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  • Fighting Social Security Reform Is the Worst Thing Lawmakers Can Do for Seniors

    When the next Congress arrives in Washington, Members will need to get to work to reduce runaway government spending. One area that has been identified as a good place to start—especially as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform prepares to give its recommendations on deficit reduction next month—is Social Security.

    Today’s Social Security will begin to run cash-flow deficits starting in 2015. Once they start, those deficits will never end. There is a trust fund that allows Social Security to receive general revenue money, but it will run out in 2037.

    What happens then? A 22 percent benefit cut for all beneficiaries of the program, regardless of age or financial need. That includes lower income retirees who depend solely on Social Security to afford food and a roof over their heads. A 22 percent benefit cut will make their lives much harder.

    Nevertheless, some Members of Congress continue to fight any effort to protect the benefits of lower income retirees. Peter Orszag, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, writes that “Social Security does face a long-term deficit, and a variety of reasonable reform plans … have been proposed to address that deficit. The left, though, seems adamantly opposed to restoring actuarial balance to Social Security now. I have trouble understanding this reluctance for several reasons.”

    In a letter by Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), a majority of the Democratic caucus claimed that “if any of the commission’s recommendations cut or diminish Social Security in any way, we will stand firmly against them.”

    The Social Security Administration scored the effects of raising the eligibility age, slowing the rate of growth in benefits, and means-testing benefits so that low-income workers would receive more and those with less need would receive less.

    The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery reports, “A Republican plan to rein in the rising cost of Social Security would dramatically reduce retirement benefits for middle- and upper-income Americans, especially those now younger than 25, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the program’s chief actuary.”

    This is misleading, as are the findings of the report itself. First, it does not take into account the looming 22 percent benefit cut if no action is taken.

    Moreover, Charles Blahous, a recently confirmed trustee for Social Security and Medicare, writes in response to Mongomery’s claims:

    There is no specific “GOP plan.” … There is a plan put forward individually by Congressman Paul Ryan [R–WI]. The provisions analyzed in the study do not correspond to that plan. The study, for example, analyzes a provision to change the calculation of the annual Social Security [cost-of-living adjustment] by using a chain-weighted Consumer Price Index. That provision, however, is not in the Ryan plan. The Ryan plan also contains a provision increasing minimum benefit payments for low-income seniors. … The study wholly ignores this provision.

    Again, as Heritage Social Security expert David John stresses:

    Taking Social Security off the table—which is another way of saying doing nothing—would ensure that all Social Security recipients would face the real financial pain of sudden and irregular benefit cuts. … Instead of shrinking a previously $1,000 monthly check to $780, the agency would pay full benefits on months when it has received enough payroll taxes to do so and issue no checks at all in months when it lacks enough money to pay full benefits.

    Congress has the means and ability to pass legislation that will ease retirement for generations to come. In the next Congress, the prospects for Social Security reform will be even brighter. But “doing nothing” will hurt the most.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to Fighting Social Security Reform Is the Worst Thing Lawmakers Can Do for Seniors

    1. Bobbie says:

      It just brings tears to my eyes that the government would even consider taking away what was promised to the elderly, ignore the problem, corrupt even more and hold no accountabilities, yet continue to be overpaid beyond their worth and have the gall to cushion their lifestyles with more raises and benefits. Reform to possible removal of everything but, social security to the elderly and in the meantime, privatize. Take away from government members what they wrongfully stole and threaten to steal from the elderly.

      • Jane Horton-Leasman says:

        Bobbie, we have a bunch of "suits", who are actually no better than street hustlers and gangsters. I see anarchy coming in this Country, especially if BHO is re-elected. And, I see no one who gives me confidence in the array of possible Rep. candidates. They just don't realize, the American patriot is not as malable as thei Socialist/Communist liberals…hell hath no wrath when they take that final last step.

    2. Joe Ruffino says:

      Whatever is developed and decided upon must be done with protection for current Senior Citizens. Beyond I believe we should take a look at what is being done in either Chile or Argentina. What they do have been very successful for them. The Bush approach had valid ideas and should be further considered. Some people on both sides of the fence. Keep Soros out of it. Here me democrats and move on. com.

