More Social Security Warnings

FYI, the Republican who is now chair of the House Budget Committee wants to cut Social Security. Thought you ought to know.

“What I’m hopeful is what the Budget Committee will be able do is to is begin to normalize the discussion and debate about Social Security. This is a program that right now on its current course will not be able to provide 75 or 80 percent of the benefits that individuals have paid into in a relatively short period of time,” he said at a Heritage Action for America event in Washington, D.C., according to AJC. “That’s not a responsible position to say, ‘You don’t need to do anything to do it.’”

Price, whose predecessor Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) never put forward major reform proposals in his otherwise ambitious budgets, offered means-testing and increasing the eligibility age as possibilities. He also hinted at privatizing Social Security.

“All those things ought to be on the table and discussed,” he said.

The only reason the disability  benefits may have to be cut by 20 percent is that the Republicans forced an arbitrary rule to make it difficult to transfer money to the disability fund from the retirement fund even if there is plenty of money in the retirement fund.  And Social Security overall is in decent shape at the moment and is expected to be in decent shape for close to the next 20 years, which gives us plenty of time to make adjustments without cutting benefits.

(Paul Krugman: “Let us reason together: the dire fate we’re supposed to fear is that future benefits won’t be as high as scheduled; and in order to avert that fate we must, um, guarantee through immediate action that future benefits won’t be as high as scheduled. Yay! Wait, what?”)

But if Dubya before Katrina couldn’t sell privatizing Social Security, I rather doubt it’s salable. Paul Waldman wrote,

Let’s take a look at what we’ve learned just in the past couple of days. We all know that both sides are looking for new policy ideas they can present that will demonstrate their commitment to lifting up middle class and poorer Americans, so what’s on offer? Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, has released a plan that includes giving every working American who makes less than six figures a $1,000 tax credit, gives people further tax credits if they save money, limits corporate tax deductions for CEO compensation, and pays for it with a financial transactions tax (presented as a Wall Street “high roller” fee). Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to cut Social Security disability payments.


OK, so that’s not entirely fair — Republicans are, in fact, talking about what they can do for less affluent Americans. For instance, Politico reports today that even Mitt Romney has decided that the three pillars of his 2016 campaign will be a “muscular” foreign policy, helping the poor, and supporting the middle class. Which sounds interesting, but at this point it constitutes nothing more than talking about how this is an issue he’s going to be talking about. You have to look pretty hard to find an actual idea Republicans have.

And while they’re figuring that out, it looks like Democrats are going to keep rolling out one policy proposal after another, whether it’s Van Hollen’s tax credit (which other Democrats are also going to be advocating), President Obama’s plan to make community college free, or upcoming pushes on issues like paid family leave and more inclusive overtime rules.

The thing is, though, Dems have to get tough and really talk up each other’s proposals with some aggression, or no one will hear them. And that’s a big if.

8 thoughts on “More Social Security Warnings

  1. Republicans:
    We must amputate now at the neck, so that we don’t have to amputate a pinkie-toe later!

    Let’s see how much the American’s economic conservatives want for the hostages, before we decide what we’re going to advocate , or give-up, or let alone, do!

    Hint to Democrats:
    The Republicans and their ideas may suck, but you have to show some G-D spine.

    I think the reason that W was against stem-cell research, was that Democrats might actually grow a spine.

  2. I rather doubt it’s salable.

    Never underestimate what Obama is willing to give away in the name of some kind of grand bargain. IIRC, his own “deficit commission” came up with some cuts to SS that Obama probably would’ve signed off on, except the Republicans got greedy and wanted more.

    The R’s are going to do all they can to box BHO into a corner in the remaining years, and they would love nothing more than a victory over “reigning in” social security, something they’ve hated since its inception. And they can + will sell it to their base by pitting the young against the “greedy” elderly.

  3. It’s worth noting that rep. Price’s statement that “This is a program that right now on its current course will not be able to provide 75 or 80 percent of the benefits that individuals have paid into in a relatively short period of time” is an outright lie even if the trust fund was run dry and the (very small) additional funding was not provided. AND that for the trust fund to run dry the economy has to be extremely bad for decades without anyone doing anything to make the economy better. (That last is why the Social Security Trustees’ Report has for many many years shown the trust fund running short of outgoes at approximately the same number of years in the future from whichever year the report is published – ie., usually about 19 years ahead of whatever date the report is published, and changing each year to about 19 years ahead of the new date.)

  4. The Reteavangeliklan lie machine is clearly gearing up. We need some Democrats who will get out there and call a lie an lie, forcefully, repeatedly, loudly. Maybe all those Hoveround Teabaggers will wake up when they see what will happen to them?

  5. We do face the problem that, no matter what Republicans propose, if it’s a bad idea the “liberal media” will tsk-tsk that they aren’t proposing that at all. Cf. ending Medicare.

    That’s how this will go down. The GOP will cut Social Security without ever allowing anyone to mention that that’s what they’re doing.

  6. I have obviously lived too long. Surviving only on SS and SSI, I am wondering just how long that survival will last. I’m just sorry the women in my family live for a long time.

  7. Pingback: Mike's Blog Round Up -

Comments are closed.