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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: rick scott

Warnock's Re-Election Is Also A Victory For Social Security

Social Security was on the ballot in Georgia’s December 6 run-off election. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock’s re-election is a win for working families. It is a victory for Gold Star families, paralyzed veterans, seniors, and indeed all of Social Security’s over 65 million current beneficiaries and all future beneficiaries.

It is a loss for Republican politicians and their Wall Street donors who are determined to reach into our pockets and steal our hard earned benefits. If Herschel Walker had won, he would have rubber stamped the Republican agenda to cut Social Security’s modest but vital benefits.

Walker proudly campaigned with and took money from Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), the author of a plan that would put Social Security on the chopping block every five years. If Walker had been elected, he would have been a rubber stamp for Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), whose plan would put Social Security on the chopping block every single year.

What cuts do Republicans have in mind? The Republican Study Committee, a group that counts about 75 percent of House Republicans as members, released a detailed plan to cut Social Security in multiple ways: Raising the retirement age to 70 (a 21 percent benefit cut), slashing middle class benefits, and handing billions of dollars of Social Security’s revenue over to Wall Street and private insurance corporations.

Republican politicians in Washington have been clear about how they plan to force those cuts into law—and Walker would have been a rubber stamp for that plan. Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy has announced the Republican plan to take hostage the must-pass debt limit next summer. The ransom to be paid in exchange for their votes? Cuts to our earned Social Security benefits.

Nor is McCarthy only speaking for House Republicans. Senator John Thune (R-SD), number two Senate Republican leader, has echoed McCarthy’s plan to hold the debt limit hostage to Social Security cuts.

It is important to recognize that, as a self-funded program that has no borrowing authority and can only pay benefits if it has sufficient revenue to cover every penny of the cost, Social Security does not add even a penny to the federal debt. It is not contributing a penny to the debt whose limit must be raised to avoid a default by the United States on its obligations. Nevertheless, Republicans in Congress want to cut our earned benefits so badly, they’re willing to risk an economic catastrophe to make it happen.

Fortunately, Senator Warnock won, giving the Democrats a clear majority in the Senate. President Biden and the Democrats he leads have made it clear that they are committed to expanding Social Security, with no cuts, while requiring the wealthiest to begin to pay their fair share. And Senator Warnock himself understands how important our Social Security system is.

He recognizes that Social Security embodies the best of American and religious values—values that Senator Warnock has lived by his entire life. Among those values are that it is our birthright as human beings to have dignity, freedom and independence; that hard work should be rewarded; that we have responsibilities and concern for ourselves, our families, and our neighbors; and that we are all connected, sharing the same risks and benefits.

Social Security is as reliable as it is essential. Through pandemics, wars, and economic recessions, Social Security has always continued to reliably pay monthly benefits, allowing its beneficiaries and their families to pay rent, buy food, and fill life-saving prescriptions.

Senator Warnock understands that Americans of all political backgrounds rely on our earned Social Security benefits, and supports protecting and expanding them. He knows how important Social Security benefits are for the people of Georgia, both now and in the future.

In his two years in the Senate, Warnock has been a champion for seniors. As a member of the Senate Aging Committee, he led the successful fight to cap the cost of insulin for seniors. He was part of the winning vote to finally allow Medicare to negotiate with Big Pharma to lower drug prices.

Now, Georgia voters have re-elected Senator Warnock. Warnock and his Democratic colleagues have a mandate to protect Social Security’s earned benefits. Fortunately, President Biden and Demcrats in Congress have made clear that not only do they oppose cuts, they will not negotiate over debt limit legislation with the Republican terrorists who plan to kidnap it.

To avoid a dangerous and potentially calamitous game of chicken when a default is imminent, Democrats should thwart the kidnappers by raising or eliminating the debt ceiling before the end of this year. That will foil the Republican hostage-taking plans, a plan to force highly unpopular and unwise social cuts that voters in Georgia—and across America—resoundingly rejected in this year’s midterm elections.

Nancy J. Altman is a writing fellow for Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute. She is the author of The Truth About Social Security and The Battle for Social Security and co-author of Social Security Works! and the forthcoming Social Security Works for Everyone!

This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

GOP Fundraising Pitch: 'Where Do You Want To Send Illegal Immigrants Next?'

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) and his NRSC are once again under fire, this time for sending fundraising emails to GOP voters asking, “where do you want Republicans to send illegal immigrants next?” The multiple-choice answers include “Barack Obama’s House,” “The White House,” and “San Francisco.”

