Eliminating Waste In The Ssdi Program
To begin with, each of President Trump’s federal budget proposals while in office have of the Social Security Disability Insurance program, which was providing benefits to nearly 9.8 million people, as of August 2020. This overhaul focused on eliminating wasteful spending within SSDI, as well as reducing retroactive benefits paid to eventually approved beneficiaries from a period of 12 months to six months.
Since presidential budget proposals estimate the economic impact of fiscal policy actions for a period of 10 years, Trump’s federal budgets were expected to reduce SSDI outlays by the following amounts over the subsequent decade :
- Fiscal 2020:$26 billion
- Fiscal 2021: $24 billion
There are two things worth noting here. First, these figures are a drop in the bucket relative to what Social Security is expected to outlay over the next decade. According to estimates, Social Security is estimated to expend more than $15 trillion, in aggregate, over the next 10 years. This means a $24 billion to $72 billion outlay reduction to resolve perceived inefficiencies in the SSDI program represents a mere fraction of total outlays.
Second, presidential budget proposals have historically represented nothing more than a starting point for more thorough budget discussions in Congress. This is to say that none of Trump’s four proposals were ever given much credence as concrete spending plans.
These Direct And Indirect Proposals Would Reduce Social Security’s Spending
Social Security, our nation’s most prized social program, is responsible for providing benefits to over 46 million retired workers each month and is singlehandedly pulling more than 15 million of those retirees out of poverty. It’s also a program that’s in some pretty big trouble.
Since 1985, the annually released Social Security Board of Trustees report has cautioned that the program’s long-term outlays wouldn’t cover projected revenue collection. As of 2020, Social Security’s unfunded obligations through 2094 had ballooned to a whopping $16.8 trillion. Without intervention from Capitol Hill, retired workers could face sweeping benefit cuts of up to 24%, beginning in 2035.
There’s no question Social Security needs some help, and that’s expected to start at the top, with President Trump. For the most part, Trump has maintained a hands-off approach with Social Security, choosing instead to indirectly influence the program by attempting to boost payroll tax collection via lower corporate and individual tax rates. But make no mistake about it — even though Trump has largely avoided calling for direct policy changes to Social Security, he’s previously suggested cutting benefits three separate ways.
President Trump speaking with White House reporters. Image source: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead.
How Urgent Is The Problem
The public already is pessimistic about Social Securitys future. A Pew Research Center study released last March found widespread worry among todays workers about the programs future 83 percent expected benefit cuts by the time they retire, and 42 percent did not expect to receive any benefits in retirement.
The public worry is understandable, but out of proportion, says Paul Van de Water, a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank. The odds that benefits are going to disappear are as close to zero as possible, he said. But the continual talk about the financial problems leads people to worry excessively about it.
Despite public sentiment and trust fund projections, the next president and Congress may not feel pressure to act during the next four years. Much will depend on the balance of control in Congress and the White House.
The more power Democrats have, the more likely it is that there will be action, said Ms. Altman of Social Security Works. If Republicans stay in power, they will try for a bipartisan solution, but Democrats wont go for benefit cuts.
If the problem is not solved before the 2035 depletion date gets near, experts note that odds will favor restoring solvency to the trust funds with new revenue rather than benefit cuts.
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Trump Brags About Covid
Trump spent a portion of his speech praising his response to the coronavirus, which has received scant mentions during the RNC this week while attempting to paint a rosy picture of it being a thing of the past.
He claimed his administration has pioneered treatments and America has among the lowest case fatality rates of any major country in the world. COVID-19 has killed tens of thousands of Americans from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Guam to the continental United States.
It has claimed the lives of more than 180,000 people in the U.S. since the end of February and has neared 6 million cases, according to an NBC News tally.
Administration Revives Previous Proposal To Cut Social Security Disability Programs
Under the heading “reform disability programs,” the budget blueprint counts $72 billion in spending reductions over 10 years. These would be from two similarly named but distinct programs run by the Social Security Administration — Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income .
SSDI benefits people with physical and mental conditions that are severe enough to permanently keep them from working. It is funded by Social Security payroll taxes. Meanwhile, SSI payments are limited to low-income Americans — senior citizens, or adults or children who are disabled or blind. The payments are funded through general revenue from the treasury.
“The largest cut would come from an unspecified proposal to test new approaches to increase labor force participation of people with disabilities,” said Benjamin W. Veghte, the vice president for policy at the National Academy of Social Insurance.
As we noted last year when we looked at this promise, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney has argued that putting forth this proposal doesn’t mean that Trump would be breaking his promise, because the budget proposal doesn’t cut from the Social Security retirement program.
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Will Trump Cut Social Security Benefits
By Diane Alter, Contributing Writer, Money MorningNovember 18, 2016
Or to contact Money Morning Customer Service, .
Will Trump cut Social Security benefits? That’s the big question keeping more than 46 million U.S. baby boomers up at night following the election of Donald Trump.
The 45th president of the United States pledged during his campaign to protect Social Security and maintain current Medicare programs when he takes the Oval Office in 2017.
