While many were focused on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the US Senate, the President made clear he is willing to look at cuts to Social Security and Medicare if he is elected to a second term. His position is a complete turn around from the promise he made in 2016 when he vowed to “save” the programs. His reasoning? The economy.
Let’s take a step back. Throughout 2015 and 2016, candidate Donald Trump claimed he would “save” Social Security and Medicare. He delivered campaign speech after campaign speech accusing his Republican rivals of wanting to cut the programs. He wasn’t exactly wrong. The tactic worked and support among GOP voters swelled. That promise continued into the general election stated alongside the promise of Mexico paying for the wall.
LISTEN TO MONTAGE OF DONALD TRUMP’S PROMISES FROM 2016:
Once in office, however, the President’s budget proposals were anything but program saving for recipients. The President’s budget proposal for 2019 alone included $236 billion in cuts to Medicare over ten years. Had his priorities been realized the $236 billion cut from Medicare coupled with the desire to dramatically reduce Medicaid would cripple rural hospitals and burden our most vulnerable North Dakotans. Luckily for North Dakota’s hospitals and our vulnerable neighbors, Trump’s budget wasn’t fully realized. Yet, budgets are a window into priorities.
Attempts have failed, but the drive is clearly still there. This past week, while talking to CNBC the President made it clear he is willing to look at cuts to the very programs he pledged to leave untouched. You can watch part of that exchange below.
Trump tells CNBC that he’s pondering taking the axe to Medicare and Social Security because it’s “the easiest of all things” for him to cut. pic.twitter.com/Ojozrq966O
— Tim O’Brien (@TimOBrien) January 22, 2020
Feeling the immediate backlash from his comments, President Trump was quick to project his position onto others. It is the “do-nothing” Democrats looking to destroy Social Security! You can find his tweet below.
Democrats are going to destroy your Social Security. I have totally left it alone, as promised, and will save it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 23, 2020
Ardent defenders demand people talk about the economy and not alleged crimes. Well, here we go. The President is using the economy as his reason to potentially attack Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. I’m guessing this isn’t the economic conversation they were hoping to have, however.
If desired reform to Social Security for people with disabilities, Medicare for senior citizens, and Medicaid to single mothers is due to the growing national debt, the administration needs to reflect on their own fiscal stewardship. The Republicans and Trump have blown up the national debt exceeding $23 TRILLION and growing by the minute. The rushed tax cut in 2017 primarily benefiting hedge fund managers hasn’t trickled down to the people reliant on these programs. As the 2020 campaigns ratchet up, expect the projection of self-described fiscal hawks to try and gloss over their real record of increasing the debt and using it as an excuse to cut programs our most vulnerable neighbors rely on.