Republicans Just Can't Stop Sticking Dicks In 'Privatize Social Security' Light Socket
Tiny babby was not a registered voter in 2004, do not blame her. Photo: Quinn Norton, Creative Commons License 2.0

What's the deal, one might ask while snacking on airline peanuts, with Republicans who can't stop publicly saying they want to privatize Social Security and Medicare? Politico really would like to know, or at least it asks the question with an article reviewing various calls for privatization that have been floated by Republican Senate candidates running this year. Trying to turn over two of the most popular government programs to the tender mercies of the free market has always been a losing proposition, the article notes, but Republican leaders from George W. Bush to Paul Ryan just can't seem to help trying to make it happen.

The latest Republican to try pissing on the electric fence of Social Security privatization is Trumpy election denier Don Bolduc, who earlier this month won the nomination to run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan. Politico got its hands on a recording of Bolduc calling for Medicare privatization at a town hall in August.

A woman at the event who said she was a nurse had complained to Bolduc about how she thought Medicare and Medicaid were bad for both patients and healthcare providers, because bureaucracy and all that. Bolduc replied that as a matter of fact, he has long believed the best way to reform both is to get government out of the business of doing healthcare, hooray!

“The privatization is hugely important,” the retired army general told the audience in the town of Pembroke on Aug. 2. “Getting government out of it, getting government money with strings attached out of it.”

Bolduc apparently didn't go into detail on how seniors and poor people would magically get better healthcare once the programs went away, but that's seldom a problem for Republicans since they just know the efficiencies of the free market fix everything.

Big surprise: Politico received a statement from Bolduc spokesperson Jimmy Thompson explaining that heavens no, Don Bolduc would never ever dream of privatizing Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid — at least now that he actually has the Republican nomination.

“Having served 10 tours of combat in Afghanistan, General Bolduc relies on his health care from the VA,” Thompson said in an email. “He knows first-hand how important its services are to veterans, and he believes that every American who is eligible should be able to rely on the benefits they have paid into it, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”

What's more, Thompson explained, Bolduc will certainly "oppose any effort to privatize these programs,” because that's just what a hero he is, now that more people are paying attention to him and he's decided Joe Biden really is president too.

The article goes on to note that the GOP compulsion to talk about privatizing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid cooled a bit under Donald Trump, as Republicans decided they didn't care nearly as much about the deficit as they did about hating immigrants and Muslims and history teachers. But the desire to eliminate government programs remains a powerful itch for Republicans, so Bolduc certainly has Republican company this year.

There's Arizona Senate nominee Blake Masters, who talked about privatizing Social Security at a candidate forum in June:

“We need fresh and innovative thinking,” Masters said. “Maybe we should privatize Social Security. Private retirement accounts, get the government out of it.” A few months earlier, he went further, telling Republicans in Sun City the country would need to “cut the Gordian knot” on Medicare and Social Security for citizens his age and younger.

By August, of course, Masters had decided that wasn't what he meant at all, not at all, "explaining" in an interview with the Arizona Republic that he actually wanted to make Social Security stronger, yeah, that's it:

“I do not want to privatize Social Security,” he said. “I think, in context, I was talking about something very different. We can’t change the system. We can’t pull the rug out from seniors. I will never, ever support cutting Social Security. If anything, we actually should probably increase payments because they don’t go as far these days with Mark Kelly and Joe Biden’s crazy inflation.”

He didn't say exactly what that "very different" thing would be, but something something encouraging savings and investment, damn Joe Biden, damn him! Also, whatever you heard about his abortion stance, you were wrong.

Also too, Ohio Republican Senate nominee JD Vance — like Masters, a plastic model kit sloppily glued together by rightwing billionaire Peter Thiel — decided he no longer believes his 2010 demands that both Social Security and Medicare be slashed, because deficits. In July, he let HuffPost know via email that he now rejects such crazy talk, explaining, "I don’t support cuts to social security or Medicare and think privatizing social security is a bad idea," so there. The real problem today, he said, is outsourcing jobs to China and low birth rates, so we just need to fix those and Social Security will be fine.

You can also add to the list Rick Scott's genius plan to sunset all federal programs every five years, including Medicare and Social Security, and also Ron Johnson's even crazier idea to put both programs up for a vote every single year. Scott isn't running this time out; Johnson is.

Politico, as is its wont, goes on to consult some Republican political consultants who explain why calls for destroying two of the most popular social programs are really stupid in an election year. One, New Hampshire GOP politics maven Tom Rath, said that it would be "political malpractice" if Democrats fail to attack Bolduc over his privatization fantasies. Unfortunately, Politico doesn't quite get around to explaining why Republicans can't seem to break the habit of calling for privatizing Social Security and Medicare. Thank goodness we're here to do that!

It's easy. To the extent that Republicans still have any ideology at all beyond racism and Thou Shalt Own The Libs, they believe deep in their hearts that America would be better with no government at all, because it keeps superior rich people from making all the money they want, and that's not fair. Social Security and Medicare remain wildly popular, but they're government programs, so they just shouldn't be popular, and once they're gone, people will finally realize that, or at least they'll just have to deal with it, the end.

[Politico / Arizona Republic (paywalled) / HuffPo / Photo: Quinn Norton, Creative Commons License 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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