When Congress passed a massive tax giveaway to the richest that will add at least $1 trillion to America’s debt late last year, GOP lawmakers were remarkably candid about the next step: cutting the safety net for hundreds of millions of Americans by going after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
As Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) noted recently when asked about the huge debt the tax bill creates, he said Republicans plan on “instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future” to pay for their tax cuts. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) agreed: “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” he said in December.
This unusual candor may owe something to history.
In many quarters of Washington, the connection between the GOP’s history of reckless tax cuts to the rich and desire to slash the social safety net has been an open secret for almost three decades, thanks largely to former New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D).
In the 1980s, as U.S. debt ballooned because of President Reagan’s tax cuts and defense spending increases, Moynihan maintained that piling up debt to unsustainable levels was part of a deliberate strategy by Republicans, providing them an excuse to then cut the social safety net.
Continue reading at The Hill.