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Did Joe Biden Just Save Social Security?

Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Joe Biden’s State of the Union has a viral moment where the president defends Social Security over boos from Republicans. It showed the continuing potency of that issue. 

In the midterm elections last fall, Social Security was an issue with more political salience than it’s had in many years.

Some Republicans implied that they wanted to change how Social Security is funded.

At the same time, Sen. Rick Scott, head of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, pushed a messaging document that stated all federal legislation must sunset after five years.

The Democrats spent the 2022 cycle vowing to protect Social Security from Republicans – and it appears that helped them have a better cycle than expected. 

Joe Biden and That Social Security Moment 

In the State of the Union address Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed Social Security again in the context of the debt ceiling showdown that is set to take place later this year and in a way that referenced the 2022 Rick Scott plan. And it led to the most viral moment of the speech. 

“Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage unless I agree to their economic plans. All of you at home should know what their plans are. Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years,” Biden said in the White House transcript of the speech. 

At that moment in the speech, boos were heard from the gallery, and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) could be seen shaking her head

“Anybody who doubts it, contact my office, I’ll give you a copy of the proposal,” Biden said in remarks that were not part of this prepared text.

At that point, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) could be seen out of her seat jawing at the president. 

“I’m glad to see, I enjoy conversion,” Biden said, once again departing from his prepared remarks, adding that he doesn’t believe most Republicans actually favor cutting those programs. 

“That means if Congress doesn’t vote to keep them, those programs will go away. Other Republicans say if we don’t cut Social Security and Medicare, they’ll let America default on its debt for the first time in our history. I won’t let that happen. Social Security and Medicare are a lifeline for millions of seniors,” Biden’s prepared text said. 

Following the boos and some cheers from his own side, Joe Biden once again departed from his text. 

“So folks, as we all apparently agree. Social Security and Medicare is off the books now, right?” Joe Biden added, leading to a standing ovation from the Democratic side of the chamber. 

“Americans have been paying into them with every single paycheck since they started working,” Biden’s prepared remarks said. “So tonight, let’s all agree to stand up for seniors. Stand up and show them we will not cut Social Security. We will not cut Medicare. Those benefits belong to the American people. They earned them.”

That moment was widely lauded as a political triumph by the president, which could give him the upper hand in the upcoming debt ceiling talks. 

“That would be a major win for the Biden White House and a loss for fiscal conservatives seeking to change the New Deal and Great Society landmark programs by arguing transformative reforms are necessary to save them from going bankrupt,” the Palm Beach Post said of the moment in the speech. “And it could ease contentious debt ceiling negotiations by gutting a key leverage point for hardline Republicans threatening to default on the U.S. debt.”

Biden’s prepared remarks further defended the programs. 

“If anyone tries to cut Social Security, I will stop them. And if anyone tries to cut Medicare, I will stop them. I will not allow them to be taken away. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever,” the president said. “Next month when I offer my fiscal plan, I ask my Republican friends to offer their plan. We can sit down together and discuss both plans together. My plan will lower the deficit by $2 trillion. I won’t cut a single Social Security or Medicare benefit.”

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Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.



  1. Joseph Redmon

    February 8, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you President Biden for looking out for the people on social security it means a lot to us that you are sticking up for us May the God of all grace keep you and your family and in perfect peace.

  2. LJG

    February 8, 2023 at 6:06 pm

    All B.S. as Biden is doing nothing to ‘save” Social Security. There have been numerous plans that would convert, over time, Social Security into investments controlled in retirement by the working people themselves. These programs would have given the elderly tremendous increases in their wealth after retirement, instead of draining the National Budget. They never happened because the Liberals want total control over all aspects of our lives, right up to the grave.

  3. Richard Merod

    February 8, 2023 at 8:50 pm

    If anyone touches Social Security.Thay wont be aroun very long.

    Not a threat,BUT A PROMISE !!!!

  4. BKW

    February 8, 2023 at 11:31 pm

    Currently, the social security trust fund that disburses retirement, disability, and other Social Security benefits will run out by 2035. After that, the payouts will be reduced to at least 80% as they will become solely dependent on the 12.4 percent tax on most American workers’ earnings. In short, if we want to keep current benefits, the level of inflation has to come down and FICA/SECA taxes will need to go up. Oh wait, we also have a $6 trillion budget that foresees a decade of trillion-dollar deficits, which will need to be paid off. Neither Democrats or Republicans are doing us any favors by kicking the can further down the road.

  5. RDL

    February 9, 2023 at 9:12 am

    Steve Silver is NOT a journalist. Journalist print unbiased facts. Silver is an EXTREME LIBERAL and all his essays are completely biased.

