A dastardly plot

Infidel753: “A dastardly plot,” Infidel753 Blog

While winning a Senate majority increasingly looks out of reach for Republicans, a House majority is distinctly possible.  If they get it, they plan to force Democrats to make concessions which would almost certainly include cuts to Social Security and Medicare — possibly by drastically raising the eligibility age, though if they really want to cut spending quickly, it’s hard to see how they could avoid actual benefit cuts.

Late in 2023, Congress will need to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a federal default which would have apocalyptic consequences.  If the Republicans have a House majority, raising the limit will require the votes of at least some of them — so they can threaten to let the train-wreck happen unless Democrats enact their agenda.  And cuts to Social Security and Medicare will almost certainly be part of that, along with cuts to programs which assist low-income people, who are already being ground down more and more in an economy massively skewed to favor the wealthy.

The deficit is a real problem, but its roots lie largely in the successive tax cuts for the rich which Republicans seem to enact whenever they have the power.  Any effort to reduce the deficit should start with repealing those tax cuts.  As for Social Security, as a comment on the linked post explains:

Social Security has nothing to do with the Federal Budget.  It is paid for entirely by the workers who are paying, while they are working, for the income they will need when they can no longer work.  A longer life expectancy does not mean you will be able to work when you are older, or even be able to find a job….. Because we are expected to live longer, we need to save more for a longer, not later, retirement.  The cost of saving more via Social Security “payroll tax” will be about 2 percent of payroll, which can be reached painlessly by raising the payroll tax about one tenth of one percent per year.

But the Republicans have made it clear that cutting the program, not saving it, is their goal, and that they’re willing to risk wrecking the economy to enforce their will.  All voters who are at or approaching retirement age need to be aware of this.

There are other reasons why Republicans winning the House would be bad.  To pass legislation, both the House and Senate need to agree, so if the Republicans win the House, nothing substantive will get done for the next two years, even if Democrats have a bigger Senate majority.  Instead, we’ll have two years in which the Senate does nothing but approve judges and the House does nothing but “investigate” Hunter Biden’s laptop and impeach president Biden on the basis of whatever the Trumpanzee lunatic fringe is most outraged about in a given week.

It’s already looking like the Republican crusade against abortion could be a game-changer for this election.  But an explicit threat to Social Security and Medicare, even if it’s just about raising the eligibility ages, could have comparable impact.  Older people vote reliably and skew conservative.  The Republicans are declaring war on one of their own biggest constituencies.