President Trump came into Washington as a bull in a China shop, whether you love him or hate him. As such, he literally threatens to “upset the apple-cart” on just about every establishment point of there. Needless to say, for many who are relying on these establishment points of view, they are worried.
Now, I am not here to focus on whether or not Trump is “draining the swamp” as he put it. I will let others bloviate about this.
But as an advocate for seniors, one of the things I have been watching carefully has been the effect of President Trump’s policies on seniors and most of all on the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid systems they rely on.
I have previously written in the campaign season about Trump’s policy promises as a candidate, his meeting with pharmaceutical manufacturers regarding the cost of prescription drugs and potential Social Security changes under Trump.
That last article, discussing the confirmation hearing of Mick Mulvaney as Budget Director, was probably the most worrisome of all of the news for many senior advocates. You see, Mulvaney is a budget hawk, to say the least. He has been on record in the past as saying that there have to be fundamental changes to Medicare and Social Security for both programs to survive. As I put it in the article (and this is my analysis)…
“If ANYONE has been paying attention, they understand that both Social Security and Medicare are living on borrowed time. Depending upon the estimate you find, both programs are in the hole from $50,000,000,000,000 – $100,000,000,000,000 dollars. By the way, that’s 50 TRILLION to 100 TRILLION dollars in unfunded liabilities.
It is fundamentally impossible to shore up these programs with additional taxes alone. The quicker we come to that realization that better.”
That is my take as a 46-year old who knows those programs won’t be around for me. I understand that and am taking action to prepare myself. But what of all the others out there?
What this country needs is someone with political courage to point out the facts to the American people and make the changes NOW, because the sooner we fix this the less pain we will all experience. But what do we get instead?
We get Trump’s first budget proposal, which will spare these programs from any cuts now. On the surface, this sounds wonderful, but as the Yahoo! Finance article explains, Social Security and Medicare are living on borrowed time and don’t need a “kick the can down the road approach”. They need real leadership and moral courage to fix.
Instead, what will we be getting from this first budget proposal…
- No entitlement cuts
- Plans to cut middle class taxes
- Simplify the tax code
- Spend an extra $56,000,000,000 on Defense
All of these may be great talking points but they leave serious questions to address…
- With all of the entitlement programs hurtling towards bankruptcy, what measures will be taken to fix the massive amount of unfunded liabilities in these programs (currently estimated at up to $100,000,000,000,000 [that’s trillion])
- How are we going to cut taxes and spend more on Defense without exploding the debt even further?
- I am all for a strong defense but an extra $56,000,000,000 (billion)? If you list all the countries by military expenditure, the United Kingdom comes in #5 in world expenditure with $55,000,000,000 TOTAL.
By contrast, Russia spends $66 billion TOTAL, Saudi Arabia $87 billion and China about $215 billion.
This is a colossal amount of money and with the current state of our economy one must wonder if that money could be better allocated.
Which brings me back to Social Security, Medicare and such. There will be no cuts this year, or likely throughout a Trump Administration. This is obviously a good thing short-term. A promise was made many years ago by the government to those retiring today and it should be kept.
What I worry about, as I have studied these programs more and more, is that they are ticking time bombs, and when they eventually turn negative, as every single government report indicates they will, the results will be devastating. But for the moment, all will continue as is. And that’s the problem.