Debt group hits Trump on Social Security

Debt group hits Trump on Social Security
© Greg Nash
President Trump’s promise not to touch Social Security is “backwards,” according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a group that promotes deficit reduction. 
 
In a Time magazine op-ed, CRFB President Maya MacGuineas wrote that the president’s approach to the depleting Social Security trust fund — eliminating fraud and abuse and relying on faster economic growth — would not solve the problem.
 
“Totally eliminating all improper Social Security payments would buy the trust fund only about four months of solvency—less than a rounding error. Meanwhile, higher economic growth would simply mean delaying the program’s shortfalls rather than solving them, since higher growth translates into higher benefits,” she wrote.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
On Thursday
, Social Security’s trustees issued their annual report on the state of the program, reaffirming the finding that the trust fund would run out in 2034. At that point, revenues would only be expected to cover about 77 percent of the benefits, a figure that would continue to fall after the fund ran out.
 
“It is time for the public to engage in the important national conversation about how to keep Social Security strong,” said Nancy Berryhill, Social Security’s acting commissioner. 
 
The main avenues of addressing the shortfalls would require changing the eligibility age and income requirements of recipients, or increasing the cap on earnings subject to the payroll taxes that fund the program.
 
Trump, however, vowed on the campaign trail not to touch benefits and continued to hold the position despite calls from some fiscal conservatives in his own party.
 
“The President’s logic is backwards. He is not saving Social Security by leaving it alone — he is ensuring its demise,” MacGuineas wrote.