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Is Trump Trying To Cut Social Security

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The Claim: President Donald Trump Promised To ‘terminate’ Social Security If He Is Reelected

Joe Biden tried to cut Social Security and Medicare for decades!

Recent posts from Social Security Works a nonprofit focused on expanding Social Security, improving Medicare and lowering the cost of prescription drugs claim that President Donald Trump will end Social Security if he is reelected.

“Donald Trump says he will ‘terminate’ Social Security if reelected,” a post on Monday reads. “A vote for Trump is a vote to destroy our social security system.”

“Millions of seniors and people with disabilities struggle to make ends meet,” another post from the same day reads. “Yet Donald Trump says he will ‘terminate’ Social Security if reelected. That’s a disastrous plan.”

The posts come after Trump signed a series of executive orders on Aug. 8 intended to provide relief from the detrimental economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

More:Trump again threatens executive orders to extend benefits after stimulus talks fall apart

Potential Problems With The Executive Order

The executive order only defers Social Security payroll taxes it doesn’t eliminate them. The tax will have to be withheld and paid gradually from paychecks issued between January 1, 2021, and April 30, 2021. It would take Congressional action to actually wipe out the tax debt.

Mnuchin has also acknowledged that the president’s order doesn’t force businesses to stop withholding the tax. As a result, many private employers continue to withhold Social Security payroll taxes from their workers’ paychecks. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 32 other U.S. business organizations said that “many of our members will likely decline to implement deferral, choosing instead to continue to withhold and remit to the government the payroll taxes required by law.” That means no bump in workers’ take-home pay.

The president’s order also directs the Secretary of the Treasury to “explore avenues, including legislation, to eliminate the obligation to pay the taxes deferred,” and Trump said he would “terminate” the suspended taxes if he’s re-elected. But at this point there’s no telling if the eventual payment of the deferred taxes will ultimately be avoided.

Federal Policy On Social Security 2017

Cabinet White House staff Transition team
Policy positions
Polling indexes: Opinion polling during the Trump administration

The Congressional Budget Office projected in December 2016 that Social Security’s trust funds would be depleted by 2029, leading to a 29 percent reduction in benefits in 2030 to keep the program solvent. In its annual report in 2016, the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees estimated the timeframe for insolvency would be slightly longer, with the trust funds being exhausted in 2034.

Social Security, which pays out retirement and disability benefits for workers and their families, cost $905 billion in 2016 and accounted for nearly one-quarter of federal spending that fiscal year. Because of the program’s expense and projected insolvencyas well as the growing population of senior citizens in the was frequently discussed during the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump described himself on the campaign trail as “probably…the only Republican that doesn’t want to cut Social Security.” Trump named several individuals to serve on his transition team and in his administration, however, who support the privatization of Social Security, including former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney .

This page tracked major events and policy positions of the Trump administration on social security from 2017 and 2018. This page was updated through 2018.Think something is missing? Please email us at .

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President Trump Wont Destroy Social Securitybut Hes Not Going To Save It

AFP via Getty Images

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

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.

Trumps Plan To Defund Social Security

AP FACT CHECK: Trump payroll tax cut is Social Security risk

Permanently terminating the employee payroll tax along the lines President Trump has proposed would empty Social Securitys trust fund by 2026 or earlier.

On August 8, at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, President Donald Trump announced that his administration is seeking to delay much of the payroll tax that funds Social Security1 of 4 unilateral actions he took in lieu of negotiating with Congress on meaningful economic relief legislation. The president also said that if he is reelected, he wants not only to turn the delay into a tax cut that would result in significant revenue losses for Social Security, but also to eliminate employee payroll taxes for good. As our analysis based on the Social Security trustees projections shows, eliminating employee payroll taxes along the lines that the president has proposed would, absent additional action, completely exhaust the Social Security trust fund by 2026 or earlier and result in steep benefit cuts.

65 million

people receive Social Security.

This would drain about $350$450 billion in payroll tax revenue in 2021 and more in later years.


The percentage of promised benefits recipients would receive in Social Security if the trust fund is exhausted

Based on the latest Social Security trustees projections, we estimate:

Seth Hanlon and Christian E. Weller are senior fellows at the Center for American Progress.

