassed that he ever suggested such a thing.
You can learn more about Michaud's bid to be Maine's next governor at his campaign website here