Good question with a simple, sarcastic answer.
what do you mean, they plan to cut Social Security and Medicare. They've said this. That should fix inflation.— Dean Baker (@DeanBaker13) October 18, 2022
The Washington Post reports
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that if Republicans win control of the House the GOP will use raising the debt limit as leverage to force spending cuts — which could include cuts to Medicare and Social Security — and limit additional funding to Ukraine.
“You can’t just continue down the path to keep spending and adding to the debt,” the California Republican told Punchbowl News in a recent interview. “And if people want to make a debt ceiling [for a longer period of time], just like anything else, there comes a point in time where, okay, we’ll provide you more money, but you got to change your current behavior.”
“We’re not just going to keep lifting your credit card limit, right,” he added. “And we should seriously sit together and [figure out] where can we eliminate some waste? Where can we make the economy grow stronger?”
Pressed on whether changes to the entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security were part of the debt ceiling discussions, McCarthy said he would not “predetermine” anything.
The debt limit — the country’s borrowing cap — will need to be lifted next year to protect the country’s credit score and to prevent the United States from defaulting on its debt. But McCarthy suggested that his party would be willing to hold the debt limit up for policy changes.
The debt limit is the total amount of money that the government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds and other payments. The debt limit is not new spending but rather allows the government to finance existing legal obligations.
It is right there in the proposed budget plan from the Republican Study Committee, which proposed “raising the eligibility ages for each program, along with withholding payments for individuals who retire early or had a certain income, and privatized funding for Social Security to lower income taxes.”
As Steve Benen notes, If Republicans gain the majority, "they’ll demand changes to Social Security and Medicare, and if the White House balks, GOP lawmakers will simply refuse to raise the debt ceiling." Worse come to worse, they reason, at least they'll crash the economy, and that's not nothing.
When Kevin McCarthy asks "where can we eliminate some waste?" his crew won't stop at earned benefits. The idea is to put on the table anything for the elderly, the poor, even the middle class. And they plan, if they don't get their way, to wreck the economy because that would pave the way for a GOP presidential victory in 2024.
We will need more than the occasional, though valuable, warning from President Biden: