Donald Trump and Social Security

August 24, 2016

Last week I posed about Hillary Clinton’s position on Social Security and Medicare.  The information posted was pulled from her website and represents her formal positions.  Mr. Trump’s website does not contain information on Social Security so the following comments are pulled from various news outlets.

From The Fiscal Times:

Trump early in the primary season said he would oppose cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, seemingly echoing the sentiments of liberal Democrats and drawing kudos from senior advocacy groups.

However, Bloomberg reported that when Trump met with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on May 12, he said privately that he favors cutting Social Security on moral grounds but knew that declaring it would seriously hurt his chances in November. The following day, Trump’s senior policy adviser Sam Clovis said during a conference in Washington that Trump would consider changes in Social Security and Medicare “after the administration’s been in place.”

Last week, the Republican delegates gathered in Cleveland were emphatic in saying that all entitlement programs, including Social Security, will be on the table in looking for long-term solutions to budget and debt problems. Ryan and other GOP leaders have long advocated changes in Social Security, including partial privatization of the system.

“We reject the old maxim that Social Security is the “Third Rail” of American politics, deadly for anyone who would change it,” the GOP platform states. “The Democratic Party still treats it that way, even though everyone knows that its current course will lead to a financial and social disaster. As the party of America’s future, we accept the responsibility to preserve and modernize a system of retirement security forged in an old industrial era beyond the memory of most Americans.”

From the Wall Street Journal Blog:

Donald Trump has changed positions on many issues over the years, but there’s one he’s been sticking with through thick and thin during the 2016 campaign: He’s not going to change or cut Social Security. And that is a blow to his party’s fiscal conservatives who have spent decades trying to get Washington to address the long-term insolvency of the Social Security trust fund.

“We’re going to save your Social Security without killing it like so many people want to do,” Mr. Trump said last weekend at a rally in Phoenix.

From CNN:

It’s easy to summarize Donald Trump’s position on Social Security. He doesn’t want to touch it.

But his new running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, has a very different view. He wants to radically reform the program.
Pence spent 12 years in Congress as a leading fiscal conservative.

During his tenure he backed various efforts to reform Social Security in a bid to make the program solvent for the long term and to reduce government spending. Among those efforts was President Bush’s 2005 reform proposal.

Among other things, Bush’s plan would have let workers divert some of their payroll taxes into private investment accounts. It also would have reduced the growth rate in benefits for future high-income retirees.

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