Ohio GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance has prior to now advocated for major reforms to Social Security and Medicare with a purpose to restore “fiscal sanity” to the US.
But Vance, the ”Hillbilly Elegy” writer who won the GOP nomination in May, now not supports cutting either program, he told HuffPost this week.
“I don’t support cuts to social security or Medicare and think privatizing social security is a nasty idea,” Vance told HuffPost via email, in response to questions on his past advocacy for cutting each programs.
In a 2010 blog post, Vance — then writing under the name J.D. Hamel — argued that Social Security and Medicare were amongst the largest drivers of huge federal budget deficits, but that neither Democrats nor Republicans had the political will to enact deep cuts to either federal entitlement program.
“The political obstacles intimidate greater than the sensible problems,” Vance wrote within the post on a private blog site he used while in law school at Yale. “The party of, umm, limited government — the Republican Party — can be the party of the aging white person. The party’s only solid constituency thus will depend on the Medicare and Social Security Advantages which can be the largest roadblocks to any sort of real fiscal sanity. The Democrats are similarly hopeless.”
The post offers a comparatively standard conservative view of the budgetary situation on the time: A decade ago, large budget deficits and a mounting federal debt — each of which had been exacerbated by the Great Recession — served as Republicans’ favorite weapon against President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, who had enacted an $800 billion federal stimulus package and the Reasonably priced Care Act.
After Republicans swept to the House majority in 2010’s midterm elections, the federal debt and the necessity for fiscal austerity became the dominating political issue of the time, and elements of each parties got here to see entitlement reforms as a technique to rein in federal spending. Then-Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) introduced a now-infamous budget plan that sought to overhaul Medicare and reform Social Security, a proposal Vance praised in 2011.
And while Democrats roundly blasted the plan, Obama nevertheless backed modest cuts to Social Security.
Many Democrats, including Obama, have since embraced expansions to each Medicare and Social Security. Former President Donald Trump, meanwhile, vowed to “leave Social Security the way in which it’s” during his 2016 campaign. He made no effort to vary retirement advantages as president but did cut Social Security disability advantages.
Vance blames the country’s supposed “budget problems” on the outsourcing of American jobs to China and the country’s declining birth rate, two major themes of an Ohio campaign that has leaned on trade issues and sought to strike a more “populist,” Trumpian tone.
“We have now a protracted term budget problem for 2 reasons,” he said. “First, we shipped hundreds of thousands of excellent jobs to China and other countries. Tens of millions of people that had family supporting (and tax paying) jobs then shifted onto welfare rolls. Second, our country doesn’t have enough children, meaning that we have now too few young employees supporting the broader economy.”
“We should always fix these problems, not break guarantees we’ve made to our seniors,” Vance said.
Not all Republican candidates agree, though. Blake Masters, a candidate in Arizona’s GOP Senate primary, called for the privatization of Social Security at a June forum, arguing that millennials like him wouldn’t see the advantages anyway.
“We got to chop the knot sooner or later, though, because I’ll inform you what, I’m not going to receive Social Security,” Masters said. “I’m a millennial.”
“We’d like fresh and modern pondering. Possibly we should always privatize Social Security,” he said. “Private retirement accounts, get the federal government out of it.”
Masters, like Vance, has Trump’s endorsement and the backing of tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into outside groups supporting each candidates.
Jim Lamon, a businessman running against Masters within the Arizona primary, also calls for raising the retirement age and adding private savings accounts to Social Security on his campaign website, as The American Independent reported in May.
For essentially the most part, Republicans in Congress have quieted down about “entitlement reform,” because it alienates older voters and the trustees of Social Security and Medicare say the programs will remain solvent for years. The last major push for privatization got here in 2005, when then-President George W. Bush toured the country pitching the thought. The more Bush talked about it, the less popular it became.