Saturday, May 25, 2024

Biden’s Disinfo about Social Security, Medicare Part of Cynical Ploy to Reclaim Florida

'All of you have been paying into the system every single paycheck you’ve had since you started working...'

(Headline USA) With an eye toward the 2024 campaign, President Joe Biden on Thursday ventured to Florida, a state defined by its growing retiree population and status as the unofficial headquarters of the modern-day Republican Party.

The visit comes just days after Biden doubled down in his State of the Union address with disinformation claiming that Republican efforts to rein in uncontrolled federal spending—the primary cause of inflation—were, in fact, a plan to cut Social Security and Medicare.

The bogus claims drew the biggest jeers of the night from Republicans, who swiftly denounced and rebutted them as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., continues to negotiate yet another raise of the federal debt ceiling.

Still, the 80-year-old president attempted to seize on the impromptu moment in his address Tuesday.

“Let’s stand up for seniors,” Biden said as most of those in the chamber took to their feet to applaud, knowing the dangers of being on the wrong side of an aging electorate that values these programs.

It is a perennial concern that has proved a stumbling block in past campaigns, from former Vice President Al Gore’s pledge to put the funds into a literal “lockbox” to President Barack Obama’s claims that Mitt Romney sought to “throw granny off the cliff.”

But Biden’s visit to the Sunshine State underscores the Left’s true intention: to cynically use many seniors’ social-safety net in much same the way as they exploited Jan. 6 during the 2022 campaign to claim their political rivals were a threat to democracy.

The president sees a chance to use the scare tactic to drive a wedge between GOP lawmakers and their base of older voters while trying to lay the groundwork for his expected re-election campaign announcement this spring.

As with the prior Jan. 6 posturing, Biden’s brazen lies about Social Security and Medicare deflect from the actual actions taken by Democrats in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act to rob from the underfunded lockbox that all wage-earning Americans must pay into with the hope of reaping some distant reward.

The Democrat-driven reconciliation bill gave powerful pharmaceutical companies the ability to negotiate rates with Medicare, potentially transferring some $300 million back to lobbying special interests for companies like Pfizer, which recently was revealed to be creating viruses that it can use its drugs to cure.

Eager to shift focus away from a damaging investigation into his mishandling of classified documents, as well as probes in the GOP-led House and in his own Justice Department concerning the illegal activities of his son Hunter, Biden appears to have gotten an early jump on the campaign trail.

After delivering his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Biden on Wednesday went to Wisconsin, another political battleground, where he said he would block any attempts to slash Social Security and Medicare benefits.

“All of you have been paying into the system every single paycheck you’ve had since you started working,” Biden said. “These benefits belong to you, the American worker. You earned it. And I will not allow anyone to cut them. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever, period.”

Democrats’ claim rests on the mischaracterizaton of a proposal last year by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., to require that the programs be reauthorized every five years. Most Republicans have firmly and consistently stated that cuts to Social Security and Medicare were off the table.

“They lie about it,” Scott said in a written statement about how the administration has described his plan.

It’s a delicate moment for Social Security and Medicare, programs that economists say will drive the national debt to unprecedented highs over the next few decades.

The Social Security trust fund will be unable to pay full benefits starting in 2035, prompting some Republican lawmakers to say changes will have to be made to sustain payments.

But any proposed changes can come across as kryptonite to voters, who want their benefits preserved rather than cut. That’s especially true in Republican-held Florida, where Census figures show that nearly a third of adults are older than 62.

Despite its longtime reputation as the nation’s premier swing state, Florida trended toward the GOP in recent years before lurching sharply to the right last fall.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won reelection by a staggering 19 percentage points in November, even carrying the longtime Democratic stronghold of Miami–Dade County.

By this summer, Florida is expected to be the staging ground for at least two top-tier GOP presidential campaigns. Former President Donald Trump launched his 2024 bid nearly three months ago from his Palm Beach estate, and DeSantis is likely to join him in the coming months. Scott, believed to be the wealthiest member of the Senate, also has presidential aspirations.

Republicans have flocked to the state in recent years as well, describing it as “the free state of Florida” in a nod to DeSantis’s fierce resistance to pandemic-related mandates and woke policies on race and gender.

At a news conference Wednesday, DeSantis talked up Florida’s economy and leaned into cultural divisions while flanked by a row of gas stoves, which leftist bureaucrats have sought to ban in recent weeks.

“They are trying to take away your gas stove,” DeSantis said. “It shows they are coming for any little thing in your life.”

Although evidence—including existing bans in several deep blue cities—validates the concern, Democrats have steadfastly denied it.

“The president does not support banning gas stoves,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted last month.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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