Amid budget-busting inflation and polls forecasting a red wave, the Biden administration apparently is struggling to find genuine, tangible accomplishments it can tout to voters ahead of the midterm elections next Tuesday.
The White House thought it found one and put out the word Tuesday on Twitter, which has been a reliable censor of messages that counter the administration’s narrative.
“Seniors are getting the biggest increase in their Social Security checks in 10 years through President Biden’s leadership,” the White House tweeted.
But Elon Musk’s Twitter is allowing readers to add “context” to messages, and they threw a penalty flag on the White House message.
Yes, the increase in Social Security payments was a result of Biden’s leadership. But not in the way the White House meant.
The rise actually was “due to the annual cost of living adjustment, which is based on the inflation rate,” said the added message, which is part of Twitter’s “community notes” function.
The White House subsequently deleted the post without explanation.
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The increase in Social Security benefits of 8.7% for next year is based on the spike in the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of 2021 to third quarter 2022.
It’s the largest cost-of-living increase since 1981.
The annual inflation rate, currently 8.2%, was 1.4% when Biden took office in January 2021.
Musk, in a tweet Tuesday, called the community notes feature “awesome.”
“Our goal is to make Twitter the most accurate source of information on Earth, without regard to political affiliation,” he said.
What causes inflation?
Economists point to government spending and printing too much money as the primary drivers of inflation, with $4 trillion in spending passed during the first two years of Biden’s administration. And on day one, he fulfilled his promise to declare war on oil and gas, cancelling the Keystone Pipeline project and drilling in ANWR while throttling oil refinery capacity. Biden has called the record-high gasoline prices “Putin’s price hike,” referring to the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While the war has had an influence, the Consumer Price Index already had risen to 7% by December 2021, the largest annual increase since 1982.
And when it comes to leadership, it’s been noted that Putin’s first encroachment of Ukrainian territory – the annexation of Crimea – took place in 2014 during the Obama-Biden administration, when Biden was in charge of Ukraine policy. The second, the invasion in 2022, came with Biden as commander in chief.
‘The tweet was not complete’
After this article was posted, Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked at the White House briefing Tuesday why the tweet was deleted.
“So, it was – look, the tweet was not complete. Usually, when we put out a tweet, we post it with context, and it did not have that context,” she replied.
Some of the “context,” she said was the decrease in Medicare premiums along with the rise in Social Security payments.
“This means that seniors will have a chance to get ahead of inflation, due to the rare combination of rising benefits and falling premiums,” she said.
Jean-Pierre then repeated Biden’s claim that Republicans will put Social Security “on the chopping block” if they take over the House and Senate.
The claim is based on an 11-point plan released by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., that states “all federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.”
The plan hasn’t been adopted by the party, and Scott, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, says he only wants to reform Social Security and doesn’t know any Republican lawmakers who want to cut benefits.
Factcheck.org judged Biden’s claim to be misleading. And Republican strategist John Feehery, reported the Washington Examiner, charges Biden “is lying, mostly because he has nothing else good to say.”
“Republicans should keep their focus on the economy and inflation and not dignify it with a response,” he said. “It is pretty obvious he is desperate, and desperate times require desperate measures.”
See Jean-Pierre’s remarks Wednesday:
KJP on why the White House deleted a misleading tweet about an increase in Social Security checks: “So, it was–look, the tweet was not complete. Usually, when we put out a tweet, we post it with context and it did not have that context…Seniors will have a chance to get ahead”. pic.twitter.com/avxevZa3Gs
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) November 2, 2022
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