If A Republican Senator Tags You In His Tweet Calling For Social Security Cuts You’re Worth Ignoring
Joe Biden has no interest in an Obama-style grand bargain to cut Social Security, but Republicans on Capitol Hill are still searching for neoliberal, ostensibly Democratic partners to force bipartisan cuts to the program. On Friday, August 18th, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) took time out of his August recess to tweet “The 2020 election was not stolen, but Social Security is going insolvent. That is what we should be talking about.” A Republican senator advocating Social Security cuts is nothing new, but in a reply to his first tweet, Cassidy attempted to start a conversation within the Beltway by tagging more than a dozen “wonks,” wannabe wonks, and opinion columnists. Among them were two purportedly nonpartisan hacks known for their influence over moderate Democrats — Maya MacGuineas and Marc Goldwein of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Those looking for an in-depth background on MacGuineas and Goldwein can read their bios on our Hackwatch website. But here’s a brief summary: the think tank they work for, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), is a longstanding neoliberal influence group. As its name implies, CRFB is a haven for budget hawks looking to be considered by the media as “independent” and “nonpartisan,” even while pushing a conservative economic agenda. Their influence machine has spent years calling for cuts to the social safety net, and in doing so has boasted an impressive array of prominent Democratic officials as board members.
Thankfully, the Democratic party seems to have largely moved on from the influence of the CRFB’s austerity peddlers — even using language about protecting Social Security from cuts in its 2022 and 2024 campaign messaging. CRFB’s isolation from Democrats isn’t limited to rhetoric though, as prominent middle road Democrats like Corey Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand have cosponsored a joint Sanders/Warren bill to expand Social Security, and Biden’s 2020 platform included a pledge to increase Social Security benefits. But the media continues to publish CRFB’s swill under the guise of independence and nonpartisanship. It should certainly raise a few eyebrows that a Republican senator felt it effective to tag the CRFB’s most prominent voices alongside detestable Republican hacks like Larry Kudlow, Jonah Goldberg, and Karl Rove. Rather than engaging with these thinkers as neutral experts, the media should treat them as the conservatives hiding behind a veneer of above-the-fray professionalism that they really are. This should especially be the case given that, earlier this year, CRFB ran cover for Republican efforts to block a clean debt ceiling bill.
While CRFB’s views may have been bipartisan during the Clinton administration, they no longer are — and the fact that their analysis is supported by only the Republican party needs to be reflected in the media’s coverage of the organization and its hacks.