Tag: social security
Rep. Mike Johnson

'Work Till You Drop Dead': GOP Budget Torches Social Security -- And IVF

The Republican Study Committee has released its proposed 2025 budget which would take an ax to major elements of the social safety net, healthcare system, and civil rights, while affecting nearly every American, either now or in the future.

Calling it “Fiscal Sanity to Save America,” the budget proposal from the far-right MAGA-affiliated group of about 170 House Republicans would effectively create a national abortion ban and ban on in-vitro fertilization procedures (IVF) by creating legal protections for human embryos starting at “the moment of fertilization.” It mentions the word “abortion” 77 times.

House Speaker Mike Johnson is a member and former chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

“The House GOP Study Committee (largest House GOP bloc) released a budget endorsing the Life at Conception Act, which would provide 14th amendment legal protections at every stage of life,” explained Joseph Zeballos-Roig, Semafor’s domestic policy and politics reporter. “Amounts to near-total ban on abortions with no IVF exceptions.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) blasted the Republican Study Committee’s budget.

“Wow today a group comprising 80% of republicans in Congress explicitly endorsed a far-right bill that would impose a national abortion ban and outlaw birth control and in vitro fertilization IVF,” he wrote on X.

“Just now 80% of republicans in Congress called for raising the retirement age and tying social security to life expectancy. Republicans want you to work until you drop dead,” he added minutes later.

“The new budget also calls for converting Medicare to a ‘premium support model,’ echoing a proposal that Republican former Speaker Paul Ryan had rallied support for,” NBC News reports. “Under the new RSC plan, traditional Medicare would compete with private plans and beneficiaries would be given subsidies to shop for the policies of their choice. The size of the subsidies could be pegged to the ‘average premium’ or ‘second lowest price’ in a particular market, the budget says.”

“The plan became a flashpoint in the 2012 election, when Ryan was GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate, and President Barack Obama charged that it would ‘end Medicare as we know it.’ Ryan defended it as a way to put Medicare on better financial footing, and most of his party stood by him.”

Award-winning journalist Laurie Garrett observes the Republican Study Committee’s budget “cuts $1.5 trillion from Social Security,” “raises Medicare costs & cuts caps on pharma fees,” “cuts Medicaid, ACA/Obamacare & the Children’s Health Insurance Prog by $4.5 trillion over 10 years,” “creates $5.5 trillion in tax cuts for the rich and corporations,” “eliminates all clean energy tax incentives,” and “raises Social Security Retirement age to 69.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) wrote: “Social Security is NOT an entitlement. Americans pay into the program with each and every paycheck. Raising the Social Security retirement age is yet another way the extremists in the GOP are trying to take away your hard-earned money.”

The House Democratic Whip, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) summed it up this way:

“The MAGA GOP’s three-point plan:

– Raise the retirement age.
– Cut Social Security.
– Line the pockets of billionaires.

Democrats are going to stop them.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Poll Shows Even Republicans Don't Trust GOP To Protect Social Security

Poll Shows Even Republicans Don't Trust GOP To Protect Social Security

A new survey from Navigator Research doesn’t just show how strongly voters feel about protecting Social Security and Medicare, but it also shows how much voters don’t trust Republican lawmakers to do it. And that’s including a solid majority — 61 percent —of Republicans.

The survey finds that 75 percent of registered voters are either somewhat or very concerned that congressional Republicans “passed a tax plan that gave record-breaking tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations, but would result in cuts to programs that people count on like Social Security and Medicare.” Supporting tax breaks for the wealthy at the cost of Social Security and Medicare are the most concerning positions of Republicans in Congress on the issue of taxes.

Voters have good reason not to trust the GOP. Right now, House Republicans are plotting yet another fiscal commission that could fast track Social Security and Medicare cuts, in the name of deficit reduction, and they want to include that commission in the 2024 funding package. We’ve seen this ploy from Republicans before, with the Bowles-Simpson commission in 2010 and a congressional “super committee” in 2011. These committees are how Republicans have tried to cut Social Security and Medicare without dirtying their own hands. In this ploy, a committee would be responsible for coming up with the plan, and then Congress would have to pass it in order to save the country from the deficit.

This time around, however, the majority of Democrats aren’t going to play the deficit-peacock game, and they’re calling this plan what it is: “They should probably call this commission the Commission to Slash Benefits,” Rep. John Larson of Connecticut said at a recent press conference. “It’s tantamount to passing a death panel, because that will be the impact on so many Americans.”

Social Security doesn’t have to be cut to be saved. Democrats have legislation to shore up the Social Security trust fund by raising payroll taxes on those making more than $400,000 a year. The cutoff for payroll taxes this year is $168,600. Earnings beyond that aren’t subject to the payroll taxes that fund Social Security's Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program.

This new commission is “undemocratic” Larson said, because it would all be in the hands of the committee, leaving lawmakers out of the process—just as Republicans want it. “We need hearings out in the open on specific proposals so the public can see what’s going on,” he said.

Judging by the Navigator survey results, the public knows exactly what Republicans have planned, and they don’t like it.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

House Republicans Mount A New Sneak Attack On Social Security

House Republicans Mount A New Sneak Attack On Social Security

Republicans just cannot give up on their dream of ending Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Nor can they give up on the idea that they’ll be shielded from the voters’ blowback of cutting those programs if they get someone else to tell them to do it. That’s what they tried back in 2010 with the Bowles-Simpson fiscal committee, dubbed the “catfood commission” by the left, and again with the failed “super committee” in 2011.

