A second term for President Donald Trump could mean a drastic overhaul of America’s Social Security and Medicare programs, the president indicated on Wednesday — two immensely popular programs he promised not to touch during his 2016 campaign.
According to The Washington Post, Trump told CNBC during an interview from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that reducing spending on the programs would be “the easiest thing,” pointing to economic growth as the key factor.
“At the right time, we will take a look at that. You know, that’s actually the easiest of all things, if you look,” Trump said, later adding: “[W]e’re going — we’re going look. We also have — assets that we’ve never had. I mean we’ve never had growth like this.”
The Post noted that it is unclear what unprecedented growth Trump was referencing, considering that economic growth has recently slowed, though the stock market continues at record levels. Trump frequently appears to equate economic growth and health with the stock market.
In terms of government spending apart from entitlement programs, this president has shown little concern for deficits. Trump recently told a room full of mega donors that he is not worried about such things: “Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country.”
On Wednesday, Trump told CNBC that his 2017 tax cuts helped to reduce the deficit, though not everyone agrees this is the case.
“We’ve taken in more revenue substantially than we did when the taxes were high,” Trump said. “Nobody can even believe it. But we take in more revenue with the big tax cuts.”
But Marc Goldwein, a budget expert at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told The Post that taking economic growth into consideration, federal revenue would have been even higher had Trump’s tax cuts not gone into effect.
“The question is if revenue is higher than it otherwise would have been,” Goldwein said. “It’s very clearly not. There’s just no evidence of that.”