Trump Issues a Warning to Republicans

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Donald Trump has pretty good political instincts. He wouldn’t have been elected president without them. So when the former president issues a stark warning about the political consequences of Republicans advocating for cuts in Social Security and Medicare in the coming debt-limit battle, the GOP might do well to listen.

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When it comes to old-age benefits, no good has ever come from advocating cuts in Social Security and/or Medicare. They’re not called the “third rail of politics” for nothing.

“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security,” Trump said in a video that was previewed by Politico on Friday. “Cut waste, fraud, and abuse everywhere that we can find it, and there is plenty of it… But do not cut the benefits our seniors worked for and paid for their entire lives. Save Social Security. Don’t destroy it.”

According to Politico, Trump suggested “targeting foreign aid, cracking down on migration, ending ‘left-wing gender programs from our military,’ and end ‘billions being spent on climate extremism.'”

Trump’s position is entirely consistent with his past positions on entitlement reform: let the Democrats take the lead. But Democrats say there’s nothing wrong with either program that a little tweaking wouldn’t cure: raising the retirement age (again), increasing Medicare premiums, cutting payments to doctors and hospitals — all the usual half-baked fixes that have only delayed the inevitable.

When the GAO declares that both Social Security and Medicare are on an “unsustainable” path, no amount of “tweaking” by Congress will save those programs. Medicare is set to run out of cash by the end of this decade, while the Social Security trust fund will be drained by 2035. Both of those programs will end without massive intervention by Congress.

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Democrats aren’t ready to sit down and deal on entitlements.

Washington Examiner:

Democrats forcefully rejected Trump’s Friday declaration, and remarked that Trump attempted to reduce funding for both Medicare and Social Security during his tenure as president.

“Donald Trump’s own record speaks for itself: Every year he was in office, Trump proposed cutting Social Security and Medicare programs,” Democrat National Committee spokesperson Rhyan Lake told the Washington Examiner. “Americans overwhelmingly rejected the MAGA agenda of gutting Social Security, Medicare, and affordable healthcare in 2018, 2020, and 2022, and will do so again.”

It’s a sad thought to contemplate that neither side will get serious about dealing with all entitlements, including Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, and welfare payments, until the economy has already collapsed or is so close to collapsing that nothing Congress does will matter.

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