Michigan seniors blast Trump’s plan to cut Social Security and Medicare

By Kyle Kaminski

March 12, 2024

The Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans is throwing its support behind President Joe Biden after Trump said he would entertain cuts to Social Security and Medicare. 

LANSING—Jim Pedersen spent more than 40 years paying into Social Security and Medicare so that when he retired, he could afford to keep a roof over his head and food on the table. 

Nowadays, Pedersen said he’s collecting a pension from the United Auto Workers union and “living the dream” at his lakeside home in southeast Michigan. But after ex-President Donald Trump on Monday suggested he might cut both Social Security and Medicare if elected, Pedersen is worried that his hard-earned benefits could once again be at risk in 2025.

“Michigan workers deserve to be able to retire with dignity, but a second Trump administration would threaten that ability,” Pedersen said. “If Trump gets his way, he would strip funding for these programs and cut the benefits that serve as lifelines for seniors across our state.”

Pedersen serves as the president for the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, which represents seniors statewide. He joined state Reps. Stephanie Young (D-Detroit) and Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) for a press conference in Lansing on Tuesday, where they called on Michiganders to reject Trump at the polls in November and re-elect President Joe Biden.

“If seniors, retired Michiganders, and folks living with disabilities want to continue to benefit from Social Security and Medicare, it’s essential that Michigan keeps President Biden in the White House and fires Donald Trump once and for all,” Pedersen said during the press conference.

Trump once supported raising the retirement age and privatizing Social Security, which he described as a “Ponzi scheme.” He also proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare every year he was in office

And during a Monday appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Trump said “there is a lot you can do in terms of entitlements, in terms of cutting,” referencing his plan to continue targeting both programs.

More than 2 million seniors in Michigan currently rely on Social Security and Medicare to afford housing, utility bills, groceries, and life-saving prescription medications, among other things. 

Pederson said Trump’s remarks show that he’s “wholly out of touch” with working families.

“It’s pretty clear that Trump doesn’t care about me or my fellow Michiganders who rely on these programs, which we’ve spent decades paying into. It’s not an entitlement. We pay into these programs,” Pedersen said. 

Carter pointed to Trump’s latest comments as a potent reminder of the importance of the 2024 presidential election.

“We have so much on the line in November,” Carter said. “Rights to healthcare, rights to a good education, and the freedom of democracy. And now, millions of Michiganders will have to worry about the money they’ve spent decades working for being taken away by an extremist.”

In contrast, Joe Biden has pledged to continue protecting both programs to ensure those benefits are available for seniors when they’re ready to retire.

“Many of my Republican friends want to put Social Security on the chopping block,” Biden said during last week’s State of the Union speech. “If anyone here tries to cut Social Security or Medicare or raise the retirement age I will stop them!”

Biden’s latest budget proposal includes detailed plans to protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security benefits for the long-term future—including by rejecting all proposals to slash benefits and requiring those with the highest incomes to pay more into both of the programs. 

“President Biden is delivering where Trump failed,” Young said. “Since President Biden’s first day in office, he has protected and strengthened Social Security and Medicare. … He’s ensuring that seniors can continue to receive the benefits that they’ve spent their lives paying into.”

She added: “The mandate is clear: Leave Social Security and Medicare alone. Period.”

READ MORE: Republicans vow to take away health insurance from 1.3M Michiganders

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Follow Political Correspondent Kyle Kaminski here.

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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