United States President Donald Trump is considering to slash Medicare and Social Security during his possible second term in the White House to tackle the ever-growing fiscal deficit, according to a report by the New York Times.
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"We've brought it up with President Trump, who has talked about it being a second-term project," Republican Senator John Barrasso said Wednesday, adding that his party has discussed cutting the two welfare programs and that the president has expressed openness to the idea.
In Trump’s proposed 2020 budget, officially titled "A Budget for a Better America", the president proposed that over the next ten years the U.S. would slash Medicaid by US$1.5 trillion, Medicare by US$845 billion, and Social Security by US$25 billion.
Another Republican Senator John Thune echoed Barrasso, saying it is "going to take presidential leadership to [cut Social Security and Medicare], and it's going to take courage by the Congress to make some hard votes. We can't keep kicking the can down the road."
Despite promising during his 2016 campaign that he would not touch the programs, Trump seems set to continue on a two-step plan based on the 2017 tax-cut bill. Something, Senator and Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, warned about two years ago.
"Mark my words: As soon as the Republican tax bill passes, Republicans are going to insist on cutting Medicare and Social Security to cut the deficit," said the progressive politician.
And as the federal budget deficit grows faster - it is expected to surpass US$1 trillion in 2020 partly due to Trump’s tax and commercial foreign policies - the GOP and right-wing groups will try to blame welfare programs in order to maintain benefits for the rich.
The deficit is the difference between the government's revenue through taxes and other sources such as international trade and what it spends.
"The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries," Republican Senator Marco Rubio said back in 2017, as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was debated.
However, an independent, non-partisan Congressional Research Service released a report on May 2019 showing that the 2017 tax cuts for the richest U.S. individuals and corporations did not work.
Non-financial corporations used most of their after-tax profits since the tax cuts went into effect to buy back their own shares and payout dividends, explained Christian Weller from Forbes. Instead of inserting the ‘extra’ money into the real economy.
"The Trump/GOP tax cuts for the wealthy will add over US$1.5 trillion in debt," said the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. "Now we know how they'll pay for those tax cuts, by cutting Social Security and Medicare."
According to the Washington Post, Trump has already "instructed aides to prepare for sweeping budget cuts if he wins a second term in the White House."
"Trump's advisers say he will be better positioned to crack down on spending and shrink or eliminate certain agencies after next year, particularly if Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives," the newspaper reported last month.