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Donald Trump and Social Security

Back when there were still a whole lot of people running for the Republican nomination for president, Donald Trump was the only one who did not want to cut Social Security benefits.

His opponents had the usual variety of methods to reduce the benefit they always erroneously call an “entitlement” (along with Medicare) as though it is not an earned benefit we all pay for throughout our working years.

Raise the retirement age, say some. Others want a “means test” that would remake Social Security into a welfare program instead of the insurance benefit it is. Still others want to reduce the cost-of-living adjustment or go the George W. Bush route and let people invest those monies in stock market.

Donald Trump was different. In December 2015, he said,

“'We’re not gonna cut your Social Security and we’re not cutting your Medicare,' he said," according to a story in Huffington Post.

“Trump has insisted that economic growth and cutting waste, fraud and abuse in the system would solve entitlement spending issues.”

You may recall that eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse” is pretty much Trump's solution to everything except building that wall he says Mexico will pay for. As the HuffPo writer, Matt Fuller, reminded readers,

”He neglects to mention that the incidence of incorrect overpayments is typically under 1 percent, according to the Social Security Administration’s estimates. (Combined administrative costs for both the retirement and disability programs are also under 1 percent.)”

You don't find those kinds of administrative numbers in the private sector.

That was in December. In an April 2016 debate, Trump reaffirmed his support of Social Security:

"'Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid. And it's not fair to the people that have been paying in for years and now all of the sudden they want to be cut.' reported Alternet. “He made clear, I'm not gonna do that!'"

Since political coverage by the news media has become all Trump, all the time, you may have noticed that the now presumptive Republican candidate frequently changes his positions, denies he ever said things he did say and contradicts himself, often several times within a day and even an hour.

That flexibility showed up a couple of weeks ago when Modern Healthcare reported:

”On Wednesday, Sam Clovis, Trump's chief policy adviser, signaled to a Washington group that strongly favors a major overhaul of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that Trump is open to their agenda.

“'After the (Trump) administration has been in place, then we will start to take a look at all of the programs, including entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare,' Clovis said, according to the Wall Street Journal (firewall).

“That statement came just before Trump met with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday to try to make peace with the top Republican policymaker...”

(Speaker Ryan is long on the record with proposals to cut Social Security.)

Last week, Social Security expert Nancy Altman who is co-author of the 2015 book, Social Security Works!, followed up on those comments from Sam Clovis in a Huffington Post story:

”To those who have carefully studied Trump’s record on Social Security, this seemingly abrupt turnaround does not come as a huge surprise.

“Back in 2000, Trump wrote a book in which he referred to Social Security as a 'Ponzi scheme', proposed increasing the retirement age to 70, and claimed, 'Privatization would be good for all of us.'

“As recently as 2011, he said he was on board with plans to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — but that Republicans should be very careful 'not to fall into the Democratic trap' by doing it without bipartisan support, or they would pay the price politically.

“Trump’s position on Social Security appears to be whatever he feels is most beneficial to Donald Trump at any given time.”

It seems pretty certain to me that it will not be long before Donald Trump announces his explicit support for the Republican position of cutting Social Security along with Medicare and Medicaid.

They never stop. These people will never, ever stop trying to impoverish elders. Remember, even when they say their cuts will not harm current retirees, they are nonetheless perfectly willing to do that to your children and grandchildren.

Comments

Sometimes it's difficult to seriously try to put myself in the rarefied mindset of the top 1%, or even the top 20%. And I find trying to understand their positions, politically, is beyond my reach because too many emotions and thoughts of decency must be suspended. These people Mr. Trump is now appealing to for support.

These "idealists" believe their warped ideas of the work ethic is, above all else, central to mankind's ability to have a thriving society, strong institutions and government. They don't acknowledge nor do they want to understand those who cannot participate fully, be one a child or elder.

They're playing a game and they want to win, so long as their bank accounts, castles and moats are maintained. And all those have to grow larger and larger because their minds envision others wanting to 'take' what they have.

And we know that paranoia is (superficially) relieved by building a money-sucking military complex. That, they don't question.

Trump says so many conflicting things that it's easy for anyone to find a quote that reflects what we each think on any given topic. I can't stand that guy! We can't trust that guy! But I agree with Simone (above) the Republicans never question how much money is spent on the military complex and the one thing Trump is consistent on is that he, too, wants a bigger military complex than we already have.

Let me ride my favorite hobby horse a minute and point out that "privatizing" Social Security would mean letting people with no real fiduciary responsibility turn your money into their money. This is why 401(k)s and other employer plans are such rotten things. There are people who sold some financial "product" to these plans decades ago who are still getting a taste.

Funny how the only people who want to get rid of these programs are the fat cats who don't need them.

Excellent article and comments. I could not say it any better than your article and the comments listed.

