October 18, 2022

Corporate media outlets are mostly ignoring a Republican ploy to use the debt ceiling fight to gut Social Security and Medicare if the GOP regains control of Congress—a plot that one leading watchdog on Friday called "perhaps the single most consequential story" of the midterm elections.

"Social Security and Medicare are on the ballot next month," said Media Matters for America senior fellow Matt Gertz. "If the American public doesn't know that, it's in part because the press isn't telling them."

Common Dreams reported earlier this week that Social Security and Medicare defenders are warning that the popular programs—which each serve tens of millions of older Americans—face "grave danger" in the event Republicans retake control of Congress in January.

The warning came after four House Republicans hoping to chair the lower chamber's budget committee told Bloomberg Government that "Social Security and Medicare eligibility changes, spending caps, and safety-net work requirements are among the top priorities" if the GOP is back in charge.

The Republican lawmakers indicated in the article that "next year's deadline to raise or suspend the debt ceiling is a point of leverage" to force Democrats to allow policies including raising the retirement age and slashing Social Security and veterans' benefits, in keeping with the GOP's recently adopted policy agenda.

Despite congressional Democrats sounding the alarm on what Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said would be an "economically catastrophic" policy, "there's been virtually no coverage from major TV news shows, newspapers, and other mainstream outlets," Gertz noted.

"There has been shockingly little coverage of this development given its significance," Gertz continued. "It earned a scattering of mentions in publications including New York magazine. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and MSNBC's Chris Hayes detailed the stakes on his show Wednesday night."

"But the story hasn't been referenced elsewhere this week on MSNBC, or on CNN, or on Fox News," he added. "The nationally broadcast morning and evening news shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC haven't discussed it. It hasn't been mentioned in the pages of major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today."

Republished from Common Dreams (Brett Wilkins, staff writer) under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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