Column: Biden needs to clean house at the Social Security Administration, and fast

Image: Nick Youngson via Blue Diamond Gallery/Creative Commons 3,

Donald Trump’s obnoxious effort to plant a fifth column of administrative vandals inside federal agencies just before President Biden’s inauguration has been widely reported.

The situation at the Social Security Administration is a little different. There, the vandals weren’t installed just lately, but back in 2019. That doesn’t make their removal any less urgent, since they’ve been eroding Social Security from within for some two years now.

They’re Andrew Saul, the Social Security commissioner, and David Black, the deputy commissioner. Trump appointed both to terms that technically expire in 2025, but that’s insufficient reason to keep them in place.

Social Security advocates have been pressing Biden to get rid of them — Social Security Works, one of the leading advocacy groups, urged Biden to dump them on Inauguration Day. He hasn’t done so yet, but the program’s supporters figure that’s only because he has a few more pressing matters on his plate.

But Social Security can’t remain on the back burner for long. The program’s administrative resources need to be shored up, to counteract years of underfunding that have resulted in the closing of field offices, long waits on phone lines, and a steady decline in other measures of customer service for the nation’s biggest public program.

Full column »

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