Republicans, fresh off their tax cut victory last month, are now eyeing cuts to America’s social safety net. To Paul Ryan, who has “been dreaming” about cutting welfare since his college days, the matter is critical because trimming programs such as Medicaid and Social Security is, according to Ryan, “how you tackle the debt and the deficit.”
But critics have drawn attention to the hypocrisy of Republicans’ plan to cut welfare programs directly after passing their tax bill, which experts say is likely to cause a major deficit increase. The non-partisan Joint Committee on Tax Reform warned that the GOP plan could add over $1 trillion to the deficit.
The primary beneficiaries of the tax plan were large corporations and wealthy Americans.
Bernie Sanders repeatedly hammered Republicans for their plan to use safety net cuts as a means to finance their tax bill. Shortly before the bill was passed, he tweeted the following:
Republicans have not even signed their tax cuts for billionaires into law and they are already promising to make cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. pic.twitter.com/viu4gRRjec
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 20, 2017
While campaigning, Trump promised that we would not make cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. But, after private talks with Republicans, it seems he is changing his position.
Just this week, Trump enabled states to add work requirements to their Medicaid programs, a step that Obama consistently refused to take.
The Republican position seems to be that people need to be given freedom from the entrapment of federal welfare. “We have a welfare system that’s trapping people in poverty and effectively paying people not to work,” said Paul Ryan in December.
However, many Republicans including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are not convinced that welfare cuts make sense. Major political fallout could result from such a move, and Republicans need to tread carefully in this risky midterm election year.