White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow let slip on Monday the administration’s plan to target Social Security and Medicare after the midterms.
At the Economic Club of New York, Kudlow said the Trump administration would look at making changes to so-called entitlements “probably next year” and, while he didn’t “want to be specific,” assured the White House would get there.
Rep. Kevin Cramer is already there.
In February, just days after announcing a run for the Senate, the North Dakota Republican dismissed Trump’s promises to protect Social Security as something “good to campaign on” but “hard to do” and told Breitbart he would be “happy” to discuss changes.
Now, the administration he supports “100 percent of the time” is singing the same tune.
On Social Security, Cramer has a record of wanting to make changes. During an interview on the “Jarrod Thomas Show,” he said he supported “making adjustments” to the program, and wanted to go further than “just cutting” it as a way to balance the budget.
Cramer has supported privatization, increasing risks for senior’s retirements, and means testing for Social Security.
North Dakota had more than 127,000 Social Security beneficiaries as of 2016 and more than 126,000 Medicare enrollees as of 2017, according to the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
He also wanted to raise the retirement age, a move the Urban Institute said would push seniors into poverty, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities characterized as being an “an across-the-board cut in benefits for all retirees.”
For younger Americans, Cramer proposed having a “different program” in which their retirement money would be placed outside of what he called “a broken system.”
In 2013, Cramer joined ultra-conservative house colleagues in signing a letter to then Speaker John Boehner, asking him to use Social Security as a bargaining chip during government shutdown negotiations.
On Medicare, Cramer has voted for and publicly supported plans that would turn the program into a voucher-based system. He supported Paul Ryan’s “a better way” agenda, and repeatedly voted over the years for GOP budgets that included this shift.
Like with Social Security, Cramer has supported raising the eligibility age for Medicare, a move experts say would increase healthcare costs across the economy, as costs would be shifted to beneficiaries, employers and states. He voted for means testing the program, and in 2015 voted for $430 billion in unexplained program cuts.