Sometimes it is hard to tell the players without a scorecard. The Club for Growth is a right-wing organization but it doesn't like Donald Trump at all. He's too much of a RINO for them. It is now running this ad attacking Trump for his Social Security "plan":
What is a bit odd here is that Trump doesn't have a plan for Social Security. He says he won't change anything about the system. Yet how can the ad claim that Trump's "plan" will cut seniors' benefits 23%? What it seems to imply, but doesn't say, is that if nothing changes, the Social Security Trust Fund will run dry in about 10 years. Then all payments will have to come from the income stream, in which case benefits will have to be cut 23% if nothing else changes.
The ad also says that Trump's plan is the same as Joe Biden's. That is an out-and-out lie. Biden wants to raise the cap on the FICA tax in a somewhat complicated way. It is currently $160,200, meaning that income above that is not subject to the FICA tax. Biden wants to subject income above $400,000 to the tax, while leaving income between $160,200 and $400,000 not subject to the FICA tax, in order not to violate a campaign promise of "no new taxes for people making under $400,000." In Biden's plan, there would be more payments into the system and the day of reckoning would be pushed back many years, maybe forever depending on the upper limit of the FICA tax, if any.
The Club doesn't endorse any other candidates in the ad. It just attacks Trump, which makes it sound a bit odd. If it ended with "Candidate X will protect Social Security" it would have made more sense. What is the Club's real goal here? It's hard to tell from the ad, but our best case is to try to convince people that Social Security is dying anyway, so we should put it out of its misery and just abolish the whole system including, of course, the FICA tax. That would be consistent with the Club's general anti-tax goal, but saying the quiet part out loud would enrage many seniors, so mum's the word, here.
Is this the starting gun for a Club for Growth campaign supporting Ron DeSantis? It could be. As a congressman, DeSantis voted to weaken Social Security. But when running for governor of Florida, a state overloaded with seniors, he was quiet about the subject. After all, abolishing Social Security is not a policy choice governors get to make. But if the Club starts running many ads that trash Trump for not doing anything about Social Security, what is DeSantis going to do? It puts him on the spot. He doesn't want to go on the record saying he wants to cut benefits and he doesn't want to go on the record saying he wants to raise the FICA cap and he doesn't want to take the same position as Trump (do nothing). It could be embarrassing for DeSantis. Is the Club trying to help him or not? It's far from clear. Also, so far it is so subtle that few people are even going to understand what is going on. (V)