We’ve got to separate out Social Security — the savings derived from there should be purely for the purpose of extending solvency of Social Security itself. Social Security has not contributed to the deficit problem.Exactly. It really is that simple.
Any Grand Bargain whose paramount goal is deficit reduction, ought to look at those programs that have solvency issues. On Medicare and Medicaid, the government could take aim at wrenching savings from the delivery system, focusing on providers. On Defense, we could cut back on Cold War era weapons systems and extracting more savings from supply procurement. I don't see a lot of fat in the remaining discretionary budget. The big ones that are running up the deficit are the costs of war and healthcare. Any serious deal on the cuts side of things has to include a realistic look at those programs. And of course, we could do exactly what the president is proposing on the tax expeditures and rates side, focusing especially on breaks and loopholes for corporations and the wealthy. Cutting Social Security in order to use the savings to remedy the deficit problem is wrong.
But the key to making sure lawmakers look at where the problems are is to remove from discussion the one program that has no problems at all for at least another 25 to 30 years. Social Security reduces the overall deficit because it runs a huge surplus every year. Social Security is not a problem. Leave Social Security out of it.