In an otherwise very sympathetic story to the plight of older workers America, CBS tags the story with this:
Increases in the retirement age seem inevitable as the White House creates an 18-member panel to look at changes in Social Security.
For the record, the so-called Fiscal Commission, which we've renamed the Catfood Commission, was established with this mission.
President Obama created the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to address our nation's fiscal challenges. The Commission is charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run. Specifically, the Commission shall propose recommendations designed to balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt, by 2015. In addition, the Commission shall propose recommendations that meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook, including changes to address the growth of entitlement spending and the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures of the Federal Government.
It was not formed to "look at changes in Social Security," at least not ostensibly. Given the skewed nature of the commission--weighted conservative commissioners who have a history of promoting cuts to Social Security, as well as benefits cuts-happy Dems like Alice Rivlin, the story that has emerged from the commission is that it's all about Social Security.
Since Republicans on it are not only refusing to increase taxes, they're demanding more tax cuts, there's really not much else for them to discuss except Social Security. But there was a reason why this wasn't created as a Social Security commission--because Social Security didn't create the deficit and even gutting it won't solve the financial mess the country is in.
Meanwhile, an awful lot of Dems are staking their races on protecting Social Security. If they manage to eke out their majorities in 2010 after making the promise to protect it, the surest way to destruction of the party in 2012 is cutting Social Security.