Trump’s stance on Social Security debated by committee

The president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), Maya MacGuineas accused President Trump of having a “backward” approach to addressing a rapidly dwindling Social Security trust fund that could be depleted by 2034, according to a new report.

MacGuineas wrote in a Time magazine op-ed:

“Totally eliminating all improper Social Security payments would buy the trust fund only about four months of solvency—less than a rounding error. Meanwhile, higher economic growth would simply mean delaying the program’s shortfalls rather than solving them, since higher growth translates into higher benefits.”

On Thursday, Social Security trustees released their latest annual report on the state of the program, reaffirming the notion that the trust fund will be tapped out in 2034.

When that occurs, revenues are projected to only cover about 77 percent of the benefits and would continue to decline in subsequent years.

While the projection does not deviate from last year’s annual report, trustees are now warning that devastating and long-term challenges could result if changes are not made to pay for the program.

To avoid massively disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers, trustees and other watchdog groups are pleading with lawmakers to act swiftly to find a solution.

“By the time these programs’ trust funds are depleted, it will be too late to shield vulnerable program participants from substantial harm,” Charles Blahous of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University told reporters.

MacGuineas wrote in her op-ed: “Social Security insolvency is no longer a problem only for future generations — without action, current workers and even current retirees will face a 23% across the board cut in just 17 years.” She continued, “That is when today’s 50-year-olds reach the normal retirement age and today’s youngest retirees turn 79.”

Some highlights of the Social Security program:

  • Establishing a new eligibility age requirement
  • Changing income requirements of recipients
  • Raising the cap on earnings subject to the payroll taxes that fund the program

The CRFB president also attacked Trump’s position on Social Security saying, “The President’s logic is backward. He is not saving Social Security by leaving it alone — he is ensuring its demise.”

Trump often touted on the presidential campaign trail that he would not touch benefits despite conservatives within his own party pressing him to reconsider his stance.

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