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  • Some 65 million people, or more than 1 in every 6 U.S. residents, collect Social Security benefits monthly.

    Some 65 million people, or more than 1 in every 6 U.S. residents, collect Social Security benefits monthly. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 January 2020
Opinion

As a presidential candidate in 2016, Trump had promised not to cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.

While in the resort village of Davos, Switzerland, attending the World Economic Forum's summit along with the world’s leaders and businessmen, United States President Donald Trump said Wednesday in an interview with CNBC that he would consider cutting key social programs if re-elected to a second term.

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The comments were not reported by the news outlet in the initial write up of the exchange but were found in the interview’s transcript

To a question by journalist Joe Kernen about “the entitlements” Trump’s answer suggests that he is prepared to revamp entitlement programs including Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

The President says that he “will look at that,” and adds that tackling the social programs “is actually the easiest of all things.”

Then, he goes on explaining that higher economic growth would permit and simplify the cutting of those social spendings.

Reactions from the advocates of these programs, which benefit to nearly 65 million people in the U.S., were not long in coming.

"After a day of hobnobbing with billionaires in Davos, President Trump publicly revealed that cuts to earned Medicare and Social Security benefits will be on the table as soon as the end of this year," said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in a statement. 

"The cruel irony of this scene cannot be overstated."

"While Davos billionaires may not understand the importance of Social Security and Medicare, millions of Americans who rely on the health and retirement benefits they have earned through a lifetime of hard work do," added Fiesta. 

"Social Security and Medicare are vital for a secure retirement. Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world. This burden and affording other basic necessities make it harder for retirees to make ends meet. Cutting Social Security and Medicare would be a cruel disaster."

As a presidential candidate in 2016, Trump promised not to cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, a position that distinguished him from the rest of the Republican Party candidates.

However, His budget proposals as president, have called for reductions in Medicare and big changes to Medicaid spending, while he is also seeking curbs to Social Security programs.

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