OPINION: Donald Trump: If re-elected, I will ‘terminate’ Social Security



Donald Trump once promised that he would be “the only Republican that doesn’t want to cut Social Security.” We now know that what he meant is that cutting Social Security doesn’t go far enough for him: He wants to destroy Social Security.

Donald Trump’s executive order, which seeks to defer Social Security contributions, is bad enough. But his promise to “terminate” FICA contributions if he is re-elected is a full-on declaration of war against current and future Social Security beneficiaries.

Social Security is the foundation of everyone’s retirement security. At a time when pensions are vanishing and 401ks have proven inadequate, Trump’s plan to eliminate Social Security’s revenue stream would destroy the one source of retirement income that people can count on. Moreover, Social Security is often the only disability insurance and life insurance that working families have. If reelected, Trump plans to destroy those benefits as well.

Republican activist Grover Norquist once famously stated that he wants to reduce government to the size where he can “drown it in the bathtub.” That’s exactly what Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans are trying to do to our Social Security system:

  • Step One: Slash payroll contributions (FICA).
  • Step Two: Slash benefits.
  • Step Three: Drown Social Security in the bathtub.

President Roosevelt designed Social Security as an earned benefit. He astutely included contributions by workers “so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits.” He added, “With those taxes in there (FICA), no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.”

The damn politicians have tried and failed for decades to go after Social Security directly. Now, they’re seeking to raid the system’s dedicated revenue as a pathway to destroying it.

If the money lost in payroll contributions is replaced with general revenue, Social Security will still be a target. Currently, Social Security doesn’t add a penny to the deficit. Raiding its dedicated revenue is a set up to the claim that it must be cut in the name of reining in the debt.

Every member of Congress must speak up now to denounce Donald Trump’s unconstitutional raid on Social Security. Voters should treat any Senator or Representative who is silent as complicit in destroying Social Security. Furthermore, every American who cares about Social Security’s future must do everything they can to ensure that Trump does not get a second term.

(Nancy Altman is the president of Social Security Works, a non-profit organization working to improve the economic security of disadvantaged and at-risk populations by fighting to expand Social Security, improve Medicare, and lower prescription drug prices.)


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