One of the more bizarre exchanges late in yesterday's debate was between Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie on Social Security and Medicare.
The question posed to both of them by Chris Wallace:
Governor Christie, I want to engage you and Governor Huckabee in a subject that is a big issue in both of your campaigns, and that is entitlement reform.
You say that you — to save the system that you want to raise the retirement age — have to raise the retirement age, and to cut benefits for Social Security and Medicare, and you say that some of the candidates here on the stage are lying.
Governor Huckabee says he can save Social Security and Medicare without doing any of that. Is he lying?
Christie's answer was fairly pat. No, Huckabee wasn't lying, he was just wrong, blah blah blah. I've already dissected Christie's horrible ideas for killing Social Security and Medicare, so I won't spend too much time on that.
And then we come to Huckabee, who gets the same question and tries to circle around so far right that he ends up to the left of Bernie Sanders. Sort of, but not really.
HUCKABEE: Well, lets all be reminded, 60 million Americans are on Social Security, 60 million. A third of those people depend on 90% of their income from Social Security. Nobody in this country is on Social Security because they made the decision when they were starting work at 14 that they wanted to trust some of their money with the government.
The government took it out of their check whether they wanted them to or not. And, if person goes to 65, they’re going to spend 51 years with the government reaching into their pocket at every paycheck.
Now, here’s the point, whose fault is it that the system is screwed up? Is it the recipients, or is it the government? And, if Congress wants to mess with the retirement program, why don’t we let them start by changing their retirement program, and not have one, instead of talking about getting rid of Social Security and Medicare that was robbed $700 billion dollars to pay for Obamacare.
It’s always that the government figures that they can do this off the backs of people, many of whom are poor, and depend on that money, and I just think it’s fundamentally lying to people and stealing from them, and we shouldn’t be doing it.
Predictably, the audience was quite enthusiastic with that answer, mostly because he repeated the old tired lie about the ACA stealing $700 million from Medicare.
Christie jumped right in on that, jumping to the "Social Security has been stolen" lie, while conveniently forgetting that what he's complaining about is part and parcel of "Ronald Raven's" bone-picking process back in the 1980s.
CHRISTIE: Yeah, sure. And, I don’t disagree with ending Congress’ retirement program. I’m a governor, I don’t have a retirement program in my state, and I don’t disagree with that. But, here’s the news to the American people, he’s complaining about the lying and stealing. The lying and stealing has already occurred. The trust fund is filled with IOU’s. We can’t fix the problem just by ending (ph) Congress’ retirement, that’s worth about, “this” much.
Just for the record, I should state that Social Security is designed to invest in Treasury bonds, because that's the very safest place for those funds.
And then we get to the weird part. The part where Huckabee touches lightly on the fact that dividends and other income escapes Social Security funding, but then goes down a very strange path.
HUCKABEE: Well, you ask about how we fund it. One of the reasons that Social Security is in so much trouble is that the only funding stream comes from people who get a wage. The people who get wages is declining dramatically. Most of the income in this country is made by people at the top who get dividends and — and capital gains.
HUCKABEE: The fair (ph) transforms the process by which we fund Social Security and Medicare because the money paid in consumption is paid by everybody, including illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, all the people that are freeloading off the system now.
Now, here's the question. Is Huckabee calling hedge funders and high-income investors "pimps and prostitutes" or is he actually shifting things to where the real pimps, prostitutes and 'illegals' foot the bill?
I'll let you figure it out. I'm still a little woozy from absorbing so much insanity in such a short period of time.