The House Budget Committee was back at it this week, approving yet another fiscal commission they want to see included in the final appropriations package they should be voting on in March, having kicked that can down the road again with the short-term funding bill they passed this week. They want another commission that could fast-track cuts to social insurance programs, blocking efforts by Democrats to add protections for those programs in the bill.

The House GOP has been harping on this since they regained the majority in 2022. They tried to include a fiscal commission in their failed attempt to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government back in September. It even featured highly in the fight to find a new speaker after the Freedom Caucus ousted Kevin McCarthy last fall.

Cutting the programs took center stage when GOP Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma nominated Jim Jordan for the job. Jordan showed “courage,” Cole said, in fighting “to get at the real drivers of debt, and we all know what they are. We all know it's Social Security, we all know it's Medicare, we all know it's Medicaid.”

We all know that cutting these programs has been at the top of Republicans’ wish list since the programs were created decades ago. It’s never going to change. But it is providing yet another powerful opportunity for President Joe Biden to shine.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Joe Biden

Why Biden's Age Might Not Be A Problem After All

Confession: For the past couple of years, I fell into the "Biden shouldn't run again" camp. Too old. Better not to ask Americans to reelect a man who will be 82 in November of 2024 and ... you know the rest. Nikki Haley summed it up tactlessly in April: "The idea that he would make it until 86 years old is not something that I think is likely."

But I've thought better of it. Yes, Biden is the oldest man ever elected president and bids fair to break his own record, but that's not entirely a bad thing.

We're all familiar with the usual narrative. Americans are awfully dubious about Biden's fitness. Only 32 percent in a recent poll said he has the "mental sharpness to serve effectively as president," and a mere 33 percent said he had the physical health to serve out another term. By contrast, 54 percent believe Trump, 77, has the mental fitness to serve, and 64 percent believe he has the physical fitness to serve. (I know. I know.)

So Biden has some work to do to prove that he's not senile or decrepit. This has been a favorite GOP talking point since 2020, yet Biden has not been able to debunk it despite owning the bully pulpit, so something has to change there. On the other hand, to the degree that people are simply concerned about age per se, there are many reasons to rest easy.

Nikki Haley is wrong. If you go to the Social Security longevity calculator and punch in Biden's sex and date of birth, you find that he can expect to live until age 89.1. That would carry him through a second term and then some, but the reality is even better than that. The Social Security number is just an average for all 80-year-old American men and doesn't take account of other reasons to expect Biden to age very well. He has advanced levels of education and wealth and lives in a safe neighborhood. He is white (alas, race does matter in longevity), married, and has a circle of good friends. He attends church. He doesn't drink or smoke and exercises five days a week. Other than a weakness for ice cream (which he clearly eats only in moderation), his diet seems good and his weight is in the healthy range. His father lived until 86 and his mother until 92.

There's one more thing: Biden is president of the United States, and it seems that people who achieve this office have a tendency to outlive others in their cohorts.

So worries that Biden is going to die before 2028 are overblown. Obviously, you can't rule it out — age is still the greatest risk factor for death — but it's far more likely that he will serve out his term. And his age carries some benefits.

As The Economist notes, older people are happier than younger people. Though it may seem counterintuitive to our youth-obsessed culture, it seems to be the case that happiness is U-shaped. People start out their adult lives pretty happy, then experience a drop in middle age and get progressively happier in their later years. This pattern holds true across nations and cultures.

Though many Republican primary voters probably hate the idea of a happy president, the rest of us can see the benefits. Happy people are less likely than others to be spiteful, petty, distracted, self-absorbed, or erratic. If you're thinking of a certain mango-hued counterexample, look, he has never been a normal human and defies all categories. For most people, research confirms, anger declines throughout life.

Biden, by contrast, does seem to have mellowed with age. I can recall a younger Biden who got himself into multiple embarrassing gaffes because he was prickly, sensitive about his dignity, and quick to anger. The older Biden is more comfortable in his skin.

It's no good sighing over the fact that a 70-year-old Biden would be so much better than this Biden. Take it from someone who is 66: Accept life as it is. If Biden had bowed out of the 2024 race, we can all fantasize about the ideal candidates who could have taken his place — Gretchen Whitmer, Josh Shapiro or Amy Klobuchar — but what are the chances the Democratic Party would deny the nomination to the sitting vice president? And who thinks Kamala Harris would be a stronger general election candidate than Biden?

Aging is a challenge. I constantly buy broccoli forgetting that I had some in the back of the refrigerator. I can't make out what people are saying when there's a lot of background noise. But I don't fret about small slights, rage at drivers who cut me off in traffic, or nurse grudges. I take more joy in nature and the simple pleasures.

Joe Biden is better at 80 than he was at 50. He is very likely to serve another term just fine. And there is not a particle of doubt that in a Biden/Trump rematch, the fate of the republic rests on the old(er) guy winning.

Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the Beg to Differ podcast. Her new book, Hard Right: The GOP's Drift Toward Extremism, is available now.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.