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Social Security Cuts: Do Republicans Want to Cut It?

Social Security
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 14: In this photo illustration, a Social Security card sits alongside checks from the U.S. Treasury on October 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Social Security Administration announced recipients will receive an annual cost of living adjustment of 5.9%, the largest increase since 1982. The larger increase is aimed at helping to offset rising inflation. (Photo illustration by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
  1. There has been a debate among the Republicans about the future of Social Security and Medicare and whether the government should cut benefits. Some critics argue that the program is unsustainable and needs to be reformed in order to reduce costs. In contrast, others believe that any cuts to benefits would be harmful to millions of Americans who rely on the program.
Social Security

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: A woman holds a sign at a labor rally to protest the privatization of Social Security 31 March, 2005, in New York. US President George W. Bush has expressed confidence about one of his chief domestic priorities, the partial privatization of the government-run Social Security retirement program, despite polls showing broad skepticism. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

NPR mentioned that Republicans had promoted spending reductions to counteract such increases since the Tea Party movement gained traction. There will likely be a confrontation since House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has struggled to control some of his conference’s more outspoken right-wing members. 

Republicans, though, also generally reject the idea of cutting defense expenditures. However, more than reducing discretionary expenditure is required to achieve fiscal balance and address the nation’s soaring debt. 

So what exactly is it?

Medicare and Social Security Cuts: Do Republicans Want To Reduce Benefits?

GoBankingRates said the Democrats are using the internal conflict to their advantage while Republicans are still arguing about this issue. 

That’s because New York Times said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) removed Social Security and Medicare from his proposal on Friday, and neither his party nor any other plan had adopted it extensively. Both House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and former President Donald J. Trump have recently warned Republicans (per another NYTimes report) against reducing Social Security or Medicare benefits.

In a recent op-ed, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) urged Democrats not to claim they want to cut Social Security and Medicare. The debt limit was raised to $31.381 trillion in December 2021, and Republicans are now seeking spending cuts in exchange for support in raising the debt ceiling, which most Democrats oppose. 

President Joe Biden reminded Congress in his State of the Union speech that Republicans have previously lifted the debt ceiling without conditions or crisis. However, some opponents have challenged his claims that Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare.

“With respect to the debt ceiling, NO REPUBLICAN has said we are going to cut Social Security and Medicare. The President has tried to conflate the two to make a political argument. He is WRONG!” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) tweeted on Feb. 8.

House GOP also mentioned speaker Kevin McCarthy in a tweet, which read: “Now that we’ve resolved that Medicare and Social Security are off the table (as @SpeakerMcCarthy and Republicans have repeatedly said), let’s act responsibly by reducing the hundreds of billions in wasteful Washington spending and stave off a future debt crisis.”

ALSO READ: Social Security Recipients: Will Not Receive A Bonus Payment In March

About Social Security

Social Security is funded by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), a tax on wages split by employers and workers. 

Unless Congress acts, Social Security funds will only be able to pay about 80% of obligations to retirees and disabled workers, resulting in estimated benefit cuts of 20-25% and increasing poverty rates among retirees by 60%. 

Social Security 2100 proposes a 2% benefits boost, a more generous formula for cost-of-living increases, and targeted benefit increases for low-income seniors, widows/widowers, and caregivers.

People of color rely disproportionately on Social Security, thus cutting payments will have a particularly negative impact on them, according to Richard Johnson, senior fellow, and head of the Urban Institute’s Center on Retirement Policy, who spoke to The New York Times.

About Medicare

The future of Medicare is a point of disagreement between the two political parties, much like Social Security. President Biden signed into law expanding the program by reducing the eligibility age to 60 and strengthening benefits offered through the Part D prescription drug program with the Inflation Reduction Act (per Reuters).

The solvency of the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which funds Part A benefits, is Medicare’s most immediate issue. NYTimes said the funds are projected to run out in 2028, causing a potential 10% reduction in benefits. Possible solutions include adding new revenue, cutting benefits, or reducing payments to healthcare providers.

Experts suggest that it would be advantageous to take action soon, regardless of which path Congress decides to take.

RELATED ARTICLE: Debt-Ceiling And Its Potential Effects On Social Security And Medicare

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