Skip to main content

View Diary: 29 Senators Say No Cuts to Social Security Benefits – What About the Others? (10 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  DDay has an important observation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sunspots, Progressive Pen
    I think the real tell here is this: the two Senators arguably the closest to the White House, Dick Durbin and John Kerry, did not sign this letter. That’s a bit of a tell for the level of flexibility the President wants on a grand bargain. The simple claim made in this letter is that the budget and Social Security have separate funding streams, and so changes to their programs should be considered separately. But the two biggest allies of the White House in the Senate wouldn’t even go there.
    On the other hand:
    "I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security," Biden told patrons of the Coffee Break Café in Stuart, Virginia, "I flat guarantee you."
    And then the President weighs in, and "no changes" becomes:
    So we are going to have to make some changes in Social Security, but it’s not the major driver of our deficit. And what I’ve proposed is let’s work on Social Security, but let’s not confuse that with this major budget debate that we’re having about how we deal with both spending and revenues because that is the problem that is going to require some really hard work and some bipartisan cooperation.
    He held out lifting the earnings cap as something we could do to fix Social Security--which is what he said in the last campaign.  When the campaign ended he launched a series of efforts to cut it, including in the failed Grand Bargain last year. He also has indicated support for Simpson-Bowles, which provides:
    One of the items in the Bowles-Simpson plan is a reduction in the annual cost-of-living adjustment of roughly 0.3 percentage points. This would be accomplished by using a different index that, by design, would show a lower measured rate of inflation. It is important to recognize that this is an annual cut that would accumulate over time. After a retiree has been receiving benefits for 10 years the cut would be 3.0 percent, after 20 years it would be 6 percent. If a typical retiree lives long enough to get benefits for 20 years the average benefit cut over their years of retirement would be 3 percent.

    This is the most immediate cut to Social Security in the Bowles-Simpson plan but not the only one. The plan also would gradually raise the age at which retirees receive full benefits to 69. It also phases in a reduction in benefits for workers whose earnings averaged more than $40,000 a year over their working lifetime.

    Meanwhile, Dick Durbin, the President's guy in the Senate, is on board for cutting Social Security now to avoid cutting it in 2037.  Seriously.  The average benefit is $14k a year and this wealthy politician wants to cut Social Security, now, can't wait.
    Durbin criticized a resolution put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders, a liberal independent from Vermont, that says Social Security should not be cut under a deficit reduction plan. Durbin said he would not vote for such a resolution.
    I had a chance to meet Bernie Sanders last year, and I used it to thank him for his efforts to defend Social Security from the Republicans, and from Democrats like Dick Durbin and John Kerry.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (156)
  • Community (83)
  • Baltimore (79)
  • Freddie Gray (58)
  • Bernie Sanders (56)
  • Civil Rights (48)
  • Elections (39)
  • Culture (35)
  • Media (33)
  • Hillary Clinton (32)
  • 2016 (29)
  • Law (28)
  • Racism (28)
  • Education (24)
  • Environment (24)
  • Labor (23)
  • Politics (22)
  • Republicans (22)
  • Barack Obama (19)
  • Police Brutality (19)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site