Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Joe Biden’s Hidden History on Medicare and Social Security

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In 1975, Biden Proposed Sunsetting All Federal Programs Every Four Years

  • In the summer of 1975, Sen. Biden introduced legislation to terminate “all provisions of law in effect on the effective date of this Act which authorize new budget authority for a period of more than four fiscal years.” (S. 2067, 94th Congress, introduced July 9, 1975, Congressional Record, p. 21724)
  • The sunset provisions would have applied to all federal programs, including Medicare, Social Security, and the defense budget.
  • In remarks on introducing the legislation, Sen. Biden said “it requires every program to be looked at freshly at least once every four years. The examination is not just of the increased cost of the program, but of the worthiness of the entire program.” (Congressional Record, July 9, 1975, p. 21723)
  • Biden said he introduced the sunset legislation because he lamented increases in federal spending: “It is not just the size of our budget that is staggering, but even more the rate that it is increasing….Just to illustrate the severity of the problem, it took this country 185 years to reach an annual expenditure from the federal budget of $100 billion. Just nine years later, we reached the $200 billion level, and after four more years, we have exceeded $300 billion.” (Congressional Record, July 9, 1975, p. 21723)
  • In the current fiscal year ending September 30, federal spending will be nearly $6 trillion—nearly 20 times higher than when Biden made his remarks in 1975. Federal spending has also grown as a share of the economy, rising from 20.7% of GDP in 1975 to 22.7% of GDP in the current fiscal year. (Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government Fiscal Year 2023, Historical Tables, Table 1.1 and Table 1.2)

In 1984, Biden Proposed Freezing All Federal Spending, Including Medicare and Social Security Benefits, Because “The American People Are Not Stupid”

  • In the spring of 1984, Sen. Biden, in conjunction with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-KS), proposed an amendment to budget legislation to affect federal spending in Fiscal Year 1985, which would begin the following October. (SA 3043 to H.R. 2163 of the 98th Congress, introduced May 1, 1984, Congressional Record, p. 10495)
  • The amendment proposed freezing all federal spending—including Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals—and suspending cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security, members of the military, and federal employees. The amendment itself proposed no tax increases, although the underlying bill included approximately $47 billion of revenue hikes. (Jonathan Fuerbringer, “Senators Reject Spending Freeze,” New York Times May 3, 1984, p. B15)
  • In a floor statement, Biden called the amendment necessary because otherwise “the upward march of interest rates and inflation will most likely bring down the economic house of cards that we have erected upon deficits. Such an event will impose misery for untold millions of people.” (Congressional Record, April 25, 1984, p. 9812)
  • In a joint op-ed, Biden and the other Senate sponsors of the amendment said they proposed a freeze because “federal deficits are a clear and present danger to our economic recovery” due to their impact on interest rates. (Nancy Landon Kassebaum, et al., “Freeze Everything,” Washington Post April 27, 1984, p. A23)
  • Biden later said that the American people supported freezing all federal spending—including defense spending, Medicare, and Social Security—because they “understand that in order to get something done, everybody has to be in the barrel. Everybody. They are not stupid, I say to Members of the Senate. They are not dumb. These folks understand. They know that to cut the deficit, everybody has to be in it.” (Congressional Record, October 5, 1984, p. 30520)

In October 1984, Biden Linked an Increase in the Debt Limit to a Freeze on All Federal Spending, Including Medicare and Social Security Benefits