Following his outright lies and turnabouts hour to hour, or perhaps it will speed up and soon be minute to minute, is very exhausting. He scares me, but what scares me more are those who believe him or see him as their mouthpiece and/or savior. I recently read something to the effect: "...people don't want truth, they want reinforcement." And that is exactly what he has done to get where he is; honestly, it is impossible to understand where he stands. What a sad state of affairs.

I don't have any problem understanding the 1%. It makes perfect sense that people who will never ever need any sort of financial help are dead set against governments using money to assist those who do. After all, they'll never benefit, whereas that money could instead be going someplace where it could be filtering into their pockets. I get it, they're just greedy. Even if the money in question technically belongs to the people who are getting it back, even if it was only given to the government in trust, for later... it's still a big pot of money and they want to be allowed to grab it. That part's pretty simple.

What I don't understand at all is how anyone who isn't that rich and secure -- for themselves, and all their heirs, forever -- can be bamboozled into supporting this.

Well, that's not true. I DO understand, but it's pretty sad. Everyone who supports such a money grab and isn't in the 1% is being manipulated with unrelenting, near-ubiquitous control of their information sources. If a bit of actual truth happens to sneak by, it's going to be angrily rejected because it doesn't match the framework of truthiness.

I don't think anyone is getting rich off their Social Security. I believe most of those dollars go directly into the economy in the form of mortgages, taxes, groceries, clothing, doctor bills, sundries, pharmacies, etc. For many people SS is their only income. Should those payments be stopped, not only would many people lose their homes, but the economy would suffer.

For America to lose SS would show the world just how heartless and money-grubbing this country is.

Great post Ronni..should be republished in the AARP newsletter for all elders to read.

It's not really a surprise to me that Trunm has changed his mind once again.

He's an amoral, bigoted liar...no wonder he's been successful in politics.

I'm not a fan of Hillary but I will work for the Democrats no matter who is chosen to represent us, the minority of elder citizens who vote.

Elle In Beaverton

I second every single comment above.

SOME Canadians believe that if DT becomes the next POTUS, we won't be affected!

What the hell!!

Of course we will be affected, as will every other country that deals with the USA. We're all in this together.

Ronni, please get your post into AARP and everywhere possible.

I feel like kicking someone hard in the ass right now.

You all know who.

It chaps my butt that this hypocrite has the gall to call Hillary a liar! How can such a mental midget have such a huge following?

Hope everyone has their passports updated!

I've stopped being mad at Trump, and now I'm only mad at the people who support him. I suspect that , like the people who worship royalty and celebrities, these misguided souls hope that some of the glitter and wealth will rub off on them. I'd laugh about it, but the world will be sadly affected if he wins.

Agreeing that the real problem around Trump is the VERY distressing fact that he has accumulated a large number of supporters. My own belief is that they support him, not because of ANY of the content of what he says, but because they can relate to his tone of voice, his choice of vernacular, and his facial expressions and body language. They're thinking this guy sounds like them. It has NOTHING to do with anything logical at all. Pure gut. "This guy sounds like one of us." Needless to say . . . he's not.

I'd also like to add that I've seen news show after news show--including PBS--refer to Trump's "flexibility." It's not flexibility--it's self-contradiction. I so wish they'd quit using euphemisms to describe his completely off-the-wall statements.

All those in federal government positions, regardless of their party affiliation, want to either privatize Social Security or do away with Social Security altogether. These IDIOTS who advocate privatization/total elimination have ZILLIONS of dollars tucked away for their retirement/old age. They could CARE LESS if the everyday American, who, by the way, has paid into Social Security for an average of 40 long years, has NOTHING. In fact, most politicians WANT it that way!! DO NOT TRUST ANYTHING THE POLITICIANS TELL YOU WHEN IT COMES TO ANYTHING -- ESPECIALLY SOCIAL SECURITY! THEY ARE ALL LIARS! It is because of ALL POLITICIANS who have literally STOLEN from the Social Security Trust Fund FOR YEARS for their "pet projects" that Social Security (MAY) be in jeopardy. At least the politicians WANT us to THINK Social Security is "hanging by a thread." Americans MUST united NOW to SAVE SOCIAL SECURITY! Take time to talk about the long-term survival of Social Security with anybody and everybody who will listen NOW --lest our ESTEEMED politicians will either DRASTICALLY CUT Social Security benefits or TAKE SOCIAL SECURITY AWAY FROM the AMERICANS who PUT INTO THE TRUST FUND for their entire working life. THE TIME IS NOW!!!! DO NOT WAIT ANOTHER SINGLE MINUTE! Social Security belongs to THE AMERICAN WORKING PEOPLE -- and we (SHOULD) aim to keep it -- ALL OF IT!!!!!!

What the hell is wrong with all libtards? Same thing that is wrong with me.

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