DOLE: Fiction Wins Out Over The Cold, Hard Truth Of Social Security’s Future

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Matt Dole Contributor
Font Size:

His claims are laughably false. The notion that he holds high office is embarrassing. Even Mitt Romney would give him a piece of his mind. I’m not talking about newly elected Congressman George Santos. I’m talking about President Joe Biden.

Let’s dispense with Santos. He’s been rightly pilloried for his tall tales and fanciful fibs. When he said he was Jewish, what he meant was that he’s Jew-ish. Really? Republican leaders denied him committee membership in Congress. The Ethics Committee is swooping in to investigate. And the voters of his New York’s district will have a chance to right their wrong when the next congressional election comes their way, just next year.

Voters aren’t entirely at fault here. The media played a role in the creation of Congressman George Santos. His election might be a consequence of the current shrinking news landscape, but it wouldn’t have taken a mob of reporters to poke holes in George Santos’ claims before the election. In Ohio, a candidate’s momentum stopped dead when one reporter wrote about his inflated military resume. Just one embellishment, not the fully fictionalized example of Santos. There was something more ominous with the media here; a laziness – or, at least, a malaise-iness.

Now let’s turn to President Biden. He wants a debt ceiling increase because he has plenty of plans to spend more of other people’s money. His answer to fighting inflation, largely caused by overspending, is – wait for it – more spending. He’s mad that Republicans in the House are demanding financial accountability in exchange for letting the nation put more money on our federal credit card. Actually, he’s mad that he has to lower himself to negotiate with Republicans at all.

He started his rhetorical bullying this year by branding the debt ceiling increase vote as a crisis. Republicans, he says, are already causing trouble in the House. If they refuse to vote to increase the debt ceiling or impose fiscal restraint measures in exchange for a vote, he claims, Republicans will submerge the country into chaos from which we can’t recover. This is a fever dream. Fiction.

The national debt is the crisis – the floor, not the ceiling. As this is being written, the national debt is ticking away north of $31.5 trillion. For the “tax the rich” crowd, the Forbes 100 list has a total estimated net worth of just $4 trillion. That’s everyone. If you just tally the United States, it’s $2 trillion. So Biden could – hypothetically, because it would be illegal – shake every last cent out of the richest U.S billionaires and we wouldn’t even have a down payment on paying off our debt.

So, a rational discussion about increasing the debt ceiling isn’t a crisis – the debt itself is. The debate, in fact, may very well be the most important thing Congress does during the next two years.

But Joe Biden didn’t stop with that alarmist rhetoric. Now he’s moved on to the Democrat’s favorite play in their playbook – deceptively invoking the safety nets. With a straight face, no less. Without raising the debt ceiling, Social Security will be at risk. Medicare. Sound the alarms. Stephen King couldn’t fictionalize horror this well.

Make no mistake, Social Security really is in crisis, but not because of the debt ceiling vote. It’s in crisis because its economic model isn’t sustainable. More old people living longer are needing more medical treatment that’s getting more costly. Do the math – you’ll gasp. But every time leaders worried about our financial future dare to acknowledge that truth, they’re accused of hating old people and wanting to eliminate Social Security. Democrats are much more interested in exploiting the crisis for political gain than solving it for the good of the people.

The public policy irony here is, of course, that without having to pay interest on the debt, we’d have plenty of money to stabilize the safety nets. But Joe Biden was doing the George Santos routine from way back and he knows: fiction sells.

President Biden’s fabrications aren’t isolated incidents. Like the Congressman from New York, Biden’s resume is peppered with falsehoods. And like Santos, the media is at least partly to blame. In Santos’ case, they lazily covered a relatively uneventful congressional race. In Biden’s case, it’s intentional complicity. President Biden is treated, at worst, like a gentle grandpa telling another whopper. But these aren’t fishing stories.

George Santos will be a footnote to history, thanks in large part to a media that missed the story now making amends. But the media’s soft treatment of Joe Biden isn’t a footnote; it’s the enablement of behavior that has led to foreign policy gaffes and economic blunders resulting in record inflation and real crises ignored while “The Joe Biden Story” is a run-up the bestseller list – for fiction. And it’s going to have terrible consequences for our seniors and everyone else.