The Club for Growth has released a new ad hitting both President Biden and former
President Trump for having the same plan to do nothing about the coming Social Security crisis. Under the current law, there will be an automatic 23% cut to Social Security payments within the next 10 years if the program remains unchanged.
“Both President Biden and former President Trump are clearly missing the ball when it comes to their approach on Social Security,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh. “While promising not to touch Social Security may sound like a good message, the reality is doing nothing is not an option and will slash the benefits of millions of Americans.”
Michael Ginsberg from the Daily Caller wrote an exclusive report covering the 30-second ad, titled “Promise.” The hard-hitting ad will run on Fox News in Palm Beach, Florida, and notes that both presidents’ refusal to consider reforms to the entitlement program will lead to automatic benefit cuts. The Social Security Trust Fund’s reserves will be depleted by 2033, according to the fund’s board of trustees, leading to a 23% cut in benefits. However, Republican and Democrat leaders have agreed that entitlements will not be reformed as part of debt ceiling negotiations.
“Social Security is not just a program: it’s a promise,” the narrator says in the ad, obtained first by the Daily Caller. “But Donald Trump’s plan? Same as Biden’s. What does that mean for you? Benefit cuts of 23%, triggered automatically in ten years or less by the Trump-Biden Social Security scheme. Seniors on fixed incomes. Americans nearing retirement staring down the barrel of financial catastrophe. That’s not what we were promised. Tell Trump and Biden: stop allowing cuts to Social Security.”
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other health insurance programs accounted for 46% of the federal budget in Fiscal Year 2022, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Social Security and healthcare spending are expected to double by 2033, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and will make up 81% of federal spending increases, reported Mr. Ginsberg.
“Promise” is a hard-hitting ad, but does it accurately reflect former President Trump’s position on Social Security?
Trump clearly sees a promise to leave Medicare and Social Security alone as a winning message, even though Trump’s past budgets haven’t exactly aligned with his argument against cutting entitlements. His fiscal 2021 budget, for example, sought steep safety net cuts, including tens of billions of dollars in reductions to Social Security benefits for disabled workers and Medicare changes designed to yield about $500 billion in savings without reducing benefits.
What’s more, Trump once backed raising the retirement age to 70 and called for privatizing Social Security which he called a “Ponzi scheme.” Trump made the comments in 2000 in a book he authored called “The America We Deserve,” when he was considering a third-party run for president as a member of the Reform Party.
In his book, Trump lamented big cuts the program would need without changes and said he would consider privatization.
“The truth is undeniable, the workers of America have been forced to invest a sixth of our wages into a huge Ponzi scheme,” Trump wrote. “The solution to the Great Social Security Crisis couldn’t be more obvious: Allow every American to dedicate some portion of their payroll taxes to a personal Social Security account that they could own and invest in stocks and bonds.”
As the debate over the future of entitlement programs including Social Security and Medicare has reignited with the fight over the debt ceiling in Washington, Trump has said that Republicans should not touch the programs.
This is a “reap what you sow” moment for former President Trump. The reality is that when, not if, the trust fund runs dry and Congress doesn't act, an automatic benefit cut of more than 20% would take effect.
And he knows it.
Trump’s campaign has dinged DeSantis for supporting a GOP budget proposal while he was in Congress that would have raised the retirement age to 70 to receive Social Security benefits, the problem is that Trump is doing a John Kerry, “I was for it before I was against it” play that the other candidates and potential candidates for President aren’t going to let him get away with.
We agree with former President Trump that the current debt ceiling debate isn’t the right time or vehicle to try to fix Social Security and Medicare.
However, hitting other Republicans for once espousing the same positions he once had only accomplishes three things: First, it guarantees other Republicans will put a lot of money behind ads like the Club for Growth’s “Promise” hitting Trump for his inaction or hypocrisy, and Second, it creates a verification by repetition cycle which all but guarantees low information voters will believe Democrat claims Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare, and finally, it guarantees talking about fixing Social Security, even without any cuts to benefits, will be toxic for another four years.
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