  6. tom

    February 9, 2023 at 9:54 am

    you are telling us he saved it by lying to you so he can give it to illegals and bankrupt it to take it away from us

  7. Doug & Karna Perkins

    February 9, 2023 at 12:30 pm

    Steve Silver is NOT a journalist. Journalists print unbiased facts. Silver is an EXTREME LIBERAL and all his essays are completely biased.

  8. svede

    February 9, 2023 at 3:51 pm

    I have never talked to anyone about SS that had a clue on how it was intended to work and why failure was kind of baked-in. We’re not paying “into” anything. It’s about all pay-as-you-go much like a Ponzi scheme and about everything collected going out in a current check. No one stole anything from the fund. By law any excess is in T notes with the cash going to the general fund, just like it’s been since day one. To redeem the “what’s owed to SS” the government has to buy back the treasury notes with borrowed money on top of the borrowed money in deficit now. SS and Medicare are both growing broke with a big reason being the glut of people retiring and fewer paying in. Something major needs to be done such as raising the age (people collect longer now), increasing the contribution cut-off, reducing payments (when it was set up there was no inflation clause adding to it) or raising payroll taxes. Simple math says Joe’s fantasy of everything is fine is flat out math provable false. Doing nothing is doing harm to what everybody’s howling about.

  9. Robert R Wynn

    February 9, 2023 at 9:34 pm

    Baloney. This is the First lie the liberals have in their book. Every election for the past 50 years has been telling Americans that the Republicans are going to steal their Medicare or Social Security. It never happens and won’t happen. Republicans are for Americans, Liberals are for government control over everything in our lives. All our lives we hear this same BS story over and over again. The number 1 spot on my bucket list is that I would like to hear a true story from the liberal media.Im not holding my breath I don’t expect that to ever happen.

  10. sheryl

    February 10, 2023 at 10:51 am

    since SS is a SEPERATE fund from any gov. funding, joe didnt “SAVE” anything. HE doesnt make laws. he just THINKS he has that power.

  11. davis perry

    February 10, 2023 at 11:00 am

    Who took from social security in the past and did not put it back?

  12. Phyllis Jean Henry

    February 10, 2023 at 2:00 pm

    What Biden is saving is a fresh look at SSI will not happen. Does anyone think Bill Gates should get his max SSI? No. So up and until he’s like me trying to live off of less than $700.00 a month SSI Mr. Gates would be ineligible for it by way of “means testing.”

  13. Maxine M. Taylor

    February 10, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    Total BS.

  14. Wizard

    February 10, 2023 at 5:34 pm

    Basically, Biden promised not to do anything about Social Security and Medicare. We can either make some fairly modest changes today, or we can watch benefits crater in about a decade.
    Cutting the deficit may sound nice, but we need to eliminate it. Between rising interest rates and the new debt we continue to pile up, servicing the debt is taking an ever bigger slice of government spending. If we don’t get it under control, it’s going to crowd out everything else, including the precious military.

  15. X

    February 10, 2023 at 6:39 pm

    A complete deflection from truth. Might as well???? the article.

  16. John Williams

    February 11, 2023 at 11:08 am

    Biden stood before the country and lied about them taking away social security. Blatant liar. That’s all they do and their lemmings sit their and believe them. Meanwhile Slo Joe promised no one would get a tax increase if making under 400K. Instead he hired armed IRS henchmen to extract as much money out of americans as possible. He is going to audit tips made by waiters and other tipped employees to make sure they are paying their fair share. Meanwhile again he’s sending billions to an unwinnable war.

  17. linda e christian

    February 11, 2023 at 11:49 am

    JOE BIDEN voted to tax social security you can be taxed up to 85% of your social security it was his ideal to tax our social security

  18. Mark A. Lambert

    February 11, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    Social Security will have insufficient funds to cover its liabilities within a dozen years. The sooner something is done about it, the less painful it will be.
    I don’t see how President Biden saved anything.
    It seems like a modest reduction in benefits, coupled with a modest increase in the retirement age along with a modest increase in the maximum income on which social security is paid along with a modest increase in the Social Security tax rate could cure the problem and minimize the pain.
    It doesn’t seem likely that the extremist of both parties that make up our congress are capable of rational action.


    February 11, 2023 at 12:13 pm


  20. Neil

    February 11, 2023 at 6:47 pm

    If the amount taken out of everyone’s paycheck rose by 0.1 percent (I don’t have the exact figures) every year, and there was no salary cap, there probably would have been no problem with Social Security. That’s $1 per week more every year if you make $1,000 a week. It wouldn’t even be noticeable to people. I think the last time the formula was changed was in 1987. 0.1% more every year for 36 years is a lot cumulatively, but so gradual, it wouldn’t have hurt. The longer Congress waits, the tougher it will be for everyone. The only people who don’t need Social Security are the rich. Even people earning $250,000 a year will need it since most people are incapable of saving money. They live for today and can’t delay their desire for instant gratification. Poor folks feel that they deserve $1,000 cellphones, designer clothes, expensive car leases, etc. I know I’d rather pay $1 more a week while working, than lose $300-$500 a month in Social Security.

