Running as a presidential candidate, Donald Trump vowed not to tamper with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. President Trump seems to have done a reversal and now appears willing to make reductions in the three most important elements of the American social safety net.
The Trump administration has released a budget that goes along with the desire of Republicans in the U.S. Congress to reduce federal spending by some $10 trillion over a period of 10 years. This will require reductions in the three primary social programs and in a number of other areas. If he signs into law the budget plan, Trump will be breaking a major campaign promise.
His commitment was clearly stated last year at a debate featuring Republican presidential candidates, in which he expressed his intention to leave “as is” the Social Security program. In an address to the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank, Trump further stated that he would not make cuts in Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly, or in Medicaid, which is designed to serve the medical needs of low-income Americans.
The new budget was issued by the Heritage Foundation in a summary published online. One analysis showed the reductions to be 47 percent in the Medicaid program, 41 percent in Medicare and 8 percent in Social Security.
Further cuts are planned in the financing of the National Endowment of the Arts and Humanities, a federal agency, in certain government departments and in programs designed to help the victims of domestic violence. The plan also included the privatization of the Public Broadcasting Service. One area that will see few cuts is defense, with a proposed reduction in spending of only 1 percent.
Further to his speech at the Heritage Foundation, Trump distanced himself from other Republicans who he said supported cuts in social programs. He accused members of his own party of not knowing how to make cuts because they do not know “where the money is,” but added, “I do.”