Trump launches plan to spy on Facebook accounts to see if people deserve Social Security cuts
The Trump administration is working on a plan that would allow them to snoop on people's social media accounts and use the activity found there to cut Social Security benefits.
"If, for example, a person claimed benefits because of a back injury but was shown playing golf in a photograph posted on Facebook, that could be used as evidence that the injury was not disabling," the New York Times reported.
The Trump team has been "actively working" with the Social Security administration to flesh out the proposal, which would involve monitoring social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Republicans in Congress, such as Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), have supported the idea, the latest manifestation of the Republican Party's obsession with attacking the safety net.
Lisa D. Ekman, chairwoman of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, pointed out the huge problems such a privacy invasion could cause.
"Just because someone posted a photograph of them golfing or going fishing in February of 2019 does not mean that the activity occurred in 2019," she told the Times.
Michael J. Astrue, a former Social Security commissioner, told the paper, "Social media sites are not exactly clear and reliable evidence" and pointed out that he has seen fraudulent accounts under his own name on the service.
If Trump had his way, such fraudulent behavior could potentially severely impact people who need disability benefits to maintain a basic standard of living.
The radical move is in line with his recently released budget, which seeks to cut spending on vital programs like food stamps and the Affordable Care Act. The actions come on the heels of Trump's tax scam, a giveaway to the ultra-wealthy that continues to burdenmiddle-class Americans.
Trump has been trying to attack disability benefits for years, and his team has repeatedly claimed that it is easy for people to receive such benefits. That isn't true, despite the lies offered by allies like Fox News over the years.
Republicans have often portrayed themselves as a limited government party, but history has shown that when it serves conservative ends — in this case striking the needy off government rolls — they are more than willing to change their tune.
Trump is more than willing to embrace Big Brother if it means he can cut off a Social Security check.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Oliver Willis.