Bernie Sanders Tells Trump ‘Keep Your Promises’, Don’t Cut Social Security Or Medicare

Despite Donald Trump’s campaign pledge not to touch Medicare, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has already begun plotting to gut the program through privatization. According to Salon, Trump’s win has emboldened Ryan in his quest to dismantle Social Security and Medicare.

“Ryan has wanted to destroy Medicare for years, only to run into the little problem of it being an overwhelmingly popular program, even among the Republican base, which skews toward the elderly who rely on it for their spiraling health care bills.”

Last month, Ryan’s ally in this matter, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), was nominated by Trump to be the Health and Human Services Secretary.

Social Security card on top of Medicare enrollment form

The day after his nomination, Rep. Price, who is well known for being adamantly against Medicare, released a plan that would enable automatic, across-the-board cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for working class and low-income Americans.

According to the Center for American Progress, over the next 10 years these automatic cuts would devastate Social Security and Medicare.

“Rep. Price calls this ‘budget process reform.’ In fact, Rep. Price is using the arcane language of budget process to obscure how these cuts would harm American families and rig the system to slash key social programs without requiring Congress or the president to take responsibility for the result. If Congress enacts President-elect Trump’s proposed tax plan—which mostly benefits the wealthiest Americans—then Rep. Price’s automatic cuts would slash Social Security by $1.7 trillion and Medicare by $1.1 trillion over 10 years.”

However, former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is once again reminding the President-elect of his campaign pledges.

This isn’t the first time that Sanders has called on Trump to keep his promises regarding this matter. According to Common Dreams, earlier this month a group of activists, seniors, and lawmakers including Sanders delivered a petition holding more than one million signatures. The petition demanded that President-elect Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in particular keep their hands off the Medicare benefits earned by the American people.

At a press conference held after the delivery of the petition, Sanders reminded Trump of the promises he had made while campaigning.

“You told the seniors of this country you were on their side, you told working people you were on their side. You said you would not cut Social Security, you would not cut Medicare. Millions of us are going to demand that you keep your promise.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one-third of all Americans receive health insurance from Medicare and Medicaid.

Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are issues that a majority of both Democratic and Republican voters agree on. During a MSNBC “Trump Country” Wisconsin town hall last month, Sanders spoke with Trump voters, and found common ground regarding the social safety net programs.

“The other point that you made is, who is going to pay for this stuff? And that is a very fair point. What all of us should know is that over the last 25 years, there has been a massive transfer of wealth in this country from you to the top one-tenth of one percent. In other words, the middle class has shrunk and trillions of dollars have gone to the top one-tenth of one percent. Do you think it’s inappropriate to start asking those people to pay their fair share of taxes so we can adequately fund Medicaid and make public colleges and universities tuition-free. Is that an unfair thing to ask?”

If Trump wants to prove his naysayers wrong, a good way to begin is by keeping his word and ensuring that establishment Republicans keep their hands off of the Medicare and Social Security benefits earned by the American people. According to polling by NASI, an overwhelming number of Americans support the safety net programs, and are even willing to contribute more to preserve and improve benefits.

“At a time when Americans seem deeply divided about the right size and role of government, it is striking that Americans across political and generational lines agree on specific policies to pay for and improve Social Security benefits.”

[Featured Image by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Images]