The Republican deficit peacockery over saving American lives and livelihoods is reaching new levels of absurdity. Absurdity and cruelty, which is nothing new, but the degree to which they will use any excuse to destroy Social Security and Medicare is truly surreal. The Washington Post explored how far down the rabbit hole some of them are exploring by detailing the "Eagle Plan."
This is just nutso. It's a 29-page memo explaining how to steal from Social Security to give people $10,000 now, and it’s written by—get this—by Paul Touw, chief strategy officer to U.S. State Department undersecretary Keith Krach. Yes, the State Department—which doesn't make domestic policy. But there's this: "Krach is close to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser. Kushner and Krach served together on the presidential delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January." So of course the White House Council of Economic Advisers is reviewing it, because it's coming from Prince Jared. Never mind that it’s insane.
At this point, the White House is calling the plan "ludicrous on its face." That's from spokesman Hogan Gidley, who continued: "President Trump has been clear that while he is in office, the American people can feel secure without a shadow of a doubt that he will completely protect Social Security and Medicare—end of story, full stop." Which is, of course, not true. Trump has been pushing for a payroll tax cut—which even Senate Republicans think is ludicrous, to borrow a White House word—in response to the novel coronavirus. It would do nothing to provide economic stimulus and would also rob Social Security and Medicare of funding.
Aside from that, Trump's ongoing war on the Affordable Care Act jeopardizes Medicare and the cost savings the program has achieved because of that law. Trump also recently said that cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is "actually the easiest of all things," and will be a a project for "toward the end of the year." This public health and economic crisis provides exactly the "shock doctrine" kind of moment the Republicans live for—their chance to finally kill social insurance programs, either by arguing that they aren't affordable after spending trillions to keep the nation afloat, or by robbing them now to kill them in the future, like this Kushner project.
The "Eagle Plan" is not a lot different from Ivanka Trump's brilliant idea for robbing Social Security for family leave. She'd also have people rob their futures to get the help now while drawing down Social Security reserves. That puts current and near-future benefits in jeopardy, whatever Trump and his mouthpieces say. It's not about protecting the program, which the White House's fixation on the payroll tax cut—with nothing else coming out of that shop—demonstrates. Trump isn't interested in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis anymore. He wants to declare victory and let the body count continue.
That the body count will mean a lot of deaths is lost on no one, including those 65-and-older white voters who are finally leaving him. Recent Civiqs polling shows an 11-point drop for him among white, independent voters over 65. That's something even the Trump administration sees and fears, which is probably why they trotted out Gidley to denounce Kushner's plan.