The Deficit Commission is supposed to report its recommendations on Wednesday, December 1st. Tuesday is National Call-in Day to let targeted members of Congress know what we think of the catfood commission. We’ve got to start banging the drums now to fight what the co-chairs, Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat (in name only) Erskine Bowles, hope they can get the commission to propose:
- Raise the retirement age to 69
- Cut benefits up to 35%for middle-income workers
- Cut Social Security’s COLA, which does not pay enough as it is
Please make two quick calls. One minute apiece ought to do it. Just tell Senator Dick Durbin (1-202-224-2152), who is on the commission, to oppose meddling with Social Security. Tell Senator Claire McCaskill (1-202-224-6154) that if and when the issue of cuts to Social Security comes before the Senate, she must consider the program sacrosanct.
After all, Social Security is not the reason we have a deficit.
Social Security has not contributed one dime to our nation’s deficit. The Social Security Trust Fund was built up in preparation for the baby boomers’ retirement. In fact, the annual surpluses in Social Security have been used for years to help balance the federal budget.
Today Social Security is owed $2.6 trillion previously loaned to the federal government to cover the cost of other programs. But budget hawks are arguing that there is not enough money to pay back this loan to Social Security, so their answer is to cut Social Security benefits instead.
Working Americans of all ages have contributed money to Social Security and that money belongs to them, not the government. That money is dedicated to paying promised benefits. Social Security should not be used as a piggy bank to pay for bad fiscal decisions of the past.
What I’d like to know is why the commission has apparently not even considered the eminently practical solutions of making the wealthy pay social security taxes on their whole income (not just the first $106,800 per individual) and halting all borrowing from the trust fund.
Admittedly, we stand a good chance that the commission will fizzle with no recommendation at all on Social Security. It is composed of ten Democrats, including some Blue Dogs, and eight Republicans; for it to make any recommendation, it must get fourteen members to agree. That’s a very high bar. But it makes me simmer that we may have to fight the 2005 battle again, this time with Democrats in charge.