With the Presidential campaign in full swing and the Democrats already running on how the Romney-Ryan ticket wants to destroy Medicare, Vice President Joe Biden is trying to frame Democrats as the savior of entitlements. At an event in Virginia Biden promised absolutely no changes to Social Security will be made if President Obama is re-elected. From First Read:
“Hey, by the way, let’s talk about Social Security,” Biden said after a diner at The Coffee Break Cafe in Stuart, VA expressed his relief that the Obama campaign wasn’t talking about changing the popular entitlement program.
“Number one, I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security,” Biden said, per a pool report. “I flat guarantee you.”
The pool report noted that most of the patrons at the cafe toward whom Biden was directing his remarks were over the age of 60.
This of course directly contradicts not only past statements from Obama and also actions Obama tried to take in his first term. Obama was willing to cut Social Security to get a deficit deal with Congressional Republicans.
It is possible Obama has changed his mind on Social Security since his failure to get a deal last year, but it is more likely this campaign promise will not be kept. Obama’s track record on campaign promises not to do something is pretty abysmal. Obama made promising not to have an individual mandate and not to tax employer provided insurance central to his 2008 campaign, but after the election he actually fought to make sure both were include in his health care law.
Based on his history I simply can’t put much stock in this promise from the Obama campaign, making such definitive statements should at least make it much more awkward for Obama to try to weasel out of it later. If running against Rep. Paul Ryan forces the Obama team to make unequivocal statements about protecting Social Security that are going to be hard to walk back after the election, I may eventually be willing to consider Romney’s pick of Ryan an indirect good thing.