After exploding the federal budget deficit with over a trillion dollars in tax cuts for the rich and massive corporations, President Donald Trump is reportedly considering using his possible second term in the White House to slash Medicare and Social Security — the final part of a two-step plan progressives have been warning about since before the GOP tax bill passed Congress in 2017.
The New York Times reported this week that, with the budget deficit set to surpass $1 trillion in 2020 thanks in large part to Trump's tax cuts and trade war, Republicans and right-wing groups are pressuring the president to take a sledgehammer to Social Security and Medicare, widely popular programs Trump vowed not to touch during his 2016 campaign.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told the Times that his party has discussed cutting Medicare and Social Security with Trump and said the president has expressed openness to the idea.
"We've brought it up with President Trump, who has talked about it being a second-term project," said Barrasso.
Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), the number two Republican in the Senate, echoed Barrasso, saying it is "going to take presidential leadership to [cut Social Security and Medicare], and it's going to take courage by the Congress to make some hard votes. We can't keep kicking the can down the road."
"The Trump/GOP tax cuts for the wealthy will add over $1.5 trillion in debt," said the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. "Now we know how they'll pay for those tax cuts, by cutting Social Security and Medicare."
According to the Washington Post, Trump has already "instructed aides to prepare for sweeping budget cuts if he wins a second term in the White House."
"Trump's advisers say he will be better positioned to crack down on spending and shrink or eliminate certain agencies after next year, particularly if Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives," the Post reported last month.
The president, despite his campaign promises, has included major cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his budget proposals — while predictably demanding massive increases in Pentagon spending.
In his budget blueprint for fiscal year 2020, as Common Dreams reported, Trump called for $845 billion in cuts to Medicare and $25 billion in cuts to Social Security.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, tweeted Thursday his belief that Trump will not have a chance to carry out his "second-term project."
"Mr. Trump, you are not going to have a second term," said Sanders.