At 75 minutes long, Donald Trump’s acceptance speech to be the GOP’s presidential nominee, broke records for length ― and we suspect volume. But while we can debate ‘til the cows come home whether Melania wore the same dress twice or Ivanka used a fan for that wind-blown hair look during her speech, there is one thing that there is no debate about:
Trump did not so much as utter the words “Social Security” or “Medicare.”
And what should we conclude from that?
There are 10,000 people a day turning 65 in this country and the federal safety nets for them, by most accounts, are going to collapse under the strain. And Trump said nothing.
If nothing is done, the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted by 2034 (the Congressional Budget Office says it could be as soon as 2025), at which point the system will shrink benefits to 79 percent of current levels. And Trump said nothing.
By 2030, fully 18 percent of the nation will be at least 65, according to Pew Research Center population projections. Social Security represents almost 40 percent of our elderly’s monthly income. About half of older single people ― think widows here ― rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income, says the SSA. And still, Trump said nothing.
In 2015, spending on Medicare was 15 percent of the entire federal budget. For perspective, 16 percent of the budget, or $602 billion, paid for all our military, defense and security-related international activities. When Trump talks about making America safe again, does that include older people being safe from poverty? We don’t know because, again, Trump said nothing.
Older people are the biggest group of users of prescription drugs. In the past two years, the prices of commonly used generic drugs have surged, with some prices 15, 25, and even 75 times what they cost just months ago. According to a recent report by federal health officials, prescription-drug spending rose 12.6 percent in 2014, the latest year for which data are available. It is expected to rise another 7.3 percent a year through 2018. Who uses prescription drugs the most? Older people do. And Trump said nothing.
So besides those painfully long 75 minutes of Trump speaking in the RNC spotlight, what has the GOP nominee said about Social Security and Medicare up til now? Not much. His website does not include either under “Issues,” and in primary debates, he has said he would go after fraud and waste in these government programs with the implication that that would make it all better. And in addition to pledging to get the ACA (Obamacare) repealed as one of his first acts in office, he also doesn’t think it’s necessary for people to be forced to have health insurance.
He just hasn’t said anything about what they should do if they get sick.
With The Donald, sometimes you need to read the pauses ― not just be grateful for them.