Biden vs. Trump: Protecting Social Security and Medicare in the Presidential Debate

Biden vs. Trump Protecting Social Security and Medicare in the Presidential Debate

June 27th, 2024

During tonight’s presidential debate, Donald Trump demonstrated a lack of reliability in safeguarding seniors' earned benefits by misrepresenting facts about Social Security and Medicare. Trump falsely asserted that undocumented workers are receiving benefits — a claim that is entirely unfounded. Undocumented workers are categorically ineligible for Social Security benefits. This raises a critical question: does Trump not understand the fundamental workings of America’s paramount social insurance programs, or is he deliberately spreading misinformation?

On the topic of Medicare, Trump further distorted reality by accusing the Biden administration of “destroying” the program. In stark contrast, President Biden has actually fortified Medicare through the Inflation Reduction Act. This landmark legislation has enabled Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies for the first time, which is projected to save beneficiaries $7.4 billion annually in prescription costs. Additionally, the Act has capped insulin costs at $35 per month and limited seniors’ out-of-pocket drug expenses to $2,000 annually.

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Trump's attempt to claim credit for reducing prescription drug prices is unsubstantiated, as he never introduced a comprehensive program during his tenure, unlike President Biden who has enacted significant reforms. Throughout the debate, Trump frequently took credit for achievements he did not accomplish and blamed others for actions detrimental to the American populace.

President Trump's inconsistency on Social Security is also notable. Earlier this year, he expressed openness to “cutting entitlements” before reversing his stance. In contrast, President Biden reaffirmed his dedication to bolstering the program's finances by insisting that high earners (those making over $400,000 annually) contribute their fair share.

Trump's rhetoric and actions pose a genuine threat to Social Security. He has previously labeled Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” and, as President, proposed budgets that included substantial cuts to both Social Security and Medicare. During the pandemic, he suspended the Social Security payroll tax and expressed a desire to eliminate it entirely, jeopardizing the program's primary funding source. Moreover, Trump’s Republican allies in Congress have advocated for raising the retirement age, means testing, and reducing cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) — measures likely to be implemented if the GOP gains power in November.

Since taking office, President Biden has been a steadfast advocate for Social Security and Medicare. His successive White House budget proposals have urged Congress to strengthen both programs. In the 2023 debt ceiling negotiations, he successfully persuaded Republicans to exclude Social Security and Medicare from potential cuts. President Biden has referred to seniors’ earned benefits as “a sacred trust” and has vowed to protect them, declaring, “If anyone tries to cut either program, I will stop them.”

Having observed these two candidates over the past eight years, there is a clear distinction in their trustworthiness regarding seniors’ crucial earned benefits — paid for over a lifetime of work. It is not the candidate with erratic and false statements and reckless policies. Seniors can trust the candidate who regards Social Security and Medicare as “sacred” and has consistently promised to shield them from cuts. Therefore, on behalf of our members and supporters across the country, we endorse Joe Biden for President.


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