Sep 2, 2017

Playing Trump

     From Politico:
Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s budget director, walked into the Oval Office in early May on a longshot mission. The slash-government conservative wanted to persuade the president to break one of his most popular campaign promises.
During his populist run for the White House, Trump had vowed to leave Social Security and Medicare alone. But Trump had also vowed to rein in America’s national debt, which Mulvaney didn’t think was possible without reining in the two biggest chunks of the federal budget. So Mick the Knife brought a cut list to his meeting in the Oval. 
“Look, this is my idea on how to reform Social Security,” the former South Carolina congressman began.
“No!” the president replied. “I told people we wouldn’t do that. What’s next?”
“Well, here are some Medicare reforms,” Mulvaney said.
“No!” Trump repeated. “I’m not doing that.”
“OK, disability insurance.”
This was a clever twist. Mulvaney was talking about the Social Security Disability Insurance program, which, as its full name indicates, is part of Social Security. But Americans don’t tend to think of it as Social Security, and its 11 million beneficiaries are not the senior citizens who tend to support Trump.
“Tell me about that,” Trump replied.
“It’s welfare,” Mulvaney said.
“OK, we can fix welfare,” Trump declared.
Sure enough, the Trump budget plan that Mulvaney unveiled a few weeks later would cut about $70 billion in disability benefits over a decade, mostly through unspecified efforts to get recipients back to work. That may sound like welfare reform, but the program isn’t welfare for the poor; it’s insurance for workers who pay into Social Security through payroll taxes. The episode suggests Trump was either ignorant enough to get word-gamed into attacking a half-century-old guarantee for the disabled, or cynical enough to ditch his promise to protect spending when it didn’t benefit his base.
The story is also revealing about the source who told it on the record: Mulvaney himself, an ideological bomb-thrower from the congressional fringe who has become an influential player in the Trump administration. ...


Tim Kennedy said...

"mostly through unspecified efforts to get recipients back to work". Sure, it never worked in the past so why not try it again?

Anonymous said...

But SSI is welfare - no taxes are paid in, and a portion of those who want it, actually work under the table so they do not show any income. Or kids who get a check for ADHD . . .

Anonymous said...

But per the story, the words used were "disability insurance", which is NOT SSI. But by conflating disability insurance with welfare, the job of knocking it down gets started. Along with anecdotal Willie Horton style stories taken as defacto gospel about crazy checks, able to work but hiding it and other tales to further put the entire program and those being served in an unflattering light.

Anonymous said...

"The episode suggests Trump was either ignorant enough to get word-gamed into attacking a half-century-old guarantee for the disabled, or cynical enough to ditch his promise to protect spending when it didn’t benefit his base. "

He would be wrong. Places like West Virginia, Eastern KY, and rural central/western PA are places that 1) have a far higher proportion of people on disability than average and 2) put Trump in the White House.

AKM said...

That was not a real conversation. Additionally Trump has made NO MOVES to cut SSDI. I rely on SSDI and adding work incentives is not the same as cutting monthly benefits. In fact, the only benefit I had cut recently was my SafeLink phone; I got kicked off the program due to new program requirements...well come to find out those program requirements were changed by the OBAMA Administration in May 2016. So far only a Democrat has cut some of my life saving benefits, so attacks or jokes about Trump are unfounded until he actually cuts some benefits which is unlikely.

Anonymous said...

to 11:21

SSI is welfare, but SSDI is not. That you cannot tell the difference is, sadly, not at all unusual. There are lawyers and many claimants that can't make the distinction either. And that includes people actually receiving those benefits.

Disability benefits have been part of the Social Security System since 1956. the basic definition of disability has not changed substantially since 1967 and the basic determination process has not changed since 1979. It is called disability insurance benefits because it is paid for by a portion of the FICA tax and is based on insurance principles, just like the Social Security Retirement benefits.

SSI started in effective 1/1/74 as a way to transfer State Welfare obligations to the Federal Government. Nixon was the President then and his administration was the driving force behind the program.

Anonymous said...

To AKM...Just recently Trump went after 100% UI Unemployable Veterans paid at the 100 rate..Targeting them when they became Social Security eligible..and he indeed proposed along with Mulvaney a reduction in SSDI...which is social your statement of not coming after social security is false....they dropped because of so much backlash but the topic has come up...AGAIN just last month with Republicans. ...Trump...Ryan...Murray...and Republicans are gunning for Soc Secur....badly

Tim said...

It may technically welfare for people with schizophrenia that started at 17 and start collecting later after not working. But, would you deny them SSI just because it is "welfare." When most people think of welfare, they think of people who could work who don't. I think it is crazy to call any disability welfare, no matter how it is funded!

Anonymous said...

Conservatives often assume anything called welfare is bad, and it is their right to think that way if they choose. If you look at the disability component of SSI for what it really is though most humane people would agree it is a good thing. Basically, it is saying we as a society have chosen to promote the general welfare by giving public funds to some extremely poor people who clearly cannot work to earn money for themselves due to a disability. They are provided just enough money so that, if they are very careful and frugal, they won't starve or be homeless. Nobody disagrees that there are isolated cases where people abuse the system and that they should be policed. However, the system as a whole stands for something good, that as a people we are not defined just by how much money we can grab and hold for ourselves. SSI is a promise that we, as a nation, will take care of some of the most needy among us who cannot take care of themselves. Let's do more of that.

Lost everything said...

I've been trying to get on ssdi for 6yrs after being thrown off in2011.I was hurt at work after I was thrown off and had a lot more physical medical conditions.Indiana used Obama care to obstruct medical evidence.I sued them in federal court and lost after completely burning them.Indiana doesn't have attorneys for Medicaid denials only for hiding assets!the court ruled in the state's favor.the Medicaid hearing was a gimmick they didn't even allow me to use the medical evidence I submitted to them (fssa),my (case file) was not at the hearing.indiana avoids federal regs.but had a huge budget surplus 3bill.republicans should be deported!