Donald Trump 2024: Save Social Security (and Bash Meatball Ron) – Social Security is seen by most Americans as their birthright. Created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the height of the Great Depression as part of his historic New Deal program, Social Security was designed to give succor to America’s elderly who, before the creation of Social Security, was effectively pushed out into the street once they were too old to work (unless they managed to somehow save enough money to live off through retirement).
FDR Saves Grandma and Grandpa
During the Great Depression, elderly poverty was a blight for the already ailing national economy and FDR believed that creating a system that would ensure the protection of one’s economic and physical well-being after one’s body could no longer work would be critical to putting America back on the right path.
At least three generations have paid into this system. It is by far (along with Medicare and Medicaid) one of the largest government expenses to date. Since its beginning, however, the Republican Party has had a problem with the program. Most conservatives believed when FDR created the program that Social Security was unconstitutional.
When they lost that fight, Republicans began crafting an argument that claimed the wildly popular program was akin to Ponzi Scheme. You see, because retirees received funds not from the money they had put into the system over the many years they were working, but from money put into the Social Security program by current workers, Republicans thought there was something askew about the program.
This was especially the case because of the fact that there are fewer young workers contributing to the system today than there were decades ago. Therefore, it is assumed that, once today’s workers are ready to retire, there might not be anything left.
Is Social Security Running Out of Money?
In fact, a range of elected leaders have taken to the press in recent weeks to caution Americans that the vaunted Social Security fund is being drained faster than anticipated and unless some drastic funding moves are made, the Social Security fund will dry up earlier than was originally reported last year.
The ordinary person would simply tell their leaders to move more of America’s vast taxpayer dollars into the system, as many Americans expect the program to be available to them when they retire—indeed, many Americans plan their retirements around being able to gain access to these funds.
Should the funds not be available to them after their retire, their quality of life could dissipate.
For most elected Republicans, their response is to pile on the Social Security program. The GOP wants badly to kill the program while they can. Some offer their own alternatives based on the free market but, ultimately, the voters don’t want to hear that.
Most voters overwhelmingly like the Social Security program because it is supposed to be relatively immune to the unstable forces of the market. It is a safe bet for them. They work throughout their lives, pay part of their taxes into the system, that money is used to pay for the current crop of retirees, and once the current workers retire, then the same benefits will be provided to them by the next generation of young workers. If they leave this process solely to the market, they might lose everything in another market crash.
Republicans don’t care, though.
The majority of elected Republicans are beholden to the Cult of Ayn Rand. Therefore, the GOP will do everything in its power to rollback whatever social safety net has been created for the last 80 years in the name of “freedom”. But most Americans are not with them. On the matter of Social Security, 83 percent of Americans support expanding Social Security while 40 percent of retirees currently rely on Social Security for their livelihood.
What are the Republicans thinking going after this popular program that is ingrained in the very psyche of most American voters as being essential to their liberty?
Since the disastrous showing the Republicans had in the 2022 Midterm Elections in which they failed to achieve the staggering victory that the GOP had insisted they’d enjoy, former President Donald J. Trump, the de facto head of the Republican Party, publicly urged the Republicans in Congress not to attack Social Security.
Yet, Republicans could not help but scratch at that particular itch.
The Republicans are hellbent on using the fact that the Social Security fund may be running out of money and that there is a slow-rolling national debt crisis coming our way to force a fight over the future of Social Security.
Donald Trump Has the Right Instincts on Social Security
Donald Trump instinctively knows that taking on Social Security would end his political ambitions. Thus, he has charted a separate course on the matter.
While the GOP in Congress and his possible presidential challengers in the upcoming 2024 GOP Primary appear to be marching in lock-step with the party’s economic orthodoxy, the heterodox Donald Trump continues calling for the protection of this important program.
He has made these calls for the protection of Social Security when, for the last few months, Trump’s poll numbers (especially when compared to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis) were plummeting.
In the last week, however, things have shifted in Trump’s favor (of course, DeSantis has yet to officially declare that he is running against Trump in the GOP primary).
Two things have occurred: Trump has increased his vicious personal attacks on Ron DeSantis in the press and the former president has made a point of repeatedly calling for the protection of Social Security.
Given that Trump’s base is largely elderly and belongs to the cohort of people who will likely be needing access to robust Social Security assistance soon (if not already), this is likely a key factor for why Trump’s sudden bounce in the polls when compared to Ron DeSantis’ numbers.
For decades, politicians have long called Social Security reform the “third rail” of American politics. Anytime a politician has talked about changing or abolishing the program, that has usually served as the death knell for the politician’s career and could significantly damage the electoral prospects of that anti-Social Security politician’s party. Trump intuitively understands this, which is why he will not support any attacks on the program.
Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, is stuck in between a rock and a hard place. While he has implemented policies that resonate with MAGA-type voters, the Florida governor is widely seen as the Establishment’s preferred candidate. As such, DeSantis has not voiced a strong opinion either in support or opposition to Trump’s calls to save Social Security. He is unlikely to, as DeSantis adheres to the Chicken Little strategy of refusing to engage with the former president from his own party.
Trump Defies Expectations (Again)
The Social Security issue is going to be the key domestic policy matter in the upcoming 2024 election. Trump is running circles around his opposition on this matter. He is not allowing for the Left to define him as your typical, stodgy, Blue Blooded elitist Republican seeking to throw grandma off the cliff while enriching himself and his cronies.
The longer that Trump runs with this issue, the more it will differentiate him from the rest of the Republicans poised to run in 2024—and the more likely he will be to win the nomination.
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Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for 19FortyFive.com. Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower(Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.