Trump Quietly Moves To Kick More People Off Social Security Disability
The U.S. government pays disability benefits to people with a serious condition that leaves them unable to work full time. But the Trump administration has been trying to cut the number of people on the program for a while, and now Trump is planning to redefine full-time work as 30 hours per week for purposes of determining whether someone is disabled. Many people would lose their meager benefits as a result. Via Huffington Post:
The tighter eligibility standard, which has not been previously reported, is part of a draft rule that, if finalized, would bring sweeping changes to the Social Security Disability Insurance program. It would follow multiple other efforts by the Trump administration to cut social programs that help people afford food, health care and housing.
Shifting the standard from 40 hours to 30 hours would definitely lead to fewer disability benefit awards, said Kathleen Romig, a disability policy expert with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which opposes disability cuts.
The full draft rule, which has not been formally released yet, is the culmination of years of work by the Social Security Administration to update its data on the U.S. labor market and years of grumbling by Republicans and right-wing think tanks about how disability benefits coddle people who supposedly could get jobs.
President Trump Wont Destroy Social Securitybut Hes Not Going To Save It
Former Vice President Joe Biden is running campaign ads that claim President Trump signed an executive action directing funding cuts for Social Security and proposed slashing hundreds of billions of dollars from the Social Security Trust Fund every year.
The problem is, however, that this just isnt so.
A Biden campaign TV ad falsely claims that a government analysis of President Donald Trumps planned cuts to Social Security shows that if Trump gets his way, Social Security benefits will run out in just three years from now, says FactCheck.org.
The cliche politics aint beanbag exists for a reason: Campaigns use overhyped rhetoric to distort their opponents positions and make them appear less electable. Seniors should rest easy and understand that their Social Security benefits arent going anywhere.
But this dynamic of misleading charges belies a more fundamental problem: Something will eventually need to be done to buttress Social Securitys finances. Episodes like this dont bode well for future attempts to reform Social Security.
President Trump’s Views On America’s Most Important Social Program Have Changed Considerably Over Time
In approximately 17 months, Americans will go to the polls to decide who should lead our great country for the next four years. On one side of the aisle are nearly two dozen declared, or expected-to-declare, candidates for the Democratic ticket. On the other is incumbent Donald Trump, who announced last week that he’d be seeking his second term as president under the Republican ticket in 2020.
While there are no shortage of issues that concern the American public heading into this election, perhaps none impacts more folks, especially our nation’s elderly, than the long-term well-being of Social Security.
Donald Trump signing paperwork at his desk in the Oval Office. Image source: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead.
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Our Rating: Partly False
Based on our research, the claim that Trump said he will “terminate” Social Security if he is reelected is PARTLY FALSE. Trump recently signed an order offering temporary relief from the payroll tax that funds Social Security, and he has repeatedly said he’d terminate the tax entirely if he’s reelected.
But ending the tax that pays for Social Security and ending the Social Security program itself are not the same. When asked, Trump said he the measures would have “zero impact” on Social Security, and he said he’d “protect” the program. And it’s true that he could advocate an alternate source of funding, like the general fund although it would have to go through Congress first.
Trump White House Claim The Tax Relief Will Not Impact Social Security
On Sunday, as he boarded Marine One, Trump told reporters that the executive order deferring payroll taxes for some Americans will “have zero impact on Social Security.”
“We protect Social Security,” he added, according to Fox News.
An official from the White House told USA TODAY on Tuesday that the Social Security Trust Fund is not at risk, since payment deferral is only temporary, and at present, must be paid back early in 2021. The official confirmed, though, that the president called on Congress to make the deferral permanent, thereby eliminating the tax.
Garrett Watson, a senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy think tank, told USA TODAY that eliminating the tax is not the same as eliminating Social Security.
“Strictly speaking, Social Security could be funded using general fund revenue or alternative revenue source, so terminating a tax and terminating a program are distinct things,” he wrote in an email.
“However, it would be reasonable to ask what would happen with the program absent an alternative plan to fund it,” Watson added.
On Wednesday, Trump suggested an alternate source for the first time the general fund of government revenues per Fox Business.
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Trump Once Proposed Taxing The Rich As A Roundabout Way Of Shoring Up The Program
Despite using the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as a means to improve Social Security’s well-being today, in 2000, in The America We Deserve, Trump proposed the idea of imposing a one-time 14.25% tax on individuals and trusts with a net worth of over $10 million. According to Trump’s calculations, this would have raised $5.7 trillion, allowing the U.S. to pay off its then-entire national debt, saving the government $200 billion a year on interest payments.
With $200 billion in annual savings in hand, Trump proposed $1 trillion in tax cuts for middle-class working families over 10 years , and taking the other $100 billion and adding it to Social Security’s asset reserves. By his assessment, Social Security would have $3 trillion in reserves by 2030, and be solvent for the next century.