  21. Allen Fox

    February 11, 2023 at 7:21 pm

    Complete BS. I can’t believe MS is promoting such biased garbage.

  22. Margaret Barkley

    February 12, 2023 at 1:41 am

    So many of you are talking about the President lying about SS, but what about that previous president who raped, lied, got illegal loans based on fake financials, stole govt records and then lied about them, caused an insurrection where people were killed, stole tax funds by not paying hardly any taxes year after year, went bankrupt many times, by the way when you go bankrupt as often as he has, that means he did not pay his bills and the list goes on … and you republicans want him to be your President? Give me a break, you should all be ashamed of yourselves by supporting such a low-life !
    There is NO DIGNITY with Donald Trump. At least President Biden is trying to make things better after the mess Trump left us in.

  23. James

    February 12, 2023 at 9:17 am

    Biden the liar Whants to cut your SS so he can pay illegals 450,000 dollars each. Biden ius a sick SOB

  24. William

    February 12, 2023 at 12:17 pm

    It is simple to save Social Security all they have to do is cut off all the people coming in here that have not paid in 1 penny from foreign countries. Make them earn their living just like the rest of us. Plain and simple!

  25. Heinz Werner Brooks

    February 13, 2023 at 11:14 am

    Biden is reducing the deficit in his head. He has done nothing to reduce the deficit. When the deficit was 32 trillion and it was 30 trillion last year, Biden believes he has reduced it by 2 trillion because the deficit should have been 34 trillion. Anybody can do that in their head. The problem is too many Americans actually believe him and that is going to be their demise.

  26. William Passas

    February 13, 2023 at 3:34 pm

    Scott should join the movement to reform the Constitution. The Congress will never do anything that returns the powers poached by the Federal Government to the States, Balanced the Budget and modifies and limits terms of the President and Congress. That would be a critical start by citizens of the States.

  27. Harvey Bailey

    February 13, 2023 at 8:52 pm

    I thought the Government had barrowed $’s from the social security trust fund? If that is true, they should pay back the Social security trust fund !

  28. Patriot

    February 14, 2023 at 4:04 am

    “Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years”
    So after a few years it’s back to work. So republicans see retirement as a vacation, not something long term. Get those peasants back to work. Back to the old days, 7 days a week, 12 hours a day for $2 a day. They’ll get their slaves back one way or another.

  29. James G Plummer Jr

    February 14, 2023 at 8:59 am

    And don’t the Republicans also want to abolish the daily rising of the sun, too, Joe?

  30. Steve Pettit

    February 14, 2023 at 12:43 pm

    Joe Biden as a Senator under President Reagan, is the one who taxed SSI income.

  31. Gary Siemens

    February 14, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    It’s amazing how 1/2 half of America can be so stupid to buy into all the lies, when it’s so obvious to everyone that wants to open their eyes. It’s writers like you that are doing the lying to the public.

  32. Mark A Young

    February 14, 2023 at 8:11 pm

    Between President Johnson and Biden, they have both passed legislation to Raid Social Security. So making the statement that Biden saved Social Security is FALSE. One Senator says we should look at Social Security and the country and DEMORATS start doing what they do SCARE people with Lies. I am on Social Security so what I am about to say is something has to be done to make it. The Republicans said that Social was not to be touched. But poor reporting just pushes it and does hit pieces like this it’s shameful!

  33. Joe Gorski

    February 14, 2023 at 10:11 pm

    Total biased opinion justified by bogus speculation. Give us the facts and leave your feelings at the door. If you can’t, get out of the business.

  34. Bry Guy

    February 15, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are hated by conservatives because they are programs created by liberals that are very popular with a large majority of Americans. Conservatives have even come up with plans before to try and make cuts to them in hopes they collapse. Proof? Do some research on “Starve the Beast” and the “Two Santa Clause Theory”.
    Then they’ve tried to turn people against it by calling it an “entitlement” and then making that out to be a bad thing. I’ve been paying into the programs for my entire life and let me tell you, “You’re damn right I’m ‘entitled’ to the money I’ve paid into the programs!”.

  35. Sylvia

    February 16, 2023 at 5:07 pm

    This article is written by a supreme liberal. Biden saving SS– you don’t know beans. He was trying to destroy the GOP, and it backfired on him and he stammered, not knowing where to hide, Republicans are not trying to do away with SS — Biden was the one, as a Senator, who wanted to do away with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid –“ALL OF IT”, he said.
    Be responsible, and stop publishing rubbish.

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