In a shocking press release today, Gov. Paul LePage referred to Social Security and Medicare as "welfare," saying: "It doesn't matter what liberals call these payments, it is welfare, pure and simple."
The press release, which was sent by the Office of the Governor, was an attempt to explain away Maine's poor economic performance but quickly turned into an attack on Maine's seniors.
"LePage's comments are an insult to Maine seniors who have worked long and hard to earn their Social Security and Medicare benefits," said U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, the Democratic nominee for governor. "These two programs have helped to provide a secure retirement to thousands upon thousands of hardworking men and women who have earned them one paycheck at a time. They deserve much better than to have their monthly Social Security checks called "welfare handouts.' The governor should be embarassed that he ever suggested such a thing."
The press release was issued in response to questions about Maine's underperforming economy.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Maine ranked near the bottom of the pack nationally and last in New England for personal income growth for the first quarter of 2014, in part because Gov. LePage refused to expand access to Medicaid. During that time, personal income in Maine grew just 0.5 percent.
In addition, the state's economy continues to underperform compared to the rest of the nation and is near the bottom of the pack in private-sector job creation since the bottom of the recession.