Recently, President Donald Trump’s administration decidedly made their disconnected values abundantly clear with a budget proposal that included massive cuts to programs like Medicaid and Social Security. Now, to be clear, this budget proposal is just that — a proposal — and it’s up to Congress to actually finalize the government budget for the next fiscal year, but in the meantime, the proposal shows exactly where the Trump-led GOP’s priorities lie. During a Senate Finance Committee hearing this week, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) confronted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the Social Security cuts, and — although he struggled to get it out some way other than “Washington-speak” — he admitted that the cuts are included.
Donald Trump’s budget is built on policies that pillage working families to pay for brand new windfalls for corporations and the wealthy. Trump is sending his cronies to Capitol Hill to defend his latest giveaway to the wealthy and well-connected, but we're not fooled. https://t.co/nJavAxq2KK
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) February 12, 2020
Mnuchin’s idea was that he could explain away the cut by calling it a cut in the rate of benefit increase and distinguishing that from an outright cut in the amount of benefits that Social Security recipients will be receiving. But down in this pesky thing called reality, a cut is a cut, and seniors on the program aren’t going magically get whisked off to somewhere where inflation and other similar issues don’t matter just because Mnuchin came up with a pretzel of rhetoric.
Cortez Masto commented to Mnuchin:
‘If that is not a cut, then I would love to talk to you about what it is this administration values and what they see, how these groups and important individuals in our communities are being affected.’
Indeed — a cut to Social Security benefits in the name of protecting funds for items like military equipment and the southern border wall would have very real-world effects for many Americans.
The Senator continued:
‘My concern is this administration says one thing, but their actions are just the opposite, and I think it is important for us to really talk the true facts and not what you come here and read in your statements about what the administration claims they are doing to the benefit of our communities. Because I can tell you, when I go home to Nevada, there are still people struggling.’
The Trump admin claims there are no cuts to Social Security in the budget. So why wouldn't Sec Mnuchin answer a simple yes or no question about whether there are billions in cuts to Social Security, hurting seniors?
Answer: because there are cuts to Social Security in the budget pic.twitter.com/hS503RrSe0
— Senator Cortez Masto (@SenCortezMasto) February 12, 2020
Mnuchin eventually reiterated:
‘I believe there’s a cut in the rate of increase not an absolute cut.’
Again, that’s a cut.
Cortez Masto continued:
‘Let’s talk about it. Because if you’re cutting Social Security, and the resources and the individuals and the time for the people who work with Social Security to help people in need, then you’re impacting people of need. So let’s talk about that.’
The ironic thing is that Trump has repeatedly pledged not to touch social programs like Social Security and Medicaid, the latter of which faces a cut of almost $1 trillion under his budget proposal. Either he’s incompetent or a fool or both. (Probably both.)
Besides those huge cuts, Trump’s new budget also contains a request for billions more dollars of funding for his southern border wall project. He’d rather build that monument to his ego in the middle of the desert than shore up protections for Americans who need the assistance that he wants to take away.