Democrats must reject austerity and keep Biden’s promises to seniors

[Alex Lawson | The Hill] Odds are you spent the week watching election workers count ballots and network news anchors gesture frantically at maps. But Republicans like former Ohio Gov. John Kasich spent it plotting against your retirement.

How else do you explain Kasich’s immediate reaction on Saturday afternoon, moments after the major news outlets finally called it for Joe Biden? Right away, Kasich told CNN that the election “is an opportunity for Biden to talk about the center-right and center-left of this country and what can be achieved, because we have enormous problems with debt, Social Security, [and] Medicare.”

This is callous, opportunistic dishonesty. Even Ronald Reagan understood that Social Security doesn’t add a single penny to the deficit. And voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly oppose Social Security cuts. More Americans believe in Bigfoot than support cutting Social Security! The only people clamoring for cuts are Kasich, his fellow Republican politicians, and their billionaire donors.

Kasich’s comments are the latest attack in a decades-long war on our earned benefits. Conservatives have spent years bamboozling the country about the finances of Social Security and Medicare. And in the past, they’ve even gotten some Democrats to abandon the party’s proud legacy of protecting and expanding these programs.

When Democrats acceded to the right’s demand for austerity in the wake of the Great Recession, the consequences were devastating. We got a stimulus too small to make Americans whole and get the economy back into gear. We got “sequestration” that both undermined public services and gave workaday voters another obtuse, jargon-heavy reason to distrust politicians.

The austerity obsession accelerated a decades-long GOP project to muddy the waters for voters. Tens of millions of Americans lost track of which party was committed to protecting the benefits they’ve earned, and which one is desperate to destroy them.

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