Sen. Scott is the embattled head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), the official fundraising arm of the Senate GOP caucus. Recently he has been highly criticized by Republicans wondering why the NRSC’s funding of critical Republican senate campaigns has been so poor. Earlier this month a New York Times headline read: “How a Record Cash Haul Vanished for Senate Republicans.”

The NRSC email, posted to social media by The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberger, falsely claim the 50 Venezuelan immigrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, possibly unlawfully according to at least one lawsuit, are “illegal.” They had applied for asylum and were in the country legally.

“Democrats and their corrupt partners in the mainstream media just don’t get it,” the defensive email, titled, “OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE,” begins. “Republican Governors like Greg Abbott from Texas and Ron DeSantis from Florida showed coastal elite millionaires in Martha’s Vineyard what life is like on our country’s southern border – and they WERE NOT HAPPY.”

That too is false — there are few “coastal elite millionaires in Martha’s Vineyard” in late September, and most of the area’s residents were angered by what some legal experts are accusing DeSantis of: possible kidnapping.

“Biden’s BORDER CRISIS is only getting worse – and he REFUSES to do anything about it,” Scott’s email continues. DEADLY drugs, like fentanyl, are flowing into our country UNCHECKED – and Americans are dying at UNPRECEDENTED rates from overdoses. It’s sad – and PREVENTABLE.”

The email does not mention that Customs and Border Protection has seized 10,071 pounds of fentanyl this year already, according to The Arizona Republic. Nor does it explain how flying 50 asylum-seeking immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard would stop fentanyl from entering the U.S.

The Cato Institute, a right wing think tank, just last week reported “fentanyl is overwhelmingly smuggled by U.S. citizens almost entirely for U.S. citizen consumers.” But it also revealed that “60 percent of Republicans believe, ‘Most of the fentanyl entering the U.S. is smuggled in by unauthorized migrants crossing the border illegally.'”

Gov. DeSantis is being investigated by a Texas sheriff and sued by a Boston-based legal firm representing some of the Venezuelan immigrants. There are calls for the DOJ to open an investigation as well.

NBC News on Thursday reported the “air charter company Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration hired for his migrant-moving program has contributed big money to some top allies of the governor and was once legally represented by Rep. Matt Gaetz and his former partner, who is now Florida’s ‘public safety czar’ in charge of immigration policy.”

Reports say DeSantis has already paid more than $1.5 million in taxpayer funds on the possibly unlawful “stunt” to that “air charter company.”

Anger over Senator Scott’s NRSC fundraising email was strong on social media.

“Fascists,” tweeted Justin Hendrix, cofounder and CEO of the nonprofit Tech Policy Press.

“The Senate Republicans, whom respectable donors and conservative elites still consider it just fine to support, are raising money by embracing the exploitation of ‘illegal immigrants’ (who in fact aren’t illegal). Team Normal is now simply the wingman for Team Demagogue,” wrote veteran journalist and former Republican turned Never-Trumper and Democrat Bill Kristol.

“How is this legal? This can not possibly be legal,” said former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega.

“They are inciting hatred, xenophobia and violence. They are morally bankrupt, and are not fit to hold power,” warned Rep Sean Casten (D-IL).

“Andrew Jackson wants his bullshit back,” tweeted law professor and political scientist Anthony Michael Kreis, referring to the late American president responsible for the forced, brutal, violent, and deadly “removal” of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands.

“They’ve made human trafficking a central policy plank,” noted Media Matters for America senior researcher Jason Campbell.

“Liberal anger at the Martha’s Vineyard stunt wasn’t because the people were MIGRANTS, it was because they were PEOPLE—and jerking people around for a political stunt is despicable,” explained attorney Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, the policy director at the American Immigration Council. “That the right can’t understand this is a sign of how dehumanization has become a norm for some.”

“Online fundraising off human trafficking of people seeking asylum. Quite a party they’ve got there,” noted Democratic strategist and former Clinton campaign official Jesse Ferguson.

“Dehumanization and elimination as a fundraising tactic. Another reminder that this horror is what the MAGA base wants from their leaders,” warned Melissa Ryan, a consultant on combatting disinformation and extremism.

Jim Swift, senior editor at The Bulwark tweeted, “the cruelty is the point.”

