Michele Bachmann thinks America blew it by extending a safety net to millions of Americans under President Johnson’s “Great Society.” Her solution? Model the economy after communist China.
“The ‘Great Society’ has not worked and it’s put us into the modern welfare state,” she said. “If you look at China, they don’t have food stamps. If you look at China, they’re in a very different situation. They save for their own retirement security…They don’t have the modern welfare state and China’s growing. And so what I would do is look at the programs that LBJ gave us with the Great Society and they’d be gone.”
Aside from the basic absurdity of crediting a country that’s still officially communist with avoiding the pitfalls of the welfare state, it’s worth noting that Bachmann’s broad condemnation of LBJ’s legislative record is in open conflict with her own political positions. She has repeatedly positioned herself as a staunch defender of Medicare, the centerpiece of the Great Society programs, and has slammed President Obama for using funds from the Medicare Advantage program to help finance the Affordable Care Act. Her critique of saving for “retirement security” also runs up against her stated support for Social Security.
“Social Security and Medicare provide a safety net to millions of Americans,” an issues page on her website reads. “This is a system that many Americans have paid into their whole life. America needs to keep its promise to senior citizens.”
Unfortunately, many Americans have been unduly frightened by scare talk about alleged attempts to potentially eliminate these programs. Michele understands the concerns of seniors who have been frightened into thinking that their Social Security could be taken away. As President, she will ensure that any reform to Social Security or Medicare will only affect those 55 and younger, and she will work to find a way to ease the next generation into a program that is solvent, fiscally responsible, and empowering to the individual. Michele has also pledged to protect Medicare by repealing Obamacare.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.