As election fever heats up, the candidates resume waging war at each other over issues. This week, the battle on the TV airwaves at key swing states. And the hot topic over the past few days? President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden are warring over social security.
Trump Will Drain Social Security
Former Vice President Joe Biden fired the first salvo. His campaign team ran ads saying that Trump will cause the demise of Social Security. The ad said he “signed an executive action directing funding cuts for Social Security” and “proposed slashing hundreds of billions of dollars from the Social Security Trust Fund every year.” Verification with the website FactCheck.org disproves the claim. They concluded: “A Biden campaign TV ad falsely claims that a government analysis of President Donald Trump’s ‘planned cuts to Social Security’ shows that ‘if Trump gets his way, Social Security benefits will run out in just three years from now.’”
FactCheck said the ad-based its claim on “hypothetical legislation.” The president has said he won’t cut benefits. Also, Trump said: “[W]hen I win the election, I’m going to completely and totally forgive all deferred payroll taxes without in any way, shape or form hurting Social Security. That money is going to come from the general fund.”
Campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh debunked the claims about Trump. He said the president “has repeatedly made clear that he will absolutely protect Social Security. Asked if the campaign had a plan to address the program’s solvency, he referred questions to the White House. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Biden Wanted to Cut Social Security
Trump, tweeted on January 24: “Democrats are going to destroy your Social Security. I have totally left it alone, as promised, and will save it!”
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This is nothing new. Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign said the same about Biden. A CNN fact check shows that Biden played both sides. He supported a plan to cut spending in 1984. To address the budget deficit, he co-sponsored a plan to free “nearly all military and domestic spending.” This includes freezing Social Security cost-of-living adjustments for the year. In 1995, he voted for an amendment to exclude Social Security cuts from any balanced budget cuts. To help prevent future insolvency of the program, he made a couple of suggestions in 1996. This included raising the retirement age by one year.
The Trump campaign aired ads that said Joe Biden dislikes Social Security. As a senator, the ad says that Biden kept trying to reduce Social Security. The ad declares: “Now Biden’s promising your benefits to illegal immigrants,” a narrator says. A Politifact check also dismisses this charge. Biden wants to allow illegal immigrants to buy health insurance without government subsidies. This does not in any way affect Americans’ insurance policies or premiums.
Leave Social Security Alone
Social Security is an important issue for many voters. In a recent poll, CNBC reported that 54% of likely voters said preventing Social Security benefit cuts. This scored highest among the other issues. The second was universal health care (29%). Third, raising the minimum wage (26%). And fourth, reducing the wealth gap (25%).
Many will get affected if the government makes cuts or stops funding. The average Social Security monthly benefit in 2020 is $1,503. 2.8 workers are currently supporting each Social Security beneficiary. Over 65 million Americans will receive over one trillion dollars in benefits. This includes over 90% of senior citizens. For the elderly, it is the primary source of income for 45% of single persons and 21% of married couples.
Given its benefits to millions of Americans, politicians might want to stay away. Nobody wants to be that person or party who took on Social Security.
Watch from the Trump War Room, President Trump declares “I am the one who is protecting your Social Security.”:
Are you currently a Social Security beneficiary? Who do you think is more likely to help with the demise of Social Security? Let us know what you think by leaving your comments below.