Public affairs strategist Murshed Zaheed warns, “Republicans in the Trump era are going to operate like monstrous, inhumane ghouls. They are not going to stop until the national Democrats effectively counterattack them over it (ie go after DeSantis for potential criminal liabilities) instead of cowering in silence.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

With Senate GOP Campaign Failing, Scott Angrily Attacks McConnell

With 64 days to go until the 2022 midterm elections, the guy the Republicans picked to take back the Senate is ... declaring war on Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. That’s a strategy, I guess.

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is fired up. He wrote a scathing tirade op-ed in the conservative rag The Washington Examiner that’s a very thinly veiled attack on McConnell, who told reporters earlier this month that Republicans have a “candidate quality” issue.

McConnell isn’t mentioned by name, but there’s no mystery who Scott’s talking about here. “Unfortunately, many of the very people responsible for losing the Senate last cycle are now trying to stop us from winning the majority this time by trash-talking our Republican candidates. It’s an amazing act of cowardice, and ultimately, it’s treasonous to the conservative cause,” Scott wrote. Treasonous, no less.

“If you want to talk about the need to raise more money to promote our candidates versus the Democrats’ terrible candidates, I agree,” Scott wrote. “If you want to trash-talk our candidates to help the Democrats, pipe down. That’s not what leaders do. And Republicans need to be leaders that build up the team and do everything they can to get the entire team over the finish line.”

There’s no mystery because Scott has been on an interview spree telling the media exactly who he intends to get that message.

“Sen. McConnell and I clearly have a strategic disagreement here … We have great candidates,” he told Politico Wednesday. “He wants to do the same thing I want to do: I want to get a majority. And I think it’s important that we’re all cheerleaders for our candidates.”

“If you trash talk our candidates … you hurt our chances of winning, and you hurt our candidates’ ability to raise money,” Scott said. “I know they’re good candidates, because I’ve been talking to them and they’re working their butts off.” Well, maybe not all of them. JD Vance’s lazy campaign in Ohio has been causing a GOP “freakout,” and Mehmet Oz just can’t seem to stop with the self-owns in Pennsylvania.

Scott has been needling McConnell for months, positioning himself as the outsider (a la Trump) taking it to the establishment. That included bucking McConnell’s attempts to control the message going into this election year by releasing his party platform that is fascist nightmare vision for the nation, and suggests such gems as having Social Security and Medicare legislation expire every five years.

He’s also been talking to McConnell’s chief nemesis, Trump. In fact, Scott met with him this week, apparently trying to pry some money away from him for Senate races. “He endorsed in some of these primaries, clearly cares that the people who he’s endorsed wins. And so I told him, from my standpoint, how he can be helpful. I think he will be,” Scott said.

Meanwhile, some of those endorsees have been running away from Trump and might not be so thrilled with Scott trying to rope them back in.

David Bergstein, a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, also talked with Politico, and had some fun with the interview. Scott spent a good chunk of his August recess on a luxury yacht in Italy, a decision that had plenty of other Republicans grousing. That provided great fodder for Bergstein. “[W]e know Rick’s been yachting in Europe so we’re happy to catch him up: his flunky candidates are still failing, his party’s position on abortion is still unpopular, and his fellow Republicans are still openly complaining about his self-serving, failed leadership of the NRSC.”

Pretty much. Choosing to escalate his fight with the McConnell just as post-Labor Day election push is set to kick in seems like a pretty misguided strategy. But we’ll take it! More of that infighting, please, Republicans.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Rick Scott Hits Biden's Delaware 'Staycation' -- From A Yacht In Italy

Rick Scott is once again under fire. The former governor who now serves as a U.S. Senator and the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is being criticized for taking a swipe at President Joe Biden for his “staycation” at his home in Delaware, which reporters discovered the Florida Republican did while tweeting from a luxury yacht in Italy.

Presidents generally take a few weeks off in August because Congress is on their summer recess.

Scott, the former CEO of a healthcare company who oversaw the largest Medicaid fraud in U.S. history, is considered to be the richest person in the U.S. Senate.

The Florida GOP lawmaker “is spending part of his congressional recess on a luxury yacht in Italy with his family after criticizing President Biden for vacationing in Delaware,” Axios reports. “Vacationing in Europe while Republicans face cash problems and rough headlines about their midterm chances could further hurt his standing with his GOP colleagues.”

Scott is already under fire for lavish spending of the NRSC’s meager finances, including on efforts to improve his standing ahead of a possible presidential run.

