(and probably even longer)
In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson (D-USA) signed the Social Security Act of 1965. This act expanded Social Security and created Medicare and Medicaid.
Since that day, just about every Democrat candidate running for national office has warned that his/her Republican opponent “wants to take away your Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid”. This year is no different.
Democrats say that every election, despite 45 years of evidence to the contrary because they know that it motivates people to vote. In a down year for Democrats, when they have nothing else to run on, you knew that they would once again bring out this canard. And several of them have.
But Vice President Joe Biden (D-USA) has sunk to a new low. On Monday he tried to convince voters that Republicans would like to challenge Social Security in court. He mentioned that since several state AG’s have taken ObamaCare to court, that Social Security might be next.
There are three significant problems with that argument. I’m going to look at the first two in brief, and then spend a bit more time with the third. The first two?
- No Republican has yet suggested such a thing (of course, that hasn’t stopped Democrats from scaring voters for the last 45 years, so that’s nothing new)
- The AG’s argument against ObamaCare would not apply to Social Security. The AG’s are arguing against the individual mandate, the first in history congressional requirement to buy something (in this case insurance) in order to live in the United States. Biden claims that Social Security has a mandate, but it doesn’t. It’s a tax. Having your money taken away from you by the government is quite a different thing than the government telling you that you have to buy something and what you have to buy.
But the third problem for Biden is the most serious in my mind. Let’s say the first two problems didn’t exist. In fact, let’s say that Republicans are in fact likely to challenge Social Security in court (they aren’t—I can’t repeat that too often).
If so, what would Biden’s scare tactic represent? The only reason to fear the Republicans taking Social Security to court is to fear that they might win. In effect, what Biden is saying is “we have to stop the Republicans from doing this because Social Security just might be unlawful.” In other words, Biden’s ok with keeping something that’s potentially unlawful on the books as long as that helps Democrats and hurts Republicans.
Now, I don’t think you can make a court case against Social Security. And I don’t think that Republicans are going to try to take it away by that means or any other. But I do think that Democrats tactics on this are shameless and irresponsible. Get ready, though. In the 2012 campaign it’s going to get even worse and nastier: “Those evil Republicans don’t just want to take away your Social Security, now they’re going after your healthcare!”