Social Security and the Biden Tape

The Story:

A unlikely dispute has broken out on the Presidential campaign trail over a videotape of a speech that Vice President Joe Biden gave at a forum on the future of the middle class, an event sponsored by the Brookings Institute, an important think tank, in 2018.

Charge, Counter Charge, Truth:

Senator Sanders’ presidential campaign says that the tape shows Biden “lauding” an important Republican politician for suggesting cuts in social security. Biden says the tape has been doctored. They are both wrong.

The tape was not doctored. And it does show Biden saying that Paul Ryan (who was Mitt Romney’s running mate on the Republican national ticket in 2012) was “right” about something. But as PolitiFact has said, the clip the Sanders campaign is using was taken out of content. Biden was saying that the tax code coddles the rich, and that social security needs to be shored up by changes which will be less friendly to the beneficiaries of that coddling. “That’s the only way you can find to pay for it,” he says.

The Thing to Know:

So Biden was saying that Ryan was right about Social Security’s troubles, “we need to do something about [it],” but in the wider context he was also saying that Ryan as a tax cutter had helped cause the troubles. He was hardly “lauding” Ryan for this.


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