The Trump administration is concerned about the impact that the battle against COVID-19 is taking on the nation’s debt. Democrats have been leaning on the expression, “actions speak louder than words,” and calling out the Trump administration for not protecting safety-net programs for seniors. President Trump’s 2021 budget proposes severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other senior supportive programs.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for the brakes to be applied to further stimulus measures because of concerns about the federal budget. Nancy Pelosi has other plans, as she is soon to announce her ‘Rooseveltian’ relief package to Congress. There is great bipartisan tension in Congress over the economic response to the coronavirus.
Damage to Social Security
At the core, the Trump administration proposal to use Social Security to fund stimulus benefits that would effectively relieve the wealthiest Americans from their responsibility to aid the battle against a pandemic, leaving the middle- and lower-income workers to bear the cost of the fight against COVID-19.
The president’s budget would harm senior Americans by cutting:
- Social Security Disability Insurance, which is the largest Federal program that provides assistance to people with disabilities that million of Americans depend on.
- Funding of almost $500 billion in Medicare spending over 10 years, mainly by reducing payments to healthcare providers. This would mean that fewer providers will be willing to accept Medicare patients.
- Medicaid, which pays for medical and nursing home care for millions of needy senior citizens. Long-term elder care is simply unaffordable for most families.
- Food stamps, 40 million Americans depend on to feed their families, of which 2 million are above the age of 60.
- Senior aid programs, such as Meals on Wheels that help seniors stay in their homes amid COVID-19
Reminder: Social Security is not solely a retirement plan. It is economic security for millions of Americans—retirees, disabled persons, and families of retired, disabled, or deceased workers. About 169 million Americans pay Social Security taxes and 61 million collect monthly benefits. About one out of four families receives income from Social Security. Here you will find the rising statistics of Americans depending on Social Security during this pandemic.
Social Security advocates up in arms
“These ideas represent a gross misuse of Social Security for purposes unrelated to its core purpose: providing baseline retirement security for American workers,” asserts the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
Trump, a senior himself at age 73, shows little empathy in his actions towards the safety-net programs for older people.
Proposals to prepay Social Security benefits misconstrue how the program is designed. As Alex Lawson, executive director of the advocacy group Social Security Works phrased it, “Social Security is an earned insurance benefit. It is not a piggy bank.”