Despite Donald Trump’s desperate attempts to point fingers at everyone but himself for threatening to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, new reporting exposes just how extreme Trump’s OWN record is on these essential programs. On top of proposing cuts every single year he was in office, Trump has also called to privatize Social Security and raise the retirement age, and unabashedly praised Paul Ryan as he pushed plans to end Medicare as we know it.
Key Point: In his book, Trump lamented big cuts the program would need without changes, and said he would consider privatization. “The truth is undeniable, the workers of America have been forced to invest a sixth of our wages into a huge Ponzi scheme,” Trump wrote. “The solution to the Great Social Security Crisis couldn’t be more obvious: Allow every American to dedicate some portion of their payroll taxes to a personal Social Security account that they could own and invest in stocks and bonds.” “We can also raise the age for receipt of full Social Security benefits to seventy,” he wrote.
CNN: Trump previously backed policies on Social Security for which he’s now attacking DeSantis, calling the program a ‘Ponzi scheme’
By Andrew Kaczynski
April 27, 2023
- Former President Donald Trump once backed raising the retirement age to 70 and called for privatizing Social Security which he called a “Ponzi scheme” – two positions he has hammered Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for supporting as a former member of Congress and congressional candidate.
- Trump, his campaign and a supporting PAC have repeatedly cited votes from DeSantis in Congress for nonbinding budget resolutions that would have raised the retirement age to 70.
- The campaign has also cited DeSantis’ praise of Paul Ryan’s budget plans during his 2012 congressional campaign with comments that expressed support for privatizing Social Security and Medicare – but a CNN KFile review found Trump himself also once praised Ryan on Medicare, along with the 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, without praising their specific policy proposal, which called for similar changes to Ryan’s plan.
- In his book, Trump lamented big cuts the program would need without changes, and said he would consider privatization.
- “The truth is undeniable, the workers of America have been forced to invest a sixth of our wages into a huge Ponzi scheme,” Trump wrote. “The solution to the Great Social Security Crisis couldn’t be more obvious: Allow every American to dedicate some portion of their payroll taxes to a personal Social Security account that they could own and invest in stocks and bonds.”
- “We can also raise the age for receipt of full Social Security benefits to seventy,” he wrote.
- But in the 2012 presidential race, he defended the Republican ticket – and praised Ryan – saying the pair would save the program. Their plan at the time was similar to the Ryan proposals that Trump has hammered DeSantis for supporting.
- “I think Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney will save Medicare,” Trump said to Fox News in August 2012. “I know they will. And people are starting to understand it. They’re going to be very happy with what’s going on, but they’re going to be very, very unhappy if Obama gets in. I think actually if Obama gets in, and if Obamacare isn’t ended, I really think Medicare will be a thing of the past.”
- In October 2012, Trump again strongly praised Ryan on Medicare in an appearance on Fox News – saying his qualm with Ryan’s budget was he should’ve waited until after the election to make his plans public.
- “I certainly think it probably would’ve been more appropriate to have waited,” Trump told Sean Hannity. “But I like the energy he brings. I like a lot of the things he’s saying. He’s smart. He truly understands what’s going on with the 17 trillion and the budgets and everything else.”
- “And I think he’s very strongly in favor of – I know for a fact that he’s gonna save Medicare. The other side’s gonna destroy Medicare. He’s going to save Medicare. And as we know it right now – not with big deductions and big cuts and big, he’s going to save Medicare. Medicare cannot exist with the other side in office. It will explode.”
- A budget from Trump’s White House did eventually call for reducing spending on Medicare, according to the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, but those reductions would largely affect doctors and hospitals. At the same time, in an interview he later walked back, Trump said cuts to entitlements would eventually be on the table.
- “At some point they will be,” Trump said in January 2020 in an interview with CNBC, comments that made their way into a response ad last week from a super PAC supporting Ron DeSantis in a potential bid for the White House.
- Asked by CNBC whether he was willing “to do some of the things that you said you wouldn’t do in the past, though, in terms of Medicare,” Trump said: “We’re going to look.”
- In another interview in 2020, which he again walked back, Trump said he’d be cutting entitlements.
- When a Fox News host noted that trimming the national debt would require cutting entitlement programs, Trump responded that it would be happening along with economic growth.
- “Oh, we’ll be cutting, but we’re also going to have growth like you’ve never had before,” Trump said.