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Trump Is Taking Aim At Social Security

The presidents budget proposals each year have sought large cuts in funding for Social Security disability. His 2021 budget proposal talks about a need to reduce the rate of increase in Social Security payments.

This should not come as a surprise. When he first ran for president, in 2000, he said he wanted to privatize Social Security, calling it a Ponzi scheme. He wanted to eliminate guaranteed benefits, and have people gamble on the stock market instead. He also promoted raising the age of full benefits up to 70.

After starting to serve as president in 2017, his budget proposals each year have sought large cuts in funding for Social Security disability. His latest one, for fiscal year 2021, seeks $75 billion in cuts for recipients of Social Security Disability , over 10 years. This includes $10 billion in benefit cuts, plus plans to reduce the number of people enrolled by about 5 percent. That would be accomplished with harsher work rules that determine who can qualify. Another cut is to lower the initial retroactive benefit that people get when they first go on Social Security Disability. It currently is 12 months retroactive, but Trump wants to reduce it to six months.

Sought cuts for administrative expenses

His budgets have also included cuts for Social Securitys administrative expenses. That translates into fewer offices, shorter hours, fewer staff, and longer times to process applications to get on Social Security, or even to get answers to simple questions.

Trump Has Tossed Around A Number Of Surprising Solutions

Of course, it’s also important to understand that Trump’s views on Social Security have changed considerably over time, and he has, on occasion, tossed around a number of ideas that you may find surprising.

Back in 2000, in his book The America We Deserve, Trump proposed the idea of a one-time 14.25% tax on individuals with a net worth of more than $10 million. In Trump’s view, this one-time tax would have allowed the federal government to collect enough revenue to pay off its national debt , saving it $200 billion annually on interest payments. Trump proposed taking $100 billion of this $200 billion in annual savings and adding it to the Social Security program over a 10-year time frame.

Donald Trump has also loosely tossed around the idea of means-testing for benefits. Means-testing would partially reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits once an individual or couple crosses above a preset earnings threshold. Since Social Security was designed to predominantly protect low-income workers during retirement, such a move would ensure that the rich aren’t receiving payments they don’t need.

Trump even once offered up the idea of partially privatizing Social Security — a view he now steers clear of. In The America We Deserve, Trump suggests that workers have the option of utilizing personal accounts to invest in stocks, bonds, diversified mutual funds, and bonds funds.

The point being that Trump may be more open to a middle-ground solution than most folks realize.

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Is Trump Defunding Social Security And Medicare Concerns Mount After President’s Executive Order

President Donald Trump’s Saturday decision to sign an executive order to defer payroll taxes has fueled concerns that he is attempting to defund Social Security and Medicare, with the latest order drawing criticism from conservatives and liberals alike.

“First one is on providing a payroll tax holiday to Americans earning less than $100,000 per year,” the president said during a Saturday press briefing. “In a few moments, I will sign a directive, instructing the Treasury Department to allow employers to defer payment of the employee portion of certain payroll taxes…”

Trump said that he would make the temporary tax deferral permanent if he was re-elected in November. “So I’m going to make them all permanent,” he said.

Notably, this is not a tax cut. Under the wording of the executive order, the payments would simply be deferred until next year unless further actions were taken.

Whether Trump’s executive orders, which also provided an extension of extra federal unemployment benefits at a reduced rate of $400 per month, will withstand legal scrutiny is a matter of debate. His decision came as Republicans and Democrats in Congress remained at an impasse over a new round of coronavirus economic stimulus legislation. Under the Constitution, Congress, not the Executive Branch, is granted power over spending federal funds.

Trump Keeps Proposing Entitlement Cuts And Then Denying That He Did So

Trump Vows To Protect Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid

In 2015 and 16, Trump differentiated himself from the rest of the Republican presidential hopefuls by campaigning on a vow to not cut entitlements.

Im not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and Im not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid, Trump told the Daily Signal, a conservative publication affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, in 2015.

As his budget proposals indicate, this promise was an empty one. Trump, however, seems to realize that cutting entitlements is a political loser for him, and as a result has continued to make assertions about preserving them that are at odds with reality.