Pointing to a Washington Post article about the NRSC’s money troubles, Talking Points memo editor Josh Marshall last week said: “There’s clearly been some shift in momentum over the summer. But fundraising collapses like this don’t happen in a week or a month. Did Rick Scott defraud the NRSC like he did Medicare? How on earth can they be out of money after a year of gop surge?”

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman Tuesday afternoon, pointing to the Axios report, added: “The figurehead of the NRSC, whose staff posted in giant posterboard a tweet questioning if he’d have fundraising troubles after his J6 vote, is aboard someone’s luxury boat as R candidates are struggling and the NRSC’s $ situation is also troubled.”

“Knives are out for Rick Scott,” notes Washington Post congressional reporter Paul Kane. “Hey, he’s a mega-millionaire who can work from anywhere. But it’s a leak that shows Rs are growing restless.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

GOP Senators Appear At USO Photo Op, Then Vote Down Vets Health Care

Oh, this is perfect. Immediately before they voted against health care for veterans affected by toxic exposure during their service, several Senate Republicans tweeted about how excited they were to join the USO to assemble care packages for members of the military.

Sens. Rick Scott, Mitt Romney, and Cindy Hyde-Smith all made care packages for the military for at least long enough for a photo op, then tweeted about how grateful they were for the opportunity, and how much they support the troops. Then they went and voted against the PACT Act, a bill that had passed the Senate 84-14 just weeks ago before coming back this week for a minor tweak. The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (or PACT) Act extends health coverage for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers potentially caused by burn pits where millions of veterans were exposed to those toxins.

Republicans shifted against the PACT Act because Democrats announced a plan for a completely unrelated bill: the reconciliation deal with Sen. Joe Manchin to invest in clean energy and health care while raising some corporate taxes. That’s what it took for them to go from being so grateful to the USO for the opportunity to assemble care packages for service members to voting to deny health care to veterans for conditions related to their time in the military.


Comedian Jon Stewart, who has become a dedicated advocate for veterans, skewered Scott at a Thursday press conference.

“It’s beautiful,” Stewart said, dripping with sarcasm. “Did you get the package? I think it has M&M’s in it, and some cookies and some moist towelettes.”

“None of them care—except to tweet,” he added. “Boy, they’ll tweet it. Can’t wait to see what they come up with on Veterans Day, on Memorial Day. Well, this is the reality of it.”

“We’ve seen partisanship and games within Congress for years,” Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, was quoted by NBC News. “But what is shocking is that so many senators would literally be willing to play with veterans’ lives so openly like this.

“They’re manufacturing reasons to vote against legislation that they literally voted for just last month,” Butler continued. “And so it’s really a new level of low.”

After they blocked the bill, some Senate Republicans celebrated with fist bumps and handshakes:


The PACT Act, if Republicans ever allow it to pass, will extend coverage to 3.5 million veterans.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos


The Sordid History Behind Rick Scott's Medicare Mess

In Washington, acrimonious public disagreements among congressional leaders of the same party are unusual, which was why reporters took note not long ago when Sen. Mitch McConnell publicly spanked Sen. Rick Scott for what he considered an act of monumental stupidity.

What infuriated the Senate minority leader, who yearns above all to become the majority leader again, was Scott's unveiling of a 60-page "plan" describing what the Republicans will do if and when their party regains the majority. As chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Scott's job is to ensure victory in the November midterm by doling out tens of millions to candidates.

But McConnell saw Scott's plan as the equivalent of a loud emission of noxious gas: unpleasant, unhelpful, and very much to be avoided. McConnell has steadfastly refused to state what Republicans would do if they win the Senate; now, the lunkhead Rick Scott has let the cat out of the bag.

Especially irksome to McConnell were two aspects of Scott's blueprint. "Let me tell you what would not be part of our agenda," snapped McConnell. "We will not have, as part of our agenda, a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years. That will not be part of the Republican Senate majority agenda."

Of course, McConnell just doesn't want to tell voters what his party will do, because their ideas are deeply unpopular and always get them in trouble, like when Newt Gingrich proposed privatizing Medicare and former President George W. Bush proposed privatizing Social Security.

Scott's scheme to raise income taxes on most households struck McConnell as politically insane, and so did the plan's endorsement of allowing "all federal legislation," including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, to simply expire within five years.

Scott, for his part, has portrayed himself as a "bold" visionary victimized by conventional thinkers. Polling, however, indicates that the Scott scheme is profoundly unpopular among all voters, including Republicans, with majorities north of 65% rejecting it. No more than 15% like it.

