When new data showed that Mainers are falling behind in personal income growth, Gov. Paul LePage tried to hide his dismal performance on the economy.
But in his wild efforts to disguise the truth about Maine’s underperforming economy, he made a serious error: The governor, in writing, referred to Social Security and Medicare as “welfare.”
Mainers of all ages were understandably outraged. Since then, the governor has tried to run away from his own offensive words, even bombarding Maine seniors with automated telephone calls.
While Jason Savage, head of the Maine Republican Party, has joined the effort to undo the governor’s words with a July 3 Maine Voices column, no amount of spin can take back what was said.
LePage lumped Social Security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits and many other important programs together and then tried to cook the books to falsely show Maine’s income growth was better than reported.
In LePage’s own words: “It doesn’t matter what liberals call these payments, it is welfare, pure and simple.” Later he referred to them as “welfare handouts.”
Mainers support Social Security and Medicare through payroll deductions, and together these two programs help to provide seniors a more secure retirement.
The governor slaps the tag of “welfare” on any program he doesn’t like, whether it’s municipal revenue sharing or health insurance for working families, and he’s shown that he’s willing to make up his own facts when it suits his extremist agenda.
But this time he can’t pretend his words were a gaff, joke or the twisted reporting of the “liberal media.” He wrote his attack on Social Security down in black and white, sent it out for the world to see, and now he’s trying to run from the fact that his views are outside the mainstream and have been rejected by Mainers.