The midterm election is tomorrow and the B.S. is getting deep! Your friendly Fiercely fact checker is on the job!
Last week President Biden said "On our watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are going to get the biggest increase in their Social Security checks they’ve gotten.". Yep. This is true. HOWEVER, the reason the increase in Social Security is 8.7% is because it is based on inflation rates, so Biden and other political officials had nothing to do with this specific increase. Biden also falsely stated that his administration is responsible for the first increase in Social Security in ten years. FALSE. Since cost of living increases are tied to inflation, recipients have received increases eight of the last ten years. If you are interested in other of President Biden's misstatements, check out this CNN piece.
President Biden also said Republicans are "...coming after your Social Security and Medicare" and that if Republicans win Congress "they're going to shut down the government and refuse to pay America's bills for the first time in history unless I cut Social Security and Medicare." FYI: This is a common Democratic Party mantra going back decades, but has something changed to make it true this time? Well...it's hard to say for sure.
Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla) proposed "An 11-Point Plan to Rescue America" in which he argued for sunsetting all federal programs, including entitlements, every five years. In fact, about a dozen Republican senators have voiced support for reducing or eliminating Social Security benefits over the years. On the other hand, Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Minority Leader who may become Majority Leader in January, stated that Senate Republicans "would not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years. That will not be part of a Republican Senate majority agenda." Since 86% of Americans are concerned about government reducing entitlement benefits and 79% are concerned about privatization, major reductions in benefits would likely be political suicide for the Republican Party, and we all know that both parties' top goal is survival rather than promoting good policies.
Just remember that the term "entitlement" refers to programs to which people are "entitled". We are "entitled" to Social Security and Medicare because our dear Uncle Sam has been taking a portion of our paychecks during our working years with the promise of paying it back upon retirement. I can only imagine how Americans would react if Republicans did in fact eliminate or significantly reduce those benefits.
Numerous politicians are raising the alarm regarding surging crime, and some blame that on illegal immigration. The rhetoric is over the top, with some politicians stating that crime is at "record levels". President Trump is more vocal than anyone on this topic, and his statements are (surprise, surprise) quite often totally inaccurate. Crime did increase the last year of President Trump's term, but the truth is that crime rates today are significantly lower than even thirty years ago. Is crime a problem? Yes. But just as Democrats use Social Security to cause concern within the electorate, Republicans do so with crime. Again, voters trust Republicans more on crime and immigration issues, so of course these are the issues on which they focus.
In case you missed it, a number of interesting issues are also on tomorrow's state ballots. In two states voters will decide whether to increase minimum wage to $15 per hour (Nebraska) and $12 (Nevada). Massachusetts and California voters will decide whether to increase taxes on the wealthy (the motives behind the California initiative are questionable at best). Medicaid expansion is on the ballot in South Dakota, at least seven states will vote on measures related to voting and elections, six measures dealing with abortion are on state ballots (a record number, by the way), and five states vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana (a measure I'm sure is supported by the snack food industry).
In the end tomorrow's midterm results will likely come down to one thing: the economy. At least 90% of the voters consider economic matters important to their votes. The issue is more important to Republican than Democratic voters, and in general voters say they trust the Republican Party more on economic matters. Tomorrow's outcome will almost certainly be determined by which party's supporters bother to vote, and polls indicate Democrats are less "enthusiastic" about the election than are Republicans. Predicting human behavior (such as voting behavior) is not for the faint at heart, but I believe a Republican takeover of both houses of Congress is highly likely. I'm sure you will let me know if I'm wrong.
I'm looking forward to writing about something other than the upcoming election. My next post is tentatively entitled "We Are Killing our Children".