As we've frequently seen from commentators on various liberal blogs. There's been this concern that the WH would "slash" SS Benefits. I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind such "concern-trolling". It's one thing to attack specific policies that the WH brings out. It's quite another to attack motivations.
Anyways, David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to the President came out tonight and said no "slash" of benefits is in the offing.
Plouffe Denies WH will slash Benefits
Before we argue about Social Security, we need to draw some basic points. Social Security has a surplus in the Trust Fund. What that means is that SS is NOT contributing to the deficit or the debt.
However, according to the Social Security Administration, assuming that nothing is done to the finances of Social Security, the program WILL start contributing to the deficit and the debt by 2037. In particular, what will happen, if NOTHING is done, is that there will be an AUTOMATIC cut to SS by then. On the range of about 22%. Hence, those getting benefits would only get about 78% of them.
The closer we get to 2037, the more drastic the option will be. I'm in favor of cutting a deal on SS now (mainly because I don't know who's going to be President in 2037 and what congress is). But I am in favor of keeping a discussion of that program AWAY from deficit reduction talk. Because, it has nothing to do with deficit reduction.
Jacob Lew, the current OMB Director, has stated that basic point.
And now we have David Plouffe Saying that there will be no "slashing" or "reducing" benefits of SS.
Plouffe's inclusion of the word "reduce" alongside the pledge not to "slash" may have been an innocent rhetorical addition to a common administration talking point -- one used several weeks ago during the State of the Union address. But for advocates working to make current benefits sacrosanct and fretting that the White House had left the door open to either cost of living adjustments or other benefit "tweaks," it was noteworthy.
"Until now, Sen. Harry Reid was the top Democratic leader on the record saying that cuts to Social Security benefits were off the table in any form -- big or small, slash or tweak," said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. "If Mr. Plouffe's words are true -- that the White House opposes all reductions in benefits for current beneficiaries and future ones alike -- it's huge news. Such a position is overwhelmingly popular with Democratic, Independent, and Republican voters alike, and is the kind of boldness Democrats will need to show to win big in 2012."
Here are the 6 Principles that the WH has outlined:
The President believes that we should come together now, in bipartisan fashion, to strengthen Social Security for the future. He calls on the Congress to follow the example of great party leaders in the past — such as Speaker Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. and President Ronald Reagan — and work in a bipartisan fashion to strengthen Social Security for years to come. Guiding the Administration in these talks will be the President’s six principles for reform:
• Any reform should strengthen Social Security for future generations and restore long-term solvency.
• The Administration will oppose any measures that privatize or weaken the Social Security system.
• While all measures to strengthen solvency should be on the table, the Administration will not accept an approach that slashes benefits for future generations.
• No current beneficiaries should see their basic benefits reduced.
• Reform should strengthen retirement security for the most vulnerable, including low-income seniors.
• Reform should maintain robust disability and survivors’ benefits.
h/t Ezra Klein
So my question becomes, can we cut the BS on this meme? If not, why not?