Analysts at the Washington Post
took issue with budget director Mick Mulvaney’s word choice, arguing that the program’s financial problems are not necessarily the product of “waste” as we typically think of it—overpayments,
beneficiaries enrolled under false premises, and so on—but rather systemic issues with Social Security finance.
Word choice notwithstanding, the disability trust fund isn’t without its financial woes. The DI fund was slated to exhaust in 2016, before
a bipartisan 2015 bill reallocated funds, pushing the depletion date back to 2023. In the unlikely event that no further action is taken by Congress,
benefits will fall to 89% of their scheduled levels—an automatic cut.
When pressed on President Trump’s promise not to cut entitlements, Mulvaney replied that
Social Security disability insurance is not generally “what people think of when they think of Social Security,”
the implication being that cuts to this program would not violate the spirit of the President’s campaign promises.