66 million Americans get their income from Social Security. 64 million Americans use Medicare for their primary health insurance, and 76 million Americans use Medicaid for healthcare.

Since last week Republicans have been talking about gutting these three critical programs, which they falsely call “entitlements,” despite them being funded through every employed person’s paycheck.

Last week the four Republicans vying to become the next Chair of the House Budget Committee all said they would use a vote on the debt ceiling – which is simply voting to raise the country’s credit limit on everything we have already purchased (that’s a critical point, it’s to pay our bills, not to buy more) – basically as a sword to get Democrats to support massive reductions in critical programs that literally help keep millions of Americans alive.

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This week, multiple Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have admitted the plan is to use the debt ceiling as a threat to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

“With Republicans favored to take over the majority in the U.S. House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is preparing to become the House speaker,” MSNBC‘s Steve Benen reports. “And while the California congressman doesn’t have much of a governing blueprint in mind — the GOP remains a post-policy party — McCarthy told Punchbowl News about one step he’s prepared to take once he’s in a position of real power.”

Punchbowl News explains: “As we all remember,the debt limit was one of the bruising battles of the Obama presidency under then Speaker John Boehner. The U.S. government’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time ever following that 2011 debacle, but GOP lawmakers apparently are ready to try again in order to force ‘structural changes’ to popular entitlement programs including Social Security and Medicare.”

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McCarthy told Punchbowl News: “You can’t just continue down the path to keep spending and adding to the debt.”

On social media Benen adds: “Key House Republicans are threatening to crash the economy on purpose if cuts aren’t approved.”

“I wonder how many voters know about this,” he asks.

Benen adds that McCarthy was “indifferent to the fact that he and his party only raise these concerns when there’s a Democrat in the White House, only to promptly forget about the issue during Republican administrations.”

McCarthy “is freely admitting that Republicans are prepared to provoke a global financial crisis, on purpose, if rewarded by voters,” Benen says.

That’s not hyperbole.

Last week NCRM reported on responses to a Bloomberg article, one of the first to reveal the GOP’s plan to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – by forcing a debt limit vote and shutting down the federal government.

“If Republicans regain control of Congress, they are planning to threaten a global financial meltdown if they don’t get their way on cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,” wrote Media Matters for America senior fellow Matthew Gertz.

“Extreme MAGA Republican leaders openly threatening to cause economic catastrophe in order to achieve their dreams of slashing Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security,” is how Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s communications director, Henry Connelly, responded to the report.

MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid on Tuesday shared her thoughts on the bigger picture.

“It’s terrifying how many Americans will choose literal fascism, female serfdom, climate collapse and the reversal of everything from Social Security & Medicare to student loan relief bc they think giving Republicans the power to investigate Hunter Biden will bring down gas prices.”

This content was originally published here.