    3. Slick in Nebraska says:

      This is just one example of the pitfalls of entitlement programs. No one has any idea what the actual consequences will be when these programs are instituted and therefore has no way of determining the amount of money needed to fund it. These programs sound really wonderful in the beginning and then develop into a monster that no one can control. In addition, they destroy the American work ethic which results in generations raised on welfare of one sort or another.

      Social Security was instituted when the average person did NOT live to be 65 years old!!! Therefore, it was a rather safe conclusion that benefits would be paid out short-term and therefore manageable. However, now it is not unusual for our seniors to live into their 90's and therefore the cost is becoming prohibitive because the retirement age has basically remained the same! And guess what? The work force of America can NO LONGER afford it!!!! This is a program that was destined to fail, and now we may have to learn to do without it or suffer the consequences.

      So perhaps we will have to return to the system our early ancestors had. Families took care of their aging parents and grandparents with little or no interference from the government which sounds like a huge relief to me. Local churches offered support and a tight-knit community was beneficial to all, young and old alike. "The Village" took care of their own – what a novel idea!!!

      I am nearly 64 years old so I am not speaking without experience here: WHY would any young person want to have to "invest" in something they will NEVER benefit from. Who made the Golden Rule that the young MUST assume financial responsibility for the elderly without any consideration for their own future????

      Perhaps if Social Security was the ONLY entitlement program our government funds, we would be able to do a better job of covering its cost. However, we have literally THOUSANDS of "give me" programs today, and our country may not survive if we don't make some hard choices to trim the spending NOW! As you all know, the real problem is that most people agree with cutting spending . . . . just not the program they receive money from.

      The sad fact is that the bank is broke, we are so far into the red that we will never get out if we don't change the way we conduct business in this country, and our very survival may well depend upon how much we are willing to live without. The future of the United States of America depends upon it!

    4. Don, NJ says:

      Some one has to step up to the plate and take responsibility for reforming SS.

      When this scheme was set up the average life span was about the same as the retirement age. The money would never run out. FDR promised the people a comfortable retirement. He lied. Now we are stuck with something that keeps the elder at or near the poverty level for more than on average 20 years after retirement. I would like to see achange in the system where at age 25 the money withheld from employment goes into an IRA type account for the employee and the employer's share goes to fund those currently on SS and those over the age of 25 who will be on SS in the future. Raise the minimum age to 65 and the normal age to 70. The deficit in the fund will have to come from the general revenue, but in forty years no one new will be eligible and the entitlement will eventually end. People will be funding their own retirement that money is theirs or their heirs. Its about time we end the notion of a free lunch!

    5. Dale R Va. says:

      Go back to when soc sec was started and look at the average life span. Then look at todays. Then increase the age retaires can start to receive the income by one year every two or three years untill it equals what it was.

    6. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      SS is already running in the red due to earlier retirements and lower payroll taxes caused by this recession. So, whereas the SS surplus used to fund general revenue, in exchange for IOUs, now general revenue must fund it. What a mess!

      To Heritage's youthful readers, there are many private-sector, market-based programs out there to prepare you for a decent retirement, a possible disability and that ineveitable and proverbial rainy day. Yes, you will have to forgo some or all immediate pleasure, but you will still have your pride left and not have to beg Uncle Sam for crumbs that he may not even have some day.

    7. JZ, Illinois says:

      Isn't it interesting that the left, who spend the first 65 years of an individual's life trying to separate them from as much of the money they earn as possible, suddenly become altruistic when that individual starts to receive Social Security benefits, whether that individual really needs them or not? I would think that they'd be all over means testing, just on principle. What happens to a so-called "rich" person when they hit retirement age, that transforms them from an enemy for the left to blame for all of society's ills, into another victim who needs their protection from the big, bad corporations and Republicans?

