Democrats and the corporate media have often accused former President Donald Trump of using a propaganda strategy called the “Big Lie” to convince Americans that the 2020 election was stolen. They remind us that Adolf Hitler coined the term in Mein Kampf and that his minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, perfected the technique. Essentially, it involves relentlessly repeating a colossal lie until the public eventually comes to believe it. It is little wonder that the Democrats and the Fourth Estate are so familiar with this strategy — they employ it themselves every election cycle.
Their Big Lie of choice is the perennial claim that the Republicans are plotting to gut Social Security and Medicare. President Joe Biden repeated that yarn during last week’s State of the Union address: “Republicans say if we don’t cut Social Security and Medicare, they’ll let America default on its debt for the first time in our history.” After being loudly booed for that whopper, he went on to say, “If anyone tries to cut Social Security … and if anyone tries to cut Medicare, I’ll stop them.” This is an ironic assertion coming from a man who, as a U.S. senator, once bragged about his own attempts to cut both programs:
When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well, I meant Medicare and Medicaid. I meant veterans benefits. I meant every single solitary thing in the government. And I not only tried it once; I tried it twice. I tried it a third time, and I tried it a fourth time.
Utterly unabashed by his own hypocrisy, Biden flew to Florida two days after delivering his surreal SOTU speech and told a crowd at the University of Tampa that their GOP senator, Rick Scott, has a plan to sunset Social Security and Medicare. He then admitted that this claim was “so outrageous that you might not even believe it.” That would indeed be a sensible response because Scott’s American Rescue Plan doesn’t mention either program. This didn’t deter Biden from elaborating: “Look, I know that a lot of Republicans, their dream is to cut Social Security and Medicare.” He then solemnly pledged to fight these fiends.
Take a moment to consider just how weird this whole performance really was: The president of the United States, a man who once boasted about his many attempts to cut Social Security and Medicare (plus Medicaid), told a group of Americans that he would prevent those programs from being slashed by Republicans who have no plans to cut them. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has explicitly stated, “Cuts to Social Security and Medicare, they are off the table.” In fact, he reiterated that pledge on Fox & Friends, during a discussion of Biden’s ludicrous SOTU address and the boisterous Republican reaction to his transparent lies:
The president was trying to goad the members and the members are passionate about it. But the one thing the president was saying is something that he knew was not true. I just spent an hour with him. I’ve said it many times before. Social Security and Medicare are off the table.… He’s trying to play politics with the debt ceiling by not negotiating, by lying about our position.
Inevitably, the corporate “news” media has ignored Biden’s long history of calling for Social Security and Medicare cuts while warning the public to be very skeptical of GOP pledges to leave the programs intact. On Friday, the Washington Post ran an op-ed titled, “Sorry, Republicans, no one should trust your word on Social Security.” Its author, Paul Waldman, recites the usual talking points about Scott’s dark designs and the foiled plots of former House Speaker Paul Ryan. He even includes a non sequitur about Republican attempts to repeal Obamacare during Trump’s tenure in the White House.
This was an obvious attempt to implicate Trump in the alleged plot to cut entitlements, despite his opposition to meddling with Social Security and Medicare. Trump released a video in January urging Republicans not to cut the programs: “Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security.… The seniors are being absolutely destroyed in the last two years.” Meanwhile, the corporate media is also attempting to implicate Trump’s main rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. CNN dug up various 2012 quotes from then-congressional candidate Ron DeSantis:
A CNN KFile review of comments from DeSantis’ 2012 congressional campaign found he repeatedly said he supported plans to replace Medicare with a system in which the government paid for partial costs of private plans or a traditional Medicare plan. In one interview with a local newspaper, DeSantis said he supported “the same thing” for Social Security.
The authors of this CNN article, Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck, somehow neglected to mention one of the most important features of DeSantis’ position on restructuring these programs — it would not apply to current retirees or anyone about to retire. As he says in this interview with the St. Augustine Record: “I would not change Social Security and Medicare for people on the programs or near retirement or 55 and over.” He goes on to say that the reforms he supported would apply primarily to people of his own generation (he was 34 at that time) and that the goal was to keep the programs solvent over the long term.
That inconvenient fact, however, doesn’t square with the prevarications peddled by Biden, his fellow Democrats, and the corporate media. These people couldn’t care less about reforming the programs. For them, Social Security and Medicare are nothing more than weapons to use against Republicans. They know that the Big Lie about a secret GOP plot to gut these programs will scare millions of elderly Americans into voting for Democrats — despite their stunning incompetence and increasingly authoritarian policies. And Biden is the perfect messenger — a pathological liar with no scruples and even less shame.
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