So, the Florida senator has simply lied since then.

"No one that I know of wants to sunset Medicare or Social Security," he insists, although that's exactly what his plan urges.Perhaps McConnell was too polite to mention the other utterly politically crazy aspect of the Scott proposal: namely, the likelihood that attacking Medicare and Medicaid will remind America about the massive health care fraud underlying Rick Scott's enormous personal fortune, estimated at $300 million.

Beginning in 1987, Scott founded and built Columbia/HCA, a hospital chain that included hundreds of health care providers across multiple states and engorged itself on billions in Medicare and Medicaid fees. Unfortunately, this lucrative business involved truly gigantic levels of fraud, which by early 1997 drew the attention of federal investigators. Columbia/HCA illegally scammed billions of dollars intended for patient care, perpetrating what remains the biggest fraud on government ever by any health care institution.

The company's board forced Scott to resign within months after the federal investigation became public. He pleaded ignorance, barely escaped indictment and walked away with vast wealth. He claims to have accepted "responsibility," although he consistently blamed others, adding piously that the experience "made me a better leader."

Somehow, Florida's voters narrowly elected him governor in 2010 and then to the U.S. Senate in 2018. The words of his 2010 primary opponent Bill McCollum, a former Navy prosecutor and Florida attorney general, still ring true. During the campaign McCollum denounced Scott as "the disgraced former CEO of Columbia/HCA who is inseparably associated with one of the most massive Medicare fraud schemes in American history."

Scott's sordid narrative raises an obvious question. How did this come to pass? We know that Florida voters have a habit of electing some truly awful politicians, and that Scott spent $60 million to win his first election. We know that Republican leaders in Washington have no problem with fraud or corruption, so long as it accrues to their own power. Just ask "Moscow Mitch," who was in the tank for Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch with Kentucky investments. We know that the Republican concern for ensuring the fairness and stability of our health care system is nil, given their long war against Medicare and, more recently, the Affordable Care Act. Now, they won't even act to reduce the cost of lifesaving insulin.

Voters should be aware that this corporate malefactor is in charge of handing out the big campaign bucks from the Senate Republican campaign — and that he aims to destroy the nation's most successful and popular domestic programs. Somebody better tell them before November. Buyer beware.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Blame Biden For Higher Prices -- But Then What?

No subject inflames political passions more than the powerful inflationary pressures that now squeeze every working family — and nobody likes to talk about inflation more than Republicans, who have reason to believe that rising prices will lift their political boats next November. Polls show that Americans furious over the costs of gasoline, food, housing and nearly everything else blame President Joe Biden, just as Republican leaders insist they should.

When playing this blame game, the Republicans like to keep things simple. The price hikes must be Biden's fault, because he is president while they are going up. And the way to bring them down is to elect congressional Republicans in 2022 and a Republican president, perhaps Donald Trump again, in 2024.

The problem with this simple-minded approach is that, like most economic analysis focused on a snapshot, it eliminates all the important facts and context. It is like saying that the COVID-19 pandemic — not the response, but the contagion itself — was Trump's fault because he was president when it occurred.

According to the Republicans, inflation's principal cause was Biden's spending on the American Rescue Plan, which pumped too much liquidity into the economy at a moment when production could not keep up. Fewer goods chased by more money inevitably made prices rise. But if that's true, then those same Republicans must explain why prices have risen at nearly the same rate across the developed world — and much more rapidly in some countries.

Across Europe, the current year-on-year inflation rate is 7.5 percent, or roughly one percent lower than in the United States, which clearly has nothing to do with Biden or his spending policies. The main causes behind this round of global inflation are the supply-chain disruptions caused by the global pandemic, which are affecting every country, and the Russian war against Ukraine.

Would we be happier if we were living with Europe's inflation rate? Not much — and we would be coping with much higher unemployment. Whatever else is said about the Biden economic plan, he has succeeded in driving unemployment down to the lowest level in 50 years, at roughly 3.6 percent. That is a historic jobs boom, resulting in higher wages for the lowest-paid workers in our economy.

Meanwhile, unemployment across the European Union is now around 6.2 percent. Higher prices harm working families, but buying the necessities is far more challenging when the family's breadwinners are out of work.

So perhaps one percent or a little more of the present inflation rate can be attributed plausibly to the American Rescue Plan. But that spending did nothing to raise gas or food prices, both vulnerable to the effects of pandemic and war. And when Republicans complain about the inflationary impact of Biden's economic program, someone should ask what they plan to do about the problem if and when they regain power. They appear to have no answer.

