Pence warns of entitlement and debt ‘iceberg’ sinking US in break with Trump

Mike Pence
FILE – Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a Coolidge and the American Project luncheon in the Madison Building of the Library of Congress, Feb. 16, 2023, in Washington. Pence, another likely 2024 contender who has long promoted religious conservatism, has been one of the GOP’s most aggressive anti-abortion voices since the Supreme Court’s ruling. On the campaign trail in recent weeks, he highlighted his commitment to go further. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) Alex Brandon/AP

Pence warns of entitlement and debt ‘iceberg’ sinking US in break with Trump

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Former Vice President Mike Pence struck a dire tone about the looming threats of insolvency in Medicare and Social Security while blasting politicians who shy away from reform.

Warning about an impending debt crisis, Pence argued that the longer Congress waits to act, the worse the outlook will become. He argued that there are ways of remedying entitlement programs with “compassionate reforms” that will “give younger Americans a better deal.”


“We often hear that Medicare is just five years away from insolvency, Social Security’s 10 years away, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Pence said. “That’s only the beginning of a debt crisis that your generation will face. If this generation doesn’t face it today, that iceberg could sink American prosperity by the time you reach my age.”

Refraining from detailing or providing too many specifics on how he’d tackle entitlement reform, Pence noted that it’s a dicey political issue to address in a speech that reflected on the outlook for future generations.

“In 30 years, Americans will be faced with either cutting programs that seniors depend on at the point of the need or doubling middle-class taxes and crushing our economy under a taxation system that would look more like European taxes than our own,” Pence fretted.

His remarks came during a featured address at an event for Washington and Lee University’s Mock Convention, a 115-year custom in which students gather to predict who the nominee will become for the party out of power. They have successfully predicted the Republican nominee for over 70 years in a row.

Pence has previously beckoned his party not to shy away from entitlement reform, warning that both Social Security and Medicare are projected to run into insolvency.

Entitlements have emerged as a key flashpoint in the budding 2024 brawl. President Joe Biden, who has yet to declare his 2024 campaign, has pummeled the GOP on entitlements, chiding that “their dream is to cut Social Security and Medicare” and vowing to be their “nightmare” on that issue.

“Joe Biden’s policy is insolvency,” Pence contended during his address. “The American people deserve to know that President Biden won’t even discuss commonsense reforms of Social Security and Medicare.”

Republicans have increasingly balked at the prospect of venturing into the political minefield of entitlements. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has deemed Medicare and Social Security off the table during debt ceiling negotiations. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has conveyed a similar sentiment as well.

“Too many leaders in my political party take the same position. But that’s just not acceptable. Now, if that frustrates you, good. It should because it’ll be your generation that’s robbed of your dreams and opportunities,” Pence said.

Former President Donald Trump has drawn battle lines with his 2024 foes on entitlement reform, illustrating a schism within the GOP.

“Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security to help pay for Joe Biden’s reckless spending spree, which is more reckless than anybody’s ever done or had in the history of our country,” Trump proclaimed in a Truth Social video in January.

Other 2024 aspirants, such as former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who launched her campaign in February, have been more receptive to entitlement reform. Haley, who has made paring back the federal “spending binge” a core tenet of her campaign, has underscored that she won’t “take from anyone that’s been promised” but is keen on keeping programs solvent.


Last week, Pence stopped in New Hampshire and Iowa, key early primary states.

Pence is currently running in third place in a hypothetical GOP primary, per the latest RealClearPolitics polling aggregate. He previously indicated he and his wife are “continuing to give prayerful consideration to entering the race” and eye spring as a timeline for a decision.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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