Trump Doubles Down on Controversial Pledge to Leave Social Security, Medicare Untouched

President Trump delivered his first speech Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress, discussing his budget blueprint for the coming fiscal year which includes a $54 billion increase in defense spending, a large cut in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency-- and "no changes" to Social Security and Medicare.

As of January, 66 million Americans were receiving Social Security, Supplemental Security Income payments, or both, according to the program’s website. As of 2015, there were 55.5 million Medicare beneficiaries, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Meanwhile, the annual Social Security Trustees Report Opens a New Window. shows that by 2034, under current funding levels, Social Security will only be able to pay about 79% of promised benefits to recipients. After 2035, if left unchanged, the program will be able to deliver just 77% of benefits. The Trustees Report estimates Medicare “Part A,” or hospital insurance, will be officially bankrupt by 2028.


While Trump is following through on his campaign promise to leave entitlements untouched, his decision is likely to provoke ire among some fiscal budget watchers.

“It is utterly irresponsible to continue ducking the need for entitlement reform,” Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, told FOX Business. “Medicare and Social Security alone constitute 38 percent of federal spending, and that percentage will only grow larger in the future. The unfunded liabilities of those two programs exceed $80 trillion.”

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