All Republicans support people with pre-existing conditions, and if they dont, they will after I speak to them. I am in total support. Also, Democrats will destroy your Medicare, and I will keep it healthy and well!

Donald J. Trump

Last month, however, Trump seemed to have a moment of radical honesty when he told CNBC during an interview conducted in Davos that at some point entitlement cuts will be on the table.

CNBC: Will entitlements ever be on your plate ?TRUMP: “At some point they will be”CNBC: But you said you wouldn’t do that in the pastTRUMP: “We also have assets that we never had”

Aaron Rupar

Those comments created a negative stir, so the very next day Trump tried to walk them back.

Democrats are going to destroy your Social Security. I have totally left it alone, as promised, and will save it!

Donald J. Trump

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Trump Is Lying His Budget Proposal Does Cut Social Security

Donald Trump lies about everything from the size of his inauguration crowds to his promise to provide great health care for a fraction of the price to every person in America. So, its no surprise that Trump is lying when his Administration says his just-released budget proposal doesnt cut Social Security. In fact, it cuts billions from that vital program.

There is good reason that he is covering up the truth. The truth is a complete contradiction of his repeated campaign promise not to cut Social Security. He bragged that his refusal to cut Social Security differentiated him from his Republican Primary rivals, who had their knives at the ready. His voters tend to be older and more rural. They will be hit the hardest by his duplicity.

Trumps Administration is seeking to cover up the breaking of this key promise by claiming that Social Security disability insurance, which the budget cuts, is not really Social Security, or, at least, not an important part of Social Security protection though it has been part of working families earned Social Security benefits for more than six decades and is the nations most important protection for working families hit with work-ending disabilities!

His voters tend to be older and more rural. They will be hit the hardest by his duplicity.

Dont believe the lie that the cuts to Social Security disability insurance are simply designed to help people return to work.

Column: A Republican Senator Hints At Gutting Social Security Behind Closed Doors

GOP Sen. Joni Ernst wants to reform Social Security in secret, an indication that the public wont like the result

Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, he said in one appearance. They want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid. And we cant do that. And its not fair to the people that have been paying in for years. Just before election day 2016, he claimed: Hillary Clinton is going to destroy your Social Security and Medicare. … I am going to protect and save your Social Security and your Medicare.

Cutting benefits has been part of Republican orthodoxy for decades, but the drumbeat has gotten louder. In September, Sen. Joni Ernst talked about the need to go behind closed doors to reform Social Security, because its clear that the American public wont stand for it being done in the open. A year earlier, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell labeled Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid so-called entitlements the real drivers of the debt and called for them to be adjusted to the demographics of the future.

Its worth noting that proposals to cut social insurance benefits are certain to be dead on arrival as long as Democrats control at least one chamber of Congress, as they do currently. Indeed, the Democratic Party, through its representatives in Congress and its candidates for president, has shown itself to be strongly in favor of expanding and increasing Social Security benefits, not cutting them back.

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The Biden Campaigns Questionable Social Security Claims

The Biden camp justifies its claims about President Trumps proposed cuts to Social Security by pointing to the Trump administrations recent efforts to implement a payroll tax holiday as part of the ongoing efforts to blunt the economic impact of Covid-19. Payroll taxes help fund Social Security, but they are not synonymous with the program.

In August, the CARES Acts supplemental $600 weekly unemployment benefit ran out. Negotiations for a second stimulus package among the White House, the House Democrats and the Senate Republicans were going nowhere fast. In response to the deadlock in Congress, President Trump enacted a payroll tax holiday by executive order.

Ending the payroll tax has been something of a pet goal for President Trump, even though economists say it wont do much to alleviate the pain endured by laid-off workers.

At the end of the year, the assumption that I win, Im going to terminate the payroll tax, which is another thing that some of the great economists would like to see done, Trump said in mid-August. His political team tried to clarify and massage those comments later, saying Trump was referring to his executive order to defer payroll taxes.

At the end of August, the chief actuary at the Social Security Administration penned a letter saying that removing payroll taxes would cause funding for Social Security to run dry by the middle of 2023.

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.

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