At a Florida rally, Biden explains how his plan for Social Security will help seniors get more money in their checks each month.
Joe Biden’s visit to the sunshine state on Tuesday offered a stark contrast to President Trump’s rally in Sanford, Florida, one night earlier.
Keeping his mask on, in front of a small group of people at a senior center in Pembroke Pines, Biden doubled down on his disapproval of the president’s handling of the coronavirus. He also explained to seniors how he would protect Social Security and Medicare, and help them see more in the checks every month.
“While he throws super-spreader parties at the White House, Republicans hug each other without concern of the consequences,” the former vice president said, while reminding seniors that many of them are bound to their homes, unable to see their families and loved ones.
“It’s become painfully clear as this careless, arrogant, reckless COVID response has caused one of the worst tragedies in American history, the only senior that Donald Trump cares about is senior Donald Trump.”
That was a stark contrast to Trump’s packed rally in Sanford, which came less than two weeks after the president tested positive for COVID-19.
“I’ll walk into that audience,” Trump said as the crowd erupted into cheers. “I’ll walk in there. I’ll kiss everyone in that audience.”
Statements like these are what the Biden campaign hopes differentiates him from Trump when it comes to the wellbeing of seniors. The CDC has declared older adults as being a “high risk” group for contracting the coronavirus.
“You know, I prayed for his recovery when he [President Trump] got COVID, and I had hoped at least he’d come out of it a little bit chastened. But what has he done? He’s just doubled-down on the misinformation he did before and is making it worse,” Biden said in front of the small group of sixty, including reporters and his staff.
Biden also said that the president was a threat to both Social Security and Medicare.
“This president has plans to terminate the tax that is dedicated to financing social security,” Biden said. He explained that the program’s actuary said eliminating the payroll tax “would bankrupt Social Security in just a few years. Putting those monthly checks for tens of millions of seniors—that rely on them—many of them the only thing they rely on—at risk.”
One of Biden’s proposals for Social Security would change the way cost of living expenses are calculated, so that seniors get more money in each check.
On Tuesday, the Social Security Administration announced that seniors would get a 1.3% annual increase in their Social Security checks. It is another small “cost of living” increase after years of only seeing modest increases. The average increase since 2010 has been 1.4%, but in the decade between 1999 and 2009, the average increase was 3%.
Small annual increases can make it hard for people who rely on the program to keep up with . It can also make it difficult to keep up with the rising costs of Medicare, which goes up about three times faster than Social Security benefits, according to CNBC.
Biden’s plan would change the way officials measure how much money a senior should get. This measurement, known as the consumer price index for the elderly (CPI-E), would factor in costs related to prescription drugs, housing, and food, among others.
Biden’s plan is one reason why he has been endorsed for president by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
Biden also said Trump’s proposal for prescription drug cash cards is his “latest gimmick.”
“It’s all a game. He thinks he’s still on his game show,” said Biden. “He wants to mail seniors a $200 subscription drug cash card, with his name on it. But, what he’s going to do, he’s going to raid Medicare trust fund to pay for that $200, which seniors have already spent by paying money into.”
“He thinks that he can take the money out of your pocket, with one hand, and put it back, with his name stamped on it, in the other hand and call it a gift. It’s dishonest. It’s reckless, and it doesn’t actually help anybody,” Biden continued.
With just a few weeks until the presidential election, senior citizens in Florida could help Biden win the crucial battleground state.
The University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab released a poll of likely voters last week that showed the president leading, but by a much smaller margin than he did in 2016 against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Biden also proposed allotting $50 billion over the next four years to “go after cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”
“If we do not find an answer to Alzheimer’s, in the next 19 years, every single solitary bed that exists in the United States of America, now, will be occupied by an Alzheimer’s patient,” said Biden.