    8. KLIMAX Baltimore, Ma says:

      I was just approved for Social Security (SS) Disability Benefits (perminate disability) which will be my only source of income until I reach 65 years old and start collecting a pension from a local utility !!! If Congress, with their infinite wisdom, redo SS and reduce the amount I will be receiving it will cause me a tremendous hardship since I can't touch my pension until I am 65 !!!! These types of situations should be allowed for when any changes are discussed and eventually passed into law !!! I do not have the luxury of being able to retire early with a FULL PENSION like ALL Government employees can and then get another job (with the Government) and accrue a second pension !!!!!

      Cutting the amount people receive from SS will be a hardship for most of the people collecting and in my case I have and my employer has paid a extremely large amount of money into the SS Trust Fund expecting to collect a fair amount (around $ 2000.00) each month !!! Collect on the IOU's owed to the trust fund and start collecting at least interest on OUR money !!!!!

    9. Robert Wantz Saginaw says:

      I am certain that the men and women of the" New Congress" can find a solution to the problems which have been ignored by both parties for years. I believe this mid-term election has shown that there is honest intent to face tough issues such as Social Security entitlements. They must, remember however, that fairness carries with it the burden of being just and evenhanded.

    10. ROBERT 78 says:


    11. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      The first thing should be HOW IS THE us gOV'T going to panoy back what the "Borrowed??" Next the gov't needs to pay back all monies paid to those (Illegals and people who never paid into SS) not covered under the law. The taxes collected on the SS paid in by those over the amount stAted by law, should go into Soc. SEc. not the treasury. There are a lot of us widows out here who have no other income but our SS checks, we have worked all our lives, many of us since we were teens, we made low wages most of the time and now have 1/4th of what our husbands made to live on each month. Maybe Congress could take a pay cut, they just voted another 3% raise, that's 2 in a row, while we got nothing but higher medicare charges and an increase in the supplemental policies. lAnother way would be to get rid of all the Tsars, exempt temp. appointments from goverment benefits. How about converting the retirement Congress has to the same as other goverment employees, based on service not a salary for life. That is taking advantage of the people the served.

    12. Dr dbiggs.CA says:

      Pres OBOZO: "Tea Bagger-in-Chief"

      You Can LIE but can you READ?

      Invasion by illegal ie "Criminal Aliens"

      Obviously you have never read the United States Constitution or

      else feel that in your ivory tower and wealth that it does not apply to you!!

      I feel you need to read the following and act according to the peoples wish

      not your wishes or special interests wish list!

      There are three references to the words "invasions," "invaded," and

      "invasion" in our U.S. Constitution:

      Article I, Section 8: "The Congress shall have Power To Provide for calling

      forth the Militia to execute Laws of the Union, suppress

      insurrections and repel Invasions."

      Article I, Section 10:"No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any

      Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time

      of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with

      another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War,

      unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as

      will not admit of delay."

      Article IV, Section 4:"The United States shall guarantee to every State in the

      Union as Republican Form of Government, and shall

      protect each of them against invasion, and on

      Application of the Legislature, of of the Executive (when

      the Legislative cannot be convened) against domestic


      Your Oath of Office and sworn duties as referenced mean you must Act and

      put a Stop to the Invasion of all the Illegal immigrants we are experiencing.

      Our U.S. Constitution mandates that invasions shall be repelled by Congress.

      and that means the persons in the House of Representatives and the U.S.

      Senate. Our nation's sovereignty must be protected.

      How can you even stand in front of a mirror and even look yourself in the eyes

      knowing you are a "Bought & Paid Hoe" for special interests and the

      Democratic Party Hacks? Tell me I am wrong, please because I fear for the

      future of our country as you certainly don't care about the people or our


      You go to the SAME PLACE for LYING as you do for STEALING!!

    13. Garry Holt El Paso, says:

      The facts of the matter is that Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson saw a growing pile of money just sitting around and decided to tap into it to finance his Great Society. That pile of money was the money that we and our employeer paid in to the government to finance SS, which by the way, was initially set up for working people. SS can be fixed by repaying the system and removing all those that never paid anything into it. Yes, congress can do that. They took it away, now it is payback time. It's not my problem, it is theirs, And if your congressman refuses to do so, elect one who will. Hopefully you did last week. SS for a majority of us is not an entitlement, it is money we and our employeer gave our government to invest. Our government turned it into an entitlement when it started welcoming everyone into the system.

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