UNDER A RELENTLESS barrage of questions from Washington journalists about why President Trump’s proposed budget isn’t cutting Social Security or Medicare, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney finally acknowledged on Sunday that Trump may in fact violate his campaign promises to protect the two programs — by taking aim at the Social Security program that helps the disabled.
The elite Washington media is almost uniquely obsessed with the notion that cutting spending on the old and poor to reduce the federal deficit is the litmus test of a responsible budget plan. At last week’s press conference announcing the proposed budget — which includes massive cuts to regulatory agencies and massive increases in defense spending — Mulvaney was repeatedly badgered by reporters about why the administration is not taking aim at Social Security and Medicare.
During a interview with CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, the administration finally started to give in.
Mulvaney was pressed by host John Dickerson about whether the administration would be open to cutting “entitlements.” Mulvaney initially hesitated to endorse any cuts, repeating Trump’s promises on the campaign trail to leave Social Security and Medicare alone.
“Well, I think the promise was he wasn’t going to affect anybody and we haven’t with this budget,” Mulvaney replied. “Keep in mind what this budget is. This is just the discretionary spending part of the budget, which was a necessary first step.”
“But he might look at — at future retirement — future Medicare recipients?” Dickerson followed up.
Mulvaney replied by pivoting to the specific issue of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a program administered by the Social Security Administration that aids disabled Americans. He complained about the program’s cost and indicated that the administration wants to alter it.
“Let me ask you a question, do you really think that Social Security disability insurance is part of what people think of when they think of Social Security? I don’t think so,” he said, with a slight grin on his face. “It’s the fastest growing program. It was — it grew tremendously under President Obama. It’s a very wasteful program and we want to try and fix that.”