  • In a debate on raising the debt limit at the end of the 98th Congress, Sen. Biden supported an amendment offered by Sen. Paul Tsongas (D-MA). The amendment would have raised the debt limit to $1.73 trillion, instead of the $1.824 trillion specified in the underlying bill. (SA 7072 to H.J.Res. 654 of the 98th Congress, Congressional Record, October 5, 1984, pp. 30614-15)
  • The Tsongas amendment that Biden supported also stated that “it shall not be in order in either the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider…a bill, a joint resolution, or an amendment that would, upon becoming law, authorize” a further increase in the debt limit “prior to consideration of, and a vote upon the question of agreeing to, a federal deficit reduction bill.”
  • The “federal deficit reduction bill” spelled out in the Tsongas amendment—which, had the amendment passed, Congress would have had to vote on before increasing the debt limit again—prescribed a freeze on federal spending virtually equal to that proposed by Sens. Biden, Grassley, and Kassebaum earlier that spring. However, the spending freeze would have applied to Fiscal Year 1986, as Fiscal Year 1985 had already begun.
  • In floor remarks, Biden said he supported the Tsongas amendment precisely because it would prevent further increases in the debt limit absent action on a federal budget freeze—one that included Medicare and Social Security spending: “It will provide the incentive to act next spring. It will do so because it says we cannot increase the debt limit again until we have acted on a budget freeze.” (Congressional Record, October 5, 1984, p. 30519)
  • Biden also supported using the debt ceiling as a mechanism to force action to lower federal spending and debt, saying that the Tsongas amendment “is designed…to immediately focus our attention next year…at the most critical time attention should be focused on taking on the tough measures. And that is when you have to raise the debt ceiling again. My mother says there is nothing like looking over the precipice to focus one’s attention.” (Congressional Record, October 5, 1984, p. 30520)
  • After the Tsongas amendment was withdrawn, Sen. Biden opposed the underlying debt limit increase. He voted against the bill on October 11, and when the measure did not pass the first time, voted against the bill again the following day. (Senate Roll Call Vote 290 of 1984, Congressional Record, October 11, 1984, p. 32147; Senate Roll Call Vote 292 of 1984, Congressional Record, October 12, 1984, p. 32480)
  • In floor remarks, Biden said that “I cannot agree to vote for a full increase in the debt without any assurance that steps will be taken early next year to reduce the alarming increase in the deficits and the debt.” (Congressional Record, October 11, 1984, p. 32145)

In 1985, Biden Suggested Freezing All Federal Spending for Two Years

  • In an October 1985 speech explaining his support for the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction package, Biden said that “if the President again submits an outrageous budget, Congress should give serious consideration to an immediate across-the-board freeze for the next two years in federal spending and a two-year suspension of tax indexing.” (Congressional Record, October 10, 1985, p. 27255)
  • In the same speech, Biden said that “now the politics are changing both with the request for $2 trillion in debt authority and with people outside Washington beginning to appreciate the relationship between deficits and jobs in the trade sensitive sectors of our economy. Their patience is ending and the time for action has arrived.” (Congressional Record, October 10, 1985, p. 27254)
  • Two weeks before Biden gave those remarks, gross federal debt stood at $1.8 trillion, or 42.6% of GDP. By the end of this fiscal year, the White House estimates federal debt will rise to $32.6 trillion, or 127.5% of the size of the American economy. (Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government Fiscal Year 2023, Historical Tables, Table 7.1)

Biden Cheated on His Medicare Taxes to Fund a Luxury Lifestyle

  • Upon leaving the Vice Presidency in January 2017, Biden and his wife Jill set up two S-corporations, the CelticCapri Corporation (Joe Biden) and the Giacoppa Corporation (Jill Biden), through which to funnel their book and speech revenue. Claiming most of their income as corporate profits, rather than as taxable wages, allowed the Bidens to avoid paying 3.8% in payroll tax—2.9% imposed by Medicare, and the 0.9% levy imposed by Obamacare—on all monies they classified as corporate profits. (Richard Rubin, “Biden Used Tax-Code Loophole Obama Tried to Plug,” The Wall Street Journal July 10, 2019)
  • In 2021, President Biden’s Treasury Department called for ending the S-corporation “loophole” that Biden exploited on his tax returns—and still exploits to this day. In calling for its abolition, Treasury indicated that this provision of tax law “provides tax planning opportunities for business owners, particularly those with high incomes, to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.” (Treasury Department, General Explanations of the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2022 Revenue Proposals, p. 66)
  • Multiple tax experts have stated that the salary Joe Biden paid himself in 2017 and 2018 violated IRS guidelines on “reasonable compensation,” designed to prevent business owners from using S-corporations to avoid payroll taxes. A Senior Fellow at the liberal Tax Policy Center called Biden’s actions “pretty aggressive,” and said he thought Biden created the S-corporations solely to avoid Medicare taxes. Another expert said Biden should have paid himself a salary at least ten times higher than he did—meaning that Biden avoided tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, in Medicare taxes. (Rubin, “Biden Used Tax-Code Loophole;” Glenn Kessler, “Biden’s ‘Aggressive’ Use of a Tax Loophole He’s Trying to Shut Down,” The Washington Post December 1, 2021)
  • In 2017, as they set up their S-corporations to avoid Medicare taxes, the Bidens spent over $2.7 million to purchase a beach house in Rehoboth, Delaware. (Ryan Mavity, “Biden Purchases Home in Rehoboth,” Cape Gazette June 8, 2017)
  • At the same time the Bidens were avoiding Medicare taxes, they were living in this 12,000 square foot home outside Washington, DC: