May 26, 2016

Trump is a Threat to Social Security – and Medicare

By Robert Roach, Jr., President Alliance for Retired Americans.

The Los Angeles Times’ Michael Hiltzik, one of the nation’s most trusted writers on Social Security issues, officially warned us in a May 16th column: Donald Trump is a threat to Social Security.

During his campaign launch last June, Trump pledged to “save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts.”

But a man is known by the company he keeps, and among Trump’s top advisors are two men who have campaigned for years in favor of privatizing or cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Alarmingly, they’ve often done so while showing what Hiltzik calls “a lack of understanding about these programs or the consequences of their proposals.”

One of these aides is Sam Clovis, Trump’s national co-chair and senior policy advisor.

In 2014, Clovis told the Des Moines Register that he was “a strong believer in bringing private models to both Medicare and Social Security.” For those “below the age of 45 …. we need new systems for both.”

At the recent 2016 Fiscal Summit of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Clovis walked back Trump’s pledge to leave Social Security and Medicare untouched.

“After the administration has been in place, then we will start to take a look at all of the programs, including entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare,” Clovis said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Trump’s Policy Director, John Mashburn, has argued for block-granting Medicaid. He has also called the Supplemental Security Income disability program “a substitute welfare program.”

Assuming that Mr. Trump’s senior advisors speak for him, these statements raise serious questions about the candidate’s promises not to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The discrepancies call for an explanation from the candidate. In the meantime, retirees should not rely on Trump’s insistence that he will not cut these programs.

Robert Roach, Jr. is president of the Alliance for Retired Americans.  He was previously General Secretary‐Treasurer of the IAMAW.  For more information, visit

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