Is Donald Trump’s new plan for Social Security crazy?
He backs off idea to raise retirement age to 70 in favor of this proposal
He is entertaining, outrageous, confident, and a sure fire ratings guarantee. With four months to Iowa, it’s not surprising that CBS featured presidential hopeful Donald Trump on a recent Sunday on 60-Minutes. Paired with a kind and seemingly gentle Scott Pelly, “The Donald” was asked to comment on some pressing issues. While Trump’s tax plan is amassing the most news headlines, an overlooked comment that I found to be the most interesting in the entire interview was when Pelly asked Trump his views on what should be done with Social Security.
Pelly posed the question to Trump by first mentioning Trump’s book “The America We Deserve,” asking Trump if the candidate still wanted to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70. Trump answered, “No, I don’t think we should do that anymore. I want to take back money we are sending to other countries that want to kill us, and without increases, and we are not going to raise the Social Security age.”
Intrigued by Trump’s response, I decided to find out exactly how much the United States is considering giving in foreign aid to those countries who “may want to kill us.” If you go online to foreignassistance.gov, you can see for yourself the designated amount of foreign assistance proposed by individual country. These figures are not actual aid granted to a country. This data merely indicates the amount of foreign aid suggested by the president’s administration to be spent in 2016. In 2016, these mind-blowing sums will be submitted before Congress for approval. Keep in mind, these numbers are created by presidential staff and not by individual countries asking for aid.
I have by no means provided complete data in this table. Finding complete data would be a very lengthy and perhaps impossible endeavor. The United States provides foreign assistance to more than 100 countries around the globe. However, in true bureaucracy style, the funds given to countries that don’t like us very much is hard to identify because the funds that are given come from over 20 different U.S. government agencies. If a citizen wanted to do their due diligence, they would need an enormous Excel spreadsheet. In total, according to the Foreign Assistance Government web site, the United States Congress will be asked to sign off on $33.7 billion planned foreign aid in fiscal year 2016.
Trump has been creating commentary on the Social Security program for a long time now. The truth is Trump may be the most informed politician when it comes to understanding the Social Security program. On March 15, 2013, while addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Trump stated, “As Republicans, if you think you are going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in any substantial way, and at the same time you think you are going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen.”
In this post, I want to clarify that I am not a Donald Trump supporter. I have taken great offense to his comments regarding Sen. John McCain not being a hero despite his military service and POW status during the Vietnam War. I believe all persons who served or presently serve their country are both heroes and patriots. However, I cannot overlook the fact that Trump apparently understands one fundamental element of Social Security, and that is that Social Security is an important issue for many preparing for retirement.
Social Security is an insurance program and at the same gathering he explained it this way. “Social Security faces a problem: 77 million baby boomers are set to retire. Now I know there are some Republicans who would be just fine with allowing these programs to wither and die on the vine. The way they see it, Social Security and Medicare are wasteful “entitlement programs.” But people who think this way need to rethink their position. It’s not unreasonable for people who paid into a system for decades to expect to get their money’s worth — that’s not an “entitlement,” that’s honoring a deal.” The truth is; Social Security is strong, sturdy, resilient and worth protecting. According to the Social Security Administration, 38% of the income that retirees receive comes from these benefits.
Conversations run two ways. Donald Trump answered Scott Pelley’s questions and gave his two cents on a variety of financial issues. No matter how you felt about the interview from a political standpoint, having a conversation with a trusted financial adviser about your own Social Security benefits is a prudent business decision.
In fact, I can’t imagine that anyone on the now canceled The Apprentice television series would dare disagree with me, or Donald Trump for that matter! Is Donald Trump’s latest plan to infuse Social Security with cash by canceling foreign aid to anti-American countries an intriguing idea? I’d be curious to hear what you think. Send me a note. Do your own foreign aid research. I would love to hear from you.