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Do Republicans Really Want to Get Rid of Social Security and Medicare?

state of the union programs

President Joe Biden gave his 2023 State of the Union this week, and one of the most animated and contentious parts of the evening came when the President accused Republicans of wanting to end keystone federal programs like Social Security and Medicare. This led to jeers from Republicans — including a shout of “liar!” from Georgia lightning rod Marjorie Taylor Green.

Politics (and theatrics) aside, it’s important for American workers to know exactly what our representatives in Washington have planned for these programs, as many workers rely on them to stay afloat in retirement.

Regardless of what happens with various government programs, a financial advisor can help you make sure your retirement is well planned.

What Biden Said

In the past, State of the Union addresses have been relatively staid affairs, where the most the opposition party would do is sit and not applaud. In this era of partisan conflict and sophomoric stunts, though, things got a bit more heated.

Biden said that “some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset.” When he was shouted down by the Republican caucus, he responded by telling the naysayers, “Anybody who doubts it contact my office — I’ll give you a copy.”

What Republicans are Proposing

state of the union programs

The initial comments from Biden were based on a plan from Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott, which would make many existing programs, including Social Security and Medicare, subject to reauthorization by Congress every five years.

While Scott’s plan isn’t a figment of Biden’s imagination, there is some context Biden left out. Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate and arguably the most important Republican in Washington, said that such a proposal “will not be part of a Republican Senate Majority agenda” before the midterm elections — a point that was ultimately rendered moot when Democrats maintained control of the Upper House of Congress in November.

Still, Biden’s broad strokes — that some Republicans want to at least consider cutting spending on programs that benefit older Americans — generally ring true. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — who does not hold a leadership position in the Senate Republican conference — proposed during the midterms subjecting these programs to annual congressional spending bills. Some in the party have also considered plans that would cut benefits and raise the retirement age.

Biden, for his part, has pledged not to touch Social Security or Medicare.

What It Means For You

First off, it goes without saying that other than voting, volunteering for a candidate or even running for office yourself, there’s little you can do to directly influence the politics of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. All you can do is prepare for what comes.

The best thing to do is find a financial advisor. The professional can stay on top of the news and make sure your portfolio and financial plan are optimized for whatever the current situation is, and respond to any changes that come.

The Bottom Line

state of the union programs

Programs designed to help older Americans, specifically Medicare and Social Security, took center stage at President Biden’s recent State of the Union address. Biden accused Republicans of wanting to end the programs, which drew a fierce and vocal response from members of the GOP. While several Republicans have put forth proposals that could endanger the programs, there does not seem to be any united will to end these programs on the GOP side.

Financial Planning Tips

  • A financial advisor can help you make the most of your money and plan for an uncertain future. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Use SmartAsset’s free Social Security calculator to get a sense of how much you’ll get in retirement.

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