On Feb. 7, President Joe Biden used his State of the Union speech to have Republicans literally standing on their feet for the preservation of Social Security and Medicare in the context of debt ceiling negotiations. “Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage—I get it—unless I agree to their economic plans,” Biden baited Republicans. “All of you at home should know what those plans are. Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” Biden said.
The resulting umbrage from Republicans was so over the top that Biden had no problem reeling them in. “I’m glad to see, I’m telling you, I enjoy conversion. You know, it means if Congress doesn’t keep the programs the way they are, they go away,” he continued, reminding them again that cuts to the programs were “being proposed by individuals,” eliciting more boos and jeers from the Republican side of the chamber. “So folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books, right?” he ad-libbed to Republican cheers. “We’ve got unanimity,” Biden exclaimed.
Of course, that unanimity was for public consumption only. Republicans wanted to keep Social Security and Medicare cuts in the mix. Even while McCarthy was reiterating that cuts to the program were completely “off the table” in the debt ceiling and budget bill Republicans were crafting, behind the scenes they were plotting the next attack.
The ink had barely dried on the debt ceiling deal McCarthy and Biden made before McCarthy was announcing that plot: a commission to explore mandatory spending cuts. In other words: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
"I'm gonna announce a commission coming forward from the speaker from bipartisan on both sides of the aisle,” McCarthy told Fox News. “We only got to look at 11 percent of the budget to find these cuts. We have to look at the entire budget.”
And there’s that Republican rhetoric again: “The majority driver of, of the budget is, is mandatory spending. It's Medicare, Social Security, and interest on the debt.” You know what else is responsible for the nation’s debt? Yep, you got it: Republican tax cuts for the rich.
When are we going to get a commission to study tax hikes?
We’ve been here before, the last time there was a Democratic president. Back then it was the infamous Simpson-Bowles “catfood commission” that recommended tax breaks for the rich and Social Security cuts for everyone else. Those recommendations deservedly went nowhere, as did the work of the “Super Congress”of Congress members that was supposed to figure a way out of the 2011 debt limit impasse. It failed, because that’s what commissions designed to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid do.
Maybe that’s why McCarthy told reporters that his new catfood commission is going to be more like the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. That successful committee was created to make military bases more efficient. Which has absolutely nothing to do with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
How about this time around, Democrats just not play the stupid game? They can continue to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid by refusing to go along with yet another pointless commission of “very serious people” that will only end up recommending policies that protect the rich and hurt everyone else.
Biden baits Republicans into standing up (literally) for Social Security and Medicare
Republicans at it again, publicly plotting how they’ll end Social Security and Medicare
Fiscal commission chairs' mark: Lower taxes for 2%, austerity for 98%
Super Congress fight shifts to sequestration cuts fight
We have Rural Organizing’s Aftyn Behn. Markos and Aftyn talk about what has been happening in rural communities across the country and progressives’ efforts to engage those voters. Behn also gives the podcast a breakdown of which issues will make the difference in the coming elections.