At a rally this week in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump pulled what he said was this nugget from hacked excerpts of a speech that Hillary Clinton had given to Wall Street bankers.
“The speeches also show that Crooked Hillary supports cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits, one more example of how Hillary Clinton’s public position is a lie,” Trump said of the remarks that were revealed in hacked emails of Clinton campaign officials that were published by WikiLeaks. “She wants to knock the hell out of your Social Security. She wants to knock the hell out of your Medicare and Medicaid. And I am going to save them.”
The hacked emails do have excerpts of speeches Clinton gave in which she spoke approvingly of the approach taken by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles who co-chaired a commission to come up with ways to reduce the federal debt.
“So, you know, the Simpson-Bowles framework and the big elements of it were right,” she told a gathering sponsored by Morgan Stanley. “The specifics can be negotiated and argued over. But you’ve got to do all three. You have to restrain spending, you have to have adequate revenues and you have to have growth. And I think we are smart enough to figure out how to do that.”
Among the recommendations that Simpson and Bowles made was a plan to shore up the Social Security Trust Fund. The plan included gradually increasing payroll taxes on high earners, a restructuring of benefits to increase the amount of retirement payments for lower income workers while decreasing the amount for upper income ones.
The plan also called for gradually increasing the age a person could draw full Social Security benefits from 66 which it was in 2010 when the recommendations were made to 69 in 2075.
Whether one agrees that raising taxes on high earners and raising the retirement age by three years over a 65-year-period is “knocking the hell out of Social Security,” the fact is the excerpts released by WikiLeaks so far do not show Clinton specifically calling for cuts in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Indeed, she said the specifics of Simpson-Bowles approach “can be negotiated.”
Who knows how a President Hillary Clinton would approach the issue of entitlement programs. But to say that she wants to drastically cut these programs based on the excerpts of her speeches, as we know them right now, is false.