From Staff and Wire Reports
President Donald Trump is at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. But while he spent his time there touting sustained growth in the American economy as well as his recent trade agreements, he suggested he would be willing to consider cuts to programs such as Medicare to reduce the federal deficit if he wins a second term.
In an interview with CNBC’s Joe Kernen, Trump said possible cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare would be on the table “at some point.”
The president did not say specifically whether Social Security cuts also would be under consideration later this year or what part of Medicare he would be willing to cut.
Trump’s last budget proposal called for a total of $1.9 trillion in cost savings from mandatory safety-net programs, like Medicaid and Medicare. It also called for spending $26 billion less on Social Security programs, including a $10 billion cut to the Social Security Disability Insurance program.
Spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is expected to cost the federal government more than $30 trillion through 2029, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
After the interview was made public, Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, issued a statement condemning any planned cuts to Social Security or Medicare.
“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.
“Social Security is the only source of income for 4 in 10 older Americans. For even more retirees, Social Security provides 90% of their income. These modest earned retirement benefits average just $1,461 per month for a retired worker.
“Retirees need help, not a slap in the face. We should be working to expand Social Security and increasing benefits for current and future retirees. This can be accomplished by making the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share by lifting the arbitrary payroll tax cap.
“We can strengthen and expand Medicare by finally reining in high drug prices, which are the biggest driver of Medicare costs. H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act passed by the House of Representatives last year, would save taxpayers billions of dollars, cap out of pocket drug spending at $2,000 per year for retirees and add hearing, dental and vision benefits to Medicare."