Former President Donald Trump is bringing all the power he has to bear within his party to prevent them from taking an action he feels would be suicide for them.
Trump is urging Republicans to stay far away from cuts to Social Security and Medicare, as he thinks it would be damaging to future elections.
“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security to help pay for Joe Biden’s reckless spending spree,” Trump said on Truth Social.
He added that he believes Washington bureaucrats should pay for President Joe Biden’s mistakes, not older Americans who have paid into entitlement programs and now depend on them.
Waste, fraud and abuse
“Cut waste, fraud and abuse everywhere that we can find it, and there’s plenty of it,” Mr. Trump said. “But do not cut the benefits our seniors worked for and paid for their entire lives. Save Social Security, don’t destroy it.”
Trump believes that there is enough waste, fraud and abuse to make significant budget cuts, and also suggested that “climate extremism” be defunded.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) suggested last year that all federal programs, including Medicare and Social Security, be sunsetted after five years. He was soundly denounced by Democrats.
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) also spoke of cutting entitlement programs as a way to reduce spending.
Budget out of balance
The problem with not touching entitlement programs is that they are a large part of spending in the federal budget; in 2022, 37.5% of the $4.8 trillion federal budget was spent on Medicare and Social Security.
It does seem wrong to cut senior entitlements to make up for trillions in wasteful spending by Biden, but it’s also worth considering that millionaires and billionaires still get Social Security payments and qualify for Medicare.
The other fly in the ointment is that Democrats still run the Senate and won’t likely go along with any budget cuts whatsoever, entitlement or otherwise.
Republicans have previously mentioned reforms such as allowing people to put their Social Security withholdings into individual accounts and invest them, which would probably bring a much larger return, in general, but could lead to losses that the government would then need to cover.
What to do?
Without any changes to the program, Social Security is scheduled to run out in 2037, and Medicare costs are expected to balloon as the U.S. population ages.
Trump would like to kick the can down the road to avoid losing votes, but that may not be the best solution in the long term.