While the Swamp is mired up to its neck in muck from an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times and a new, so-called “explosive” book from Bob Woodward, the president stepped up to the podium in Montana to talk about the things that matter most to the electorate. Older, more conservative voters have always been the GOP base, and Trump knows this. So, what better issue to talk about than Social Security and Medicare?
It was an odd twist to be sure – President Trump taking a page out of the Democratic handbook and shoving it in their faces. But it is a calculated and possibly brilliant move to shore up the vast majority of midterm voters and his supporters while kicking the Democrats in the proverbial derriere.
In his remarks at a raucous rally in Billings, Montana the president offered up a fearful look into the future with Democrats at the helm. Saying they want to “turn America into Venezuela” and raid, steal and rob Social Security and Medicare, Mr. Trump demonstrated he has his finger on the pulse of the people.
It’s not that he’s changing his tune. Trump has always said he wouldn’t touch either entitlement program, but the song is different now that he is president. If he portrays himself as the one man who can safeguard these programs and hold off the Democratic wolves who want to tear it to pieces, this can become a powerful GOP narrative for a crucial upcoming election only a few weeks away.
But Is It True?
PolitiFact says Social Security and Medicare are not stronger under Trump, but you can probably take that with a grain of salt. Others have stepped up to the plate to denounce the Trump rhetoric that these two programs that are so important to Americans are much improved under his administration.
There are a couple of things at play regarding Social Security. There are two funds: One is the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, and the other is for retirement benefits. Without a doubt, the disability fund is better off than when Trump took office. Four years have been added to the projected solvency of this program, but the retirement part runs out one year earlier.
How does Trump plan to get that back on track? Well, its economic growth of course. And it is in that area his administration excels. Following this year’s spring meeting of the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said:
“The Administration’s economic agenda – tax cuts, regulatory reform, and improved trade agreements – will generate the long-term growth needed to help secure these programs and lead them to a more stable path. Robust economic growth will help to ensure their lasting stability.”
Mnuchin is right. Growth in GDP could solve many a problem regarding Social Security solvency. We are not there yet, but the captain of the Titanic has finally turned the helm just enough to miss the iceberg. But like all luxury liners, even a slight change in course takes time.
Look, who knows if it’s true that these entitlements are stronger under Trump? They are complex economic issues that involve a ton of variables. But one thing is for sure – this is a most excellent talking point for the president. It’s very astute politics. All this goes to show that despite the many Swamp distractions – from Stormy to Russia to Woodward to the anonymous Gray Lady and her op-ed – the president hasn’t lost his political acumen.
And for certain, he has not taken his eyes off the prize.