Huckabee: Trump needs to stick to his guns on entitlements

Entitlements back in focus after Trump meets with House Speaker Ryan


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 13, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. CHRIS COLLINS, R-NEW YORK:  And what I have heard Donald say is, he's not going to have a negative impact on anyone that is currently receiving Social Security, Medicare, and the like.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  But that he would be open longer-term?  

COLLINS:  We have heard some of those statements.  And I would certainly encourage those.  


CAVUTO:  All right.  I swear it's a different suit and tie.  I just looked. Like, do you change your clothes, Cavuto?  

Anyway, that was a congressman saying that he got the first whisperings and hints that Donald Trump is open to addressing entitlements, or at least slowing their growth cuts, whatever you want to call it.  

But over the years I have covered him, the one consistent thing I have heard when he's weighed in on Washington matters is, well, leave entitlements alone.  Take a look.  


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We need extraordinary people leading us, smart, tough, fair, humane.  I want humane and everybody.

But -- and, you know, when like Ryan, as an example, and others talk about cutting Social Security, cutting Medicare, cutting Medicaid, what I want to do and what I would strongly say this country has to do is get back to being strong again and rich again and successful again, because that cures all of the problem.  

There's so much money out there.  I don't have to cut Medicaid.  I don't have to cut Medicare.

CAVUTO:  Interesting.  It's a whole different...


TRUMP:  I don't have to cut Social Security.  We're a bunch of foolish people led by either foolish or stupid people.  

This country needs the right kind of leader.  And I will tell you what.  If we don't get the right kind of leader, this country's in big trouble.  


CAVUTO:  All right.  

Now, that is something that Paul Ryan does fundamentally not agree with. He thinks that we have got to address at least the growth of those entitlements, curb their growth.  

Time for Mike Huckabee, the former GOP presidential candidate, Arkansas governor, has now endorsed Donald Trump.  

Now, you caused a bit of a hullabaloo on the campaign when you started out saying to Chris Christie and those who wanted to curtail Social Security, no, no, no, no, no, not under your watch, the argument being that there are far better and more likely places to cut than folks who were essentially made a promise, right?  


And these aren't just entitlements.  Social Security is an earned benefit.  That's not money that the government generously and graciously set aside. It's money that came out of the paychecks of people who stood on concrete floors and worked their butts off.

And for the government to then say, well, you know what, we're not serious about letting you have your own money, that's a breach of trust.  And so I think Donald Trump needs to stick to his guns on this.  And, by the way, we don't need to cut the benefits to Social Security recipients.  

The answer is a simple one.  Grow the economy.  At 4 percent economic growth, we fully fund Social Security and Medicare, 4 percent growth.  

CAVUTO:  Well, if that were to happen, great, but...


HUCKABEE:  We used to routinely do that.  

CAVUTO:  Fine, but, Governor, if that were to happen, great, but the reality is, it hasn't happened in a while.  It might.  It might.  

But the math is unsustainable as we have it.  As you know -- and you're a great student of political and economic history -- we had about 16 people paying in for every Social Security recipient when it started with Franklin Roosevelt.  It's about two to one right now.  And it's falling fast.  

So, that is not a sustainable way.  Now, you might talk about those deserving it.  Would you be open or do you think the party should be open to addressing not guys our age, but those who might be younger, to sort of give them a heads-up that your retirement date is going to be a little later, or you might have to get a little less, to prepare for that, not to pull the rug out from someone who's just a few years away now, but for the future?

HUCKABEE:  Well, if you're talking about doing that with the people who are just getting into the work force, just beginning to earn their first paychecks, OK, maybe that's a conversation.

CAVUTO:  No, I'm talking about me, to shield me.

No, I'm talking about me, Governor, to shield me from these kind of cuts.    

HUCKABEE:  You're too old for that, Neil.  I'm sorry, but you're way over the hump.  


CAVUTO:  But you see what I mean?


HUCKABEE:  When we're talking about you, we're talking about guys like me.  


CAVUTO:  But what about that, that I think that's the one thing Paul Ryan is saying?  He was deemed, you know, throwing granny off the cliff for wanting to rein in the growth of Medicare.  He wasn't cutting anything.  

Yet in this in this parlance today, as you know, Governor, if you just slow the growth of something, you're cutting it and flinging granny off a cliff.  
That's not right.  

HUCKABEE:  Well, but here's the thing Republicans need to be focused on. What's causing our economy to be so anemic?

It's overtaxation, over-regulation, overlitigation, the cost of immigration.  You start dealing with those kind of issues, and you're going to bring the economic prosperity back.  And Republicans need to be focused on helping people to have good jobs that pay good wages, making sure they're not just working several part-time jobs to make up for the full- time job they used to have.  

Let's talk about that, because 76 percent of Republicans don't want to see cuts to Social Security.  So, why on God's earth would we go into an election season doing something that three-quarters of our own party are against?  That just doesn't make good political sense.

CAVUTO:  Well, no one wants them, but you have to make the point and not just kowtow to people and their worst fears, but to point it out, this is longer-term, so that you get it, your kids get it, your grandkids get it. That's what it's about.  


But, once again, we get there, even with our kids and our grandkids, if we bring back an American economy that doesn't punish people for their productivity.  

CAVUTO:  All right, if we get the 4 percent growth, yes, but I think you should be ready just if case we don't, you know?

HUCKABEE:  Well, look, we have had a terrible economy, because the Obama administration has utterly mismanaged it.  

I mean, they're more concerned about which bathroom I go to than whether or not I have a job to go to -- or, rather, a job, you know, a workplace to be at anyway.  That's a problem.  They have not focused on bringing economic recovery.  

CAVUTO:  All right.  

You don't appear to be a fan of President Obama.  


HUCKABEE:  Not a big one, no.  

CAVUTO:  Governor, I just -- I connected that.  That's the way I work, Governor.  


CAVUTO:  All right, thank you very much.  Have a great weekend, sir.  

HUCKABEE:  You're good.  You're good.  

CAVUTO:  You, you, you, you are good.  All right.  




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