Politics

Republicans secretly worried that the nation is onto their plan about tax cuts and Social Security

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - FEBRUARY 01: U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (R) and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) hold a news briefing during the 2018 House & Senate Republican Member Conference February 1, 2018 at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Congressional Republicans gather at their annual retreat, hosted by the Congressional Institute, to discuss legislative agenda for the year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
How did their secret possibly get out?
Goal Thermometer

A secret internal Republican poll and memo tells Republicans that they’ve “lost the messaging battle” on tax cuts, and that people suspect they’re going to use the deficit created by the tax cuts to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The polling done at the beginning of September and just now obtained by Bloomberg finds that voters by a 2 to 1 margin, 61 percent to 30 percent, say that the law passed late last year benefits “large corporations and rich Americans” over “middle class families.” But here’s the part that’s really special from the internal memo accompanying the survey.

The RNC study says Americans worry the tax law will lead to cuts in Social Security and Medicare, concluding that “most voters believe that the GOP wants to cut back on these programs in order to provide tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.” It attributes that finding to “a fairly disciplined Democrat attack against the recent tax cuts.”

Gee, how could voters have ever gotten that idea?

It couldn’t have come from, oh, say House Speaker Paul Ryan who had pivoted to “entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” even before the tax bill passed. Or after the bill had passed and they’d moved onto the spending bill that kept government open when he said  “entitlement reform” is necessary to deal with the debt.

Or maybe it’s because Mitch McConnell is out there talking about how “disturbed” he is by the national debt and saying Congress has to “address the real drivers of the debt […] we’re talking about Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.”

How could voters possibly think that Republicans are using the tax cuts as an excuse to destroy Social Security and Medicare?

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