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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems Link GOP’s Proposed Cuts in Social Security, Medicare to Their Tax Give-aways to Wealthy

At nbcnews.com Heidi Przybyla reports on what could be the largest transfer of wealth from working people to the rich in history and the messaging strategies Democrats are deploying to challenge it in the midterm camapigns:

Democrats on the congressional Joint Economic Committee issued the study, based on calculations by the nonprofit Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, late last week. It shows that the estimated $2 trillion cost of the Bush and Trump-era tax cuts through 2025 is the same amount Republicans have proposed cutting from Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Obamacare.

“It is a dollar-for-dollar transfer of benefits to those who need help the least paid for by those who need help the most,” said Phil Schiliro, a Democrat who’s served in several government positions including as President Barack Obama’s legislative director.

At The St. Louis American, Charles Jaco zeros in on the GOP’s game:

These are not unintended consequences. By slashing taxes for the rich and corporations, Republican lawmakers are maneuvering the United States into a position where deep cuts in Social Security and Medicare will be necessary within six years to keep the government from going bankrupt. That’s the GOP long game. Cutting government revenue to the point where social programs will have to be reduced or eliminated is the entire point.

Przybyla adds that the report, “Families & Seniors Foot the Bill for GOP Tax Cuts,” also “concludes that the average beneficiary from social safety net programs would stand to lose $1,500 a year under proposed cuts.” Further,

It underscores a message that Democratic congressional candidates, like Danny O’Connor in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District that voted overwhelmingly for Trump, have been trying to make in television advertising, stump speeches, press releases and polling memos.

Of all the issues polled by NBC News in September, entitlement cuts are uniquely unpopular, with 82 percent of Americans opposing cutting Social Security and Medicare to pay for the tax cuts…Senate Democratic leadership is now urging all vulnerable Democrats to seize on the link between the tax cuts and entitlements.

Katrina vanden Heuval, editor of The Nation and Washington Post columnist, notes further,

A Morning Consult-Politico poll taken Oct. 11-14 reports that among voters who prioritize senior issues such as Social Security and Medicare, Democrats enjoy a 19-point advantage (52-33) over Republicans…Seniors have been the most conservative voting cohort, while having the highest turnout. Republicans won the senior vote convincingly in the 2010 and 2014 midterms. Trump won 53 percent of the senior vote in 2016. However, notes vanden Heuval, “If these concerns dent the Republican margin among seniors, a blue wave would be virtually assured.”

The Boston Globe’s Michael A. Cohen adds,

According to a report last week from Bloomberg News, an internal Republican National Committee poll shows that the GOP’s top legislative accomplishment has become an albatross around the neck of the party. By a margin of 61 percent to 30 percent, those polled view the tax cut as benefiting “large corporations and rich Americans” over “middle class families.” A majority of voters fear that the measure will lead to cuts in Social Security and Medicare to reduce the deficit, something that Republicans have already hinted at.

Przybyla writes that “Democrats are seizing on the issue in affluent areas like the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., as well as working-class Trump strongholds in the north (Maine’s 2nd Congressional District); the south (Arkansas’s 2nd District) as well as the industrial Midwest…In central Ohio’s 12th District, which voted for Trump by 11 points, [Democratic candidate Danny] O’Connor is running an ad attacking incumbent Republican Troy Balderson for protecting “big corporations” by backing “their huge tax giveaway.”

“At rallies on Saturday and Monday, both Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden and pressed the message,” reports Przybyla. “You guys paid for this,” Biden said. “But what’s happening now, not a joke. Mark my words, if we don’t win back the House and Senate, they’re going to drastically cut Social Security.”

Przybyla concludes: “It’s a message that proved potent in 2006, the last Democratic wave election, after then-President George W. Bush formed a commission to study privatizing Social Security…It also marks a shift in messaging for a party that recognizes simply decrying “tax cuts for the rich” is a losing strategy without explaining its impact on the federal budget and individual households.”

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