Everything You Need To Know About Trump’s Views On Social Security
According to the newest report from the Social Security Board of Trustees, the $2.9 trillion in asset reserves that have been built up since the program’s inception more than eight decades ago are expected to be completely exhausted by the year 2035. This expected net cash flow, which is forecast to begin in 2020 and grow in size with each subsequent year, is the result of a multitude of ongoing demographic changes, as well as inaction on the part of lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Should Congress fail to act, then-current and future retirees could see their monthly retired worker checks cut by as much as 23%.
Because of Social Security’s known importance — 62% of current retirees lean on their monthly benefit for at least half of their income — it pays for the American public to understand how each candidate, including the sitting president, views the program and potential solutions. With that being said, here are nine things you should know about Donald Trump’s views on America’s greatest social program.
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Aligned With Core Gop Ideology Trump Has Proposed Very Modest Cuts To Ssdi
Last, but not least, Trump has partially broken his campaign promise of not touching Social Security by proposing cuts to the Social Security Disability Insurance program in his fiscal 2020 budget. Contained in the president’s budget proposal was a $26 billion reduction to Social Security over the next 10 years, primarily from SSDI.
Then again, this wasn’t the first time Trump proposed budgetary cuts to Social Security. In the president’s 2018 budget, he proposed $72 billion in cuts to Social Security, most of which were again directed at SSDI.
Although presidential budget proposals are more of a talking point than final-word legislation, it nevertheless demonstrates that Trump’s current thinking likely aligns with the core Republican ideology of fixing Social Security’s long-term problems by reducing expenditures over time.
And that, folks, is everything you need to know about Donald Trump’s views on Social Security.
Is The Media So Jaded It Barely Noticed That Trump Just Proposed Bankrupting Social Security And Medicare Too
By Dan Froomkin
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House on July 16, 2020 in Washington, DC.
I get it. They’re tired. And it’s hard to summon outrage anymore.
But still, there’s no excuse for the lackluster reporting from major news organizations about Donald Trump’s announcement on Saturday evening that he wants to permanently eliminate the payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare.
Decoupling Social Security’s funding from the payroll tax would either drain it of money or, at best, make it subject to the year-to-year political whims and gamesmanship of Congress and the president.
To defenders of the social safety net, Trump’s call was clearly an act of war.
And you might think that political reporters would take notice when a president seizes with both hands what has historically been called the “third rail of American politics.”
But to our major news organizations, it was just another day in Trumpland.
Among several other actions, Trump on Saturday released a memo calling for the deferral of four months of payroll taxes starting in September. He also : “If I’m victorious on Nov. 3, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax. So I’m going to make them all permanent.”
Where’s the outrage?
Like that’s a good thing.
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Despite Promises Trump Takes Aim At Social Security Medicare
“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” Donald Trump in 2015. “Every other Republican’s going to cut, and even if they wouldn’t, they don’t know what to do because they don’t know where the money is. I do. I do.”
As regular readers may recall, this became a staple of his entire national candidacy: no matter what, Americans could count on him to champion these social-insurance programs. Ahead of the 2016 race, Trump wanted everyone to know that entitlement cuts, as far as he was concerned, are off the table.
A few weeks ago, however, the Republican started hedging. Over the weekend, referring to the new White House budget, Trump’s promise not to cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid quietly lost one of its three pillars. He tweeted, “We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget.”
Part of the problem is that the president quietly scrapped a prong from his three-pronged promise. The other part of the problem is that Trump’s newest boast isn’t true, either. As the Washington Postreported:
According to Republican rhetoric from the last decade, removing nearly a half-trillion dollars from Medicare through cuts to providers necessarily counts as “cutting” Medicare.
Don’t be surprised if Democrats exploit this opportunity for the next several months.
Fact Check: Trump Payroll Tax Cut Is Social Security Risk
Baltimore President Donald Trumps proposed payroll tax cut is a threat to Social Security no matter how he casts it.
During a news conference Wednesday, he insisted he could eliminate the tax if he were reelected, and do it without undercutting retirement benefits or greatly adding to the deficit. He said economic growth would offset the revenue losses.
That claim has little basis in reality.
He also pointed to a manufacturing boom during the coronavirus pandemic but there isnt one.
A look at some of his economic claims:
TRUMP: At the end of the year, the assumption that I win, Im going to terminate the payroll tax Well be paying into Social Security through the General Fund.
THE FACTS: Trump, in effect, has endorsed defunding Social Security by not providing an alternative source of revenues.
The risk is that this could destabilize an anti-poverty program that provides payments to roughly 65 million Americans. It also could force people to cut back on the spending that drives growth so they can save for their own retirement and health care needs if they believe the government backstop is in jeopardy.
A 12.4% payroll tax split between employers and workers funds Social Security, while a 2.9% payroll tax finances Medicare. These taxes raised $1.24 trillion last year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Over a 10-year period, Trumps idea would blow a $16.1 trillion hole in a U.S. budget that is already laden with rising debt loads.
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