DeSantis, Big Social Security Cutter
I just wanted to drop this in here because it’s an important set of facts that I suspect will be a big issue both in the coming GOP primary and — if DeSantis gets the GOP nomination — during the 2024 general election.
A week ago I noted that, contrary to press claims that only a few GOP outliers have called for cutting or phasing out Social Security, the great majority of House Republicans had already endorsed doing so during this fiscal year. There’s a lot of press special pleading surrounding proposals for Social Security cuts: It’s only Rick Scott or Ron Johnson or Mike Lee. In fact, such proposals are GOP orthodoxy and have been for decades. The Republican Study Committee, which is a caucus including about three-quarters of House Republicans, endorsed a proposed budget for this fiscal year calling for Social Security privatization, benefit cuts (through changed COLA formulas), raising the retirement age to 70 and more.
As governor, Ron DeSantis does not make policy on Social Security. But he did get to vote on it when he was in the House of Representatives. He voted for just such a menu of cuts at the time. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 DeSantis voted for the more right-leaning Republican budget resolutions that called for the same cuts.
Indeed, he also supported Paul Ryan’s plan to phase out Medicare in favor of a so-called “premium support” plan, premiums to pay for private health care insurance. If he had had his way that new model already would have gone into effect for new beneficiaries starting in 2019.
DeSantis has also suggested he supports phasing out Social Security with private accounts, as President Bush proposed and failed with back in 2004–05.
Trump Era Republicans still support big Social Security cuts. But they’ve generally not focused on it, preferring Trump’s mix of grievance and culture war politics. But DeSantis had a brief pre-Trump time in Congress in which Republicans still pushed hard for various cuts to Social Security and Medicare and even full phase out of one or both. DeSantis is on the record supporting all of it.