President Trump in the Rose Garden. (Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)

President Donald Trump stated during a Wednesday interview with CNBC that entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security could be on the chopping block this year as they are the “easiest of all things” to cut.

CNBC anchor Joe Kernen’s last question to Trump during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, was: “Entitlements ever be on your plate?”

Trump responded: “Uh, at some point they will be. We have tremendous growth; we’re going to have tremendous growth. This next year … it’ll be toward the end of the year, the growth is going to be incredible and at the right time we will take a look at that. That’s [entitlements] actually the easiest of all things [to cut], if you look, ‘cause it’s such a big percentage.”

Kernan replied: “It’s one of the things you wouldn’t do in the past, though, in terms of Medicare —”

Trump interrupted: “We also have assets that we never had. We never had growth like this. We never had a consumer that was taking in by different means over $10,000 a family.”

Cuts to Social Security are already being planned. The Trump administration plans to issue a proposed rule in June to narrow the eligibility criteria used in assessing vocational factors when approving Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits for adults.

The plan is a “significant change that would affect about half of applicants for disability benefits,” Kathleen Romig, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, told ThinkAdvisor in a previous interview.

The proposed rule, which the Trump administration included in its 2019 fall unified regulatory agenda filed at the Office of Management and Budget, “is super focused on a subset of applicants age 50 and above and [those that] have limited skills and education,” Romig said.

On Thursday afternoon, Trump tweeted:

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John Larson, D-Conn., issued a joint statement on Jan. 13 urging the Trump administration “to reject this cruel proposed rule and reassess” the Social Security Administration’s priorities.

— Check out Trump Plans to Tighten Social Security Disability Criteria on ThinkAdvisor.