Last week I pointed out that an ad from the Senate Majority PAC, the talking points for which were disseminated by the Heitkamp campaign in an end run around FEC laws prohibiting that sort of coordination, claimed that Congressman Kevin Cramer was promoting cuts to Social Security and Medicare as a way to fix budget deficits after the passage of the Trump tax cuts.
The basis for this claim was interviews Cramer gave on my radio show as well as Chris Berg’s television show on Valley News Live. The problem is, if you listen to those segments, Cramer didn’t actually call for any cuts to those programs.
Now the folks at Politifact have reviewed the ad, and they call the claims “half true.” Which is unfortunate, but then again this is the organization that tried to spin Heitkamp high-fiving Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer after voting down a late term abortion ban as “a very gradual meeting of awkwardly waving hands.”
So I think we need to grade on a scale for these folks. It’s not easy for them to get over the hump of their inherent left wing bias.
Anyway, here’s there basis for saying the Heitkamp/Senate Majority PAC ad is “half true.”
The Senate Majority PAC said, “And now, Cramer says, they’ll have to cut Social Security and Medicare to pay for (tax cuts).”
Cramer said reform was necessary in order to make Medicare and Social Security solvent. Recently, he broadly suggested raising the eligibility age by “a month or two” and increasing means testing. Experts said they could be interpreted as calls for cuts.
But they don’t affect retirees or people nearing retirement, and were not accompanied by any concrete policy proposals. Also, the Democrats linked his position to the tax bill, but he has held that position for years.
What Cramer is talking about for Social Security and Medicare are reforms which wouldn’t apply to current beneficiaries. Nobody currently on those programs would see a cut. They could reduce what people down the road get out of those programs, but Cramer has been very clear that we have to honor the deal made to people who are already on the programs.
That’s a position I happen to agree with, and it’s not at all what the ad was asking us to conclude.
Saying that’s “half true” is misleading. The ad wasn’t accurate at all.