Politico’s Natalie Allison reports that some Republicans keep floating the idea of privatizing Social Security and Medicare, despite the political perils involved in raising the idea — and despite the fact that every time the idea is floated, it sinks like a lead balloon.
“Privatizing government entitlement programs has long been a policy goal for some segments of the Republican Party who worry about the federal deficit and the growing share of the federal budget those programs take up,” Allison writes. “But [the programs] are hugely popular with voters, who plan their retirements around those benefits. And in recent years, particularly during the administration of former President Donald Trump, fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks have seen their issues relegated to the back burner while the party focused its messaging on hot-button social issues like immigration, crime and abortion.”
The privatization idea keeps resurfacing, though.
The latest example, Allison writes, is Don Bolduc, the Republican Senate nominee in New Hampshire, who reportedly called for privatizing Medicare during a campaign town hall in August before a spokesperson walked back the comments, telling Politico that the candidate now opposes privatizing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Blake Masters, the Republican Senate candidate in Arizona, raised the idea of privatizing Social Security at a June forum. He also walked back the comments.
And Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin recently suggested that funding for Social Security and Medicare should be discretionary, not mandatory, meaning that lawmakers would have to approve the spending each year.
The bottom line: Democrats routinely charge that Republicans want to slash Social Security and Medicare, and plenty of GOP candidates seem bent on proving them right.