In fact, Sean Hannity, Trump's favorite Fox News host, had the temerity to pose that question to the former president last week. "If you're president, what would you do?" asked Hannity, after framing his query with a damning denunciation of Biden and the economy.

"So what you're saying sounds all very easy and sounds very simple, not actually that simple," Trump began, careening into a long, indeed very long reply that was full of self-praise but empty of an actual answer to his fanboy's question. Because he has no answer.

Now, Trump rarely offers any coherent response on policy issues, which is one of the reasons that he abolished the Republican platform altogether in 2020. What about his fellow partisans on Capitol Hill, whose midterm campaign rides on voter anger over inflation? Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, recently released an 11-point program that mostly consists of hollow culture war rhetoric rather than concrete proposals. (One of his brilliant ideas is to complete the border-wall boondoggle, at enormous cost, and name it after Trump.)

Scott has no answer to inflation — which his program doesn't even mention — but he does want to raise tax rates for working families that earn too little to pay federal income taxes now. And then there's Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, another leading Republican voice, who recently clogged up border crossings with a "truck inspection" stunt. He wanted to make a point about immigration, but only succeeded in driving up the price of food imported from Mexico and harming industries in his own state.

No, the Republicans only have one idea: Scream about Joe Biden, and hope voters don't realize they have no plan and no clue until after Election Day.

To find out more about Joe Conason, editor-in-chief of The National Memo, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Rick Scott: 'Sunsetting' Medicare And Social Security Will Save Programs

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) said Sunday that his party's plan to make Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security expire every five years was the best way to "preserve" the vital entitlement programs.

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Scott was asked about his controversial 11-point "Rescue America" plan for a potential 2023 Republican majority in Congress.

"Two of the big points are, 'All Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently, over half of Americans pay no income tax,'" host John Roberts pointed out. "It also says: 'All federal legislation sunsets in five years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.'"

"So, that would raise taxes on half of Americans and potentially sunset programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security," he continued. "Why would you propose something like that in an election year?"

Scott first dismissed the direct quotes from his proposals as Democratic "talking points."

Then he argued that talking every year "about exactly how we're going to fix Medicare and Social Security" would somehow keep the programs alive.

"No one that I know of wants to sunset Medicare or Social Security, but what we're doing is, we don't even talk about it. Medicare goes bankrupt in four years. Social Security goes bankrupt in 12 years," Scott predicted. "I think we ought to figure out how we preserve those programs. Every program that we care about, we ought to stop and take the time to preserve those programs."

Scott's plan would do the opposite of preserving the safety net. By making every single federal law expire every five years, his idea would likely paralyze virtually the entire federal government.

In recent years, Congress has struggled to agree on even must-pass legislation to continue funding the federal government. Scott and most other Republicans have voted against even paying the federal Treasury Department's existing debts and averting government shutdowns. With a five-year expiration date on every federal law, this would mean that, without a drastic change in his party's behavior, entitlement programs, civil rights laws, and even federal highway programs could simply cease to exist.

Scott's previous record when it comes to protecting Medicare is also questionable. According to PolitiFact, during his tenure running a hospital company called Columbia/HCA, Scott "oversaw the largest Medicare fraud at the time" in U.S. history.

Scott said his plan, which would raise taxes on more than 100 million American families, is a good idea.

"I'll put my record up against anybody on tax cuts. I cut taxes and fees 100 times as governor," Scott said on Sunday. "But here's what's unfair. We have people that don't — that could go to work and have figured out how to have government pay their way. That's not right. They ought to have some skin in the game. I don't care if it's a dollar. We ought to all be in this together."

His proposal to make everyone pay some federal income taxes would punish millions of retirees and low-income working families who make less than $28,000 annually, who already contribute revenue via payroll taxes, gasoline taxes, tobacco taxes, alcohol taxes, and other non-income tax forms of revenue.

And while it may not sound like a lot to charge all Americans $1 in income taxes, the Tax Policy Center notes that this "would effectively repeal refundable individual income tax credits" and could cost the poorest 20% of American families an average of more than $1,000 annually.

As the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Scott is a key member of the GOP leadership and is in charge of its effort to regain a majority in the 2022 midterms.

While many of the Republicans he's working to elect and reelect have been silent on the plan, several have endorsed all or most of it.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.