“We’re not going to hurt the people who have been paying into Social Security their whole life,” Trump stated during his campaign. He said the payment of promised benefits amounts to “honoring a deal.”
The Republican president-elect said his plans to increase economic growth will take care of any long-term Social Security problems.
Trump has vowed to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure, reduce regulations plaguing the financial sector, and overhaul taxes.
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A recent Wall Street Journal survey of economists suggests Trump’s “proposals to reduce taxes and invest in infrastructure will amount to a substantial fiscal stimulus.” Barclays hiked its projections for 2017 growth in large part because of Trump’s promised tax cuts.
To date, Trump has not shared much about his Social Security plan. That has a lot of people worried, despite his campaign pledges.
He Wants To Keep The Program But Eliminate The Funding
Ive been having an ongoing debate with a friend over whether or not Trump will eliminate Social Security. As a loyal Trump supporter, she believes his assurances that he will not end or cut Social Security.
As someone who does not support Trump, I learned long ago not to believe anything that he says. Trump lies like he breathes, easily and regularly.
On the one hand, he says he will preserve Social Security while on the other hand, he has eliminated the funding for it by suspending the payroll tax that funds it. The suspension was supposed to be temporary, only through December 31, 2020, but Trump has announced that he will make it permanent if he is re-elected.
What my friend and others like her do not seem to understand is that Trump will keep the Social Security program on the books. He just will not fund it so those monthly payments that she and other retirees depend on, will shrink or even cease.
Instead of dedicated funding, Social Security will become a line item in the general budget, competing for funds with everything else. If you want to know what happens to an essential entitlement like Social Security when it becomes just another budget item, look across the pond to Great Britain and what happened to the NHS , its universal healthcare program.
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The Republican Obsession With Dismantling Social Security And Medicare
The Republicans are desperate to destroy Social Security and Medicare. These two programs demonstrate government at its best. The federal government runs these two extremely popular programs more efficiently, universally, securely, and effectively than the private sector does with its alternatives or indeed could, no matter how well those private sector programs were designed.
Because Social Security and Medicare are government programs that work so well, the Republican elite with its seemingly religious belief that the private sector is always the best hates them. So obsessed are the Republicans in their desire to eliminate these effective government programs that the very first action that House Republicans took in the new Congress was to adopt a rules package that included a new rule that amounts to a stealth attack on Social Security and Medicare.
The rules package, adopted at the start of every new Congress, sets out how the chamber will operate for the next two years. This years package is already infamous for provisions in the initial version that would have gutted the Office of Congressional Ethics provisions that were ultimately dropped after a massive outcry from the American people. Unnoticed by most was an additional provision, which is one part of the Republican game plan to destroy Social Security and Medicare.
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Trump Usually Includes New Material In Major Speeches Not Tonight
President Trump spoke for roughly 70 minutes on Thursday, one of the longest convention speeches in modern history.
But the speech contained almost nothing that Trump hasnt already said, falling back on lines one would expect to hear in any standard fair Trump stump speech or even a coronavirus briefing: the economy is doing great, Democrats are radicals, America is winning.
The speech didnt have one theme it was built around but rather contained an extensive and often repetitive review of Trumps actions in office and wide-ranging criticisms of Joe Biden. Trump’s address was roughly triple the length of Bidens convention speech.
The president is known to insert new material into his speeches on the trail. It just wasnt the case in one of the biggest speeches of his presidency.
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Trump Speech Missing Several Of His Favorite Talking Points
While President Trump launched attack after attack on Joe Biden, he left out a number of his favorite topics of criticism in his acceptance speech.
He made no mention of mail-in voting, which he has alleged, without evidence, will lead to widespread voter fraud and could prevent the country from ever knowing the result of the election. There is no evidence that mail-in voting is at risk for fraud.
Trump also avoided bringing up Bidens son Hunter, a line of attack his campaign believed at one point would be central to their takedown of Biden. He also made no mention of Bidens running mate Kamala Harris, who his campaign has struggled to find an effective way to criticize.
With protests raging outside the White House gates and in Wisconsin over racial injustice, Trump made only a passing mention of race and there was no mention of racism.
Trump Proposed Cuts But Congress Didnt Bite
As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to make no cuts to Social Security. As president, he has periodically proposed policies that would cut aspects of the program, but so far, none of them have been enacted.
Trump released a proposed budget for 2021, as he had in previous years, that advocated cutting two disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration: Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. Collectively, the two programs serve millions of Americans.
SSDI and SSI are separate from and smaller than the agency’s main retirement income program. SSDI benefits people with physical and mental conditions that are severe enough to permanently keep them from working. It is funded by Social Security payroll taxes. Meanwhile, SSI payments are limited to low-income Americans senior citizens, or adults or children who are disabled or blind. The payments are funded through general revenue from the Treasury.
Trump’s actions very well should have earned him a Promise Broken. He tried multiple times to break his own promise. But our promise meters are about outcomes. We’ve gotten complaints over the years about promises that couldn’t happen because they were blocked by Congress, but we repeatedly rated them on the outcome.
In this case, a Promise Broken rating would suggest that seniors had their Social Security benefits cut. But that isn’t the case.
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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.