Yes, Republicans need adjustments to Social Security and Medicare entitlements—as a result of some adjustments are wanted

Growing up, I used to look at a sportscaster whose catchphrase was “Let’s go to the videotape!” And then he’d present a monster house run, landing move or slam dunk. 

Well, right here’s a distinct form of slam dunk. During his State of the Union handle, President Biden taunted Republicans for saying they need to reduce Social Security and Medicare—even “sunset” it each 5 years, that means that if lawmakers didn’t vote to maintain the applications, they’d sundown—vanish. 

Republicans had been outraged. 

“Liar!” screamed Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene. Meanwhile, Utah Sen. Mike Lee was proven shaking his head, dumbfounded that such an accusation might be made. 

Oh? “Let’s go to the videotape!”

There’s Lee, wanting shocked—SHOCKED! (as Claude Rains stated in “Casablanca”) that Biden might accuse anybody of threatening to kill Social Security and Medicaid. On the fitting? Lee says precisely that. 

“It will be my objective,” he stated, wagging his finger sanctimoniously, “to phase out Social Security. To pull it up by the roots and get rid of it.”

He then says the identical of Medicare and Medicaid.

If you have a look at the parents Lee was talking to, they appear to be older, and some might be heard clapping. Clapping? What for?

But let’s watch out right here. Biden didn’t say that every one, and even most Republicans need to take an ax to those applications, like Lee. He solely stated that “some” do. His actual quote: 

Instead of constructing the rich pay their justifiable share, some Republicans need Medicare and Social Security to sundown each 5 years.

That means if Congress doesn’t vote to maintain them, these applications will go away.

Other Republicans say if we don’t reduce Social Security and Medicare, they’ll let America default on its debt for the primary time in our historical past.

I received’t let that occur.

You can learn the full transcript of the president’s remarks right here: 

The president’s phrases—fastidiously chosen—had been correct. 

On Wednesday, Florida Sen. Rick Scott put out an advert demanding that Biden resign, accusing the president of mendacity about entitlement cuts. But final yr, when Scott headed the National Republican Senatorial Committee, it launched a five-year sundown clause for all federal laws, together with Social Security and Medicare. The president’s declare was appropriate: The proposal would have made Social Security and Medicare topic to common congressional approval. That a senator from Florida, prime heavy with seniors, would want to be related to such an thought appears loopy—and certainly, that’s what Mitch McConnell the Senate Republican chief, thought. He deep-sixed Scott’s thought, not as a result of he disagreed with it philosophically, however as a result of he knew it might harm Republicans on the polls. 

Read: 12 issues you might want to find out about Social Security’s future, defined by this system’s chief number-cruncher

We know McConnell thinks this manner, as a result of in October 2018 he referred to as entitlements “the real drivers of the debt,” including they must be adjusted “to the demographics of America in the future.”

Then there’s Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who has stated “If you qualify for the entitlement, you just get it no matter what the cost,” including, “It’s on automatic pilot. It never, you just don’t do proper oversight. You don’t get in there and fix the programs going bankrupt.”

There’s extra, however you get the concept. 

Let me be clear on this subsequent level. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are completely important applications which have to be preserved. Full cease. Enough of the loopy concepts about yanking them up by the roots or permitting them to sundown. And but, partisan politics apart, there are some primary truths about these gargantuan federal applications that have to be acknowledged.

Here are two: 

  • The Social Security Trustees estimate that except fixes are made, the Social Security Trust Fund will run out in 9 years, After that, it estimates that retirees would get simply 77% of their advantages. Either taxes should go up, or eligibility ages raised, or maybe some mixture of each.
  • Medicare’s Hospital Insurance belief fund is projected to be depleted in 2028, says no much less an authority than the Medicare Board of Trustees (right here’s a proof from the Kaiser Family Foundation). 

These are painful realities, and they’re quick approaching. President Biden and Kevin McCarthy, the brand new home speaker, have pledged to work collectively to unravel issues. I can consider nowhere extra vital to start out than proper right here. But sufficient of the GOP scare speak. 

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