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Trump and the debt ceiling

Summary:
According to Politico, Trump is against cutting Social Security and Medicare: Former President Donald Trump issued a warning to Republican lawmakers on Friday: Don’t lay a finger on entitlement programs as part of the debt ceiling showdown with the White House. “Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security,” Trump said in a video message. . . . Nevertheless, in issuing his statement now, Trump places his fellow Republicans in a political corner. Several of them have openly discussed using using the looming debt ceiling standoff to extract cuts in non-discretionary spending, though party leadership has not fully embraced such a demand. This does indeed put Republicans in a

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According to Politico, Trump is against cutting Social Security and Medicare:

Former President Donald Trump issued a warning to Republican lawmakers on Friday: Don’t lay a finger on entitlement programs as part of the debt ceiling showdown with the White House.

“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security,” Trump said in a video message.

. . .

Nevertheless, in issuing his statement now, Trump places his fellow Republicans in a political corner. Several of them have openly discussed using using the looming debt ceiling standoff to extract cuts in non-discretionary spending, though party leadership has not fully embraced such a demand.

This does indeed put Republicans in a political corner.  There is no way to make meaningful progress on deficit reduction without including entitlement reform (assuming that tax increases are a non-starter for Republicans).

Bloomberg reports that Trump has also insisted that Republicans stand tough on the debt ceiling:

Donald Trump is egging on Republicans already intent on using the federal debt limit as leverage to extract concessions from Democrats, potentially pushing the country further toward the brink of default as the former president seeks to reassert his grip on the GOP.

The former president has been posting exhortations on social media for Republicans to “be tough” and not “give in” as the US approaches running out of cash later this year, asserting the party “can get back almost everything” Democrats won legislatively under President Joe Biden.

This is good politics for Trump.  He needs to stop whining about 2020 – which is much more important to him than to anyone else, even in MAGAland – and claim that he did make American great again and will do so once more if re-elected.  He needs a positive message.  Defending entitlements will also distinguish him from any Republican challengers. 

Of course, what’s good for Trump is often bad for America, but maybe not in this case.  Trump’s statement on entitlements will strengthen Biden’s hand on the debt ceiling.  He can refuse to negotiate on entitlements and point out that Trump agrees with him.

Finally, by rejecting compromise while he weakens the bargaining position of Republicans, Trump is really putting House Republicans in a difficult spot.  Good.

I have no idea how this will play out, except that it will be a shitshow and remind everyone how much they hate Congress.

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