From Paul Krugman quoted at dailykos.com:
First of all, if Republicans had absolutely no desire to make major cuts to America’s main social insurance programs, why would they sunset them — and thus create the risk that they wouldn’t be renewed? As Biden might say, c’mon, man. (ed. note: my bolding)
And then there’s that historical record. Two things have been true ever since 1980. First, Republicans have tried to make deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare every time they thought there might be a political window of opportunity. Second, on each occasion they’ve done exactly what they’re doing now: claiming that Democrats are engaged in smear tactics when they describe G.O.P. plans using exactly the same words Republicans themselves used.
So, about that history. It has been widely forgotten, but soon after taking office Ronald Reagan proposed major cuts to Social Security. But he backed down in the face of a political backlash, leading analysts at the Cato Institute to call for a “Leninist” strategy — their word — creating a coalition ready to exploit a future crisis if and when one arrived.
To that end, Cato created the Project on Social Security Privatization, calling for replacing Social Security with individual accounts — which George W. Bush tried to do in 2005. By then, however, Cato had quietly renamed its project; “privatization” polled badly, and Bush insisted that it was a “trick word” used to “scare people.”
The sudden back-tracking by the likes of Mitch McConnell is only a temporary reaction to what must have been a massive inundation of congressional phones and emails after President called them out during the most covered speech of Biden’s presidency.
Don’t be tricked into thinking this is the end. Just like the coup led by Trump is not over, but only gearing up for phase 2, rest assured that the far right Republicans are not done with trying to kill SS, Medicare and Medicaid. They have merely temporarily retreated to prepare another strategy.
And certainly do not take any comfort if you heard your Iowa Republican congress member claim they would not vote to end Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. They will do so in a New York minute, just as soon as they feel they have political cover.
Trusting any Republican to do anything good for people is a bad thing to do.