A new analysis by the Chief Actuary of Social Security reviewed several proposals billed as ways to reduce the long-term cost of Social Security. The study, commissioned by the House Ways and Means Committee, found several “would have a profoundly negative impact on the retirement security of middle-class seniors in addition to high-income retirees.”
From the study’s findings:
The Office of the Chief Actuary analyzed several proposals – including those by Budget Committee Ranking Member, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) – that claim to make “modest” changes affecting higher-income seniors in order to “save” Social Security.
“The new analysis reveals that these proposals result in benefit cuts ranging from ten percent to as high as 50 percent,” continued Pomeroy [Ways and Means Social Security Chairman]. “As I talk to seniors today about stretching their Social Security benefits with no cost of living adjustment in sight, they would not agree with describing cuts of this magnitude as ‘modest’.”
Many of the same congressional leaders who in the not-too-distant past were advocating for the privatization of Social Security are now presenting plans to “save” the system – but their rhetoric doesn’t match the reality.
The fact is, Social Security is financially sound and fiscally responsible. The program is legally prohibited from borrowing funds, and so does not contribute to the nation’s deficit. In fact, with some small changes, we could actually strengthen benefits and ensure the Trust Fund pays benefits well into the future — without cutting benefits or raising the retirement age. (The latter is really the same as the former, so don’t let that fool you either.)
The money funding Social Security payments is the direct result of millions of hours of labor by American workers – and the vast majority of them agree: Social Security benefits shouldn’t be used to pay down the deficit.
“Modest though Social Security’s benefits are, they are vitally important to the millions of Americans for whom they provide a small measure of economic security. Consistent with their importance and modest size, poll after poll has demonstrated that huge majorities of Democrats, Republicans and self-identified Tea Partiers, categorically reject cutting Social Security benefits, including raising the retirement age.”