White House budget director Mick Mulvaney is reportedly preparing several proposals for President Trump regarding entitlement reform.
Mulvaney has been warning for years that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are spending money faster than they take in, and their impending bankruptcy could cause economic crisis.
How much danger are we in, and what are Trump’s options in what will be the biggest political fight he will ever face?
Mulvaney’s appointment to head the Office of Management and Budget surprised many.
He has spent his congressional career calling for wholesale reform of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Trump, on the other hand, stated during the presidential campaign he would not seek to touch the programs.
Mulvaney told senators during his confirmation hearing he wasn’t expecting Trump to embrace his position on the issue.
“I have no reason to believe the president has changed his mind,” Mulvaney said. “My job is to be completely and brutally honest with him.”
That’s exactly what Mulvaney is doing.
“I’ve already started to socialize the discussion around here in the West Wing about how important the mandatory spending is to the drivers of our debt,” Mulvaney said conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Monday.
“I think people are starting to grab it. There are ways that we can not only allow the president to keep his promise but to help him keep his promise by fixing some of these mandatory programs.”
“As soon as the 2018 spending budget is done at the end of next week, I’m hoping to put together something for the president to look at on the other pieces of entitlement spending, or mandatory spending,” Mulvaney said.
“I don’t think you’re going to see this president have any interest in raising the retirement age anytime soon,” said Mulvaney.
“But we need to address things like Social Security Disability, which you and I both know is one of the fastest-growing and probably one of the most abused mandatory programs in the country.”
Social Security is paying out more than it is taking in and is on track to go bankrupt by 2033, though there are indications it could go broke even earlier.
Medicare’s Part A Trust Fund is on track to be bankrupt in 2028.
The rapid expansion of Medicaid is already pushing many states to raise taxes and slash spending elsewhere to avoid going broke.
Between the three entitlement programs, Mulvaney has his work cut out for him.
Trump, a master of financing debt, should quickly realize how close the nation is teetering toward bankruptcy.
The question remains, will Trump take on the political fight?
While wholesale reform of the programs is an absolute necessity, no one in Washington has been willing to tackle it, as reform would cut off a lucrative cash pipeline for many liberal political groups.
We were already given a preview of these measures during the bloodbath of entitlement reform back in 1995.
The new Republican House majority sought to delay Medicare’s bankruptcy by limiting its growth to a half-billion dollars over 10 years.
Liberal activist groups waged an all-out war against Republicans, unleashing thousands of labor union workers to canvass GOP-held congressional districts, and spending tens of millions of dollars on TV ads falsely accusing Republicans of “cutting Medicare.”
Republican members of Congress were deluged with phone calls from seniors in tears, convinced that a temporary slowdown in entitlement growth was literally going to kill them, thanks to the ads.
Republicans never tried reform again.
A 2005 proposal by George W. Bush to restructure Social Security died a quick death in Congress, without so much as a vote.
But with large-scale bankruptcies looming and threatening to take down the entire economy, it may come down to Trump having to take advantage of his unconventional political style to defy political convention and force through entitlement reform.