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Jul 15, 2010

Senate Finance Committee Hearing

The Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing today on Social Security. Here is some of the opening statement of Senator Max Baucus, the Chairman of the Committee:
George Burns, who worked until he was 100, said of retirement: “Retirement at 65 is ridiculous. When I was 65, I still had pimples.”

Today, we’ll talk about people who want to work beyond retirement age. And we’ll talk about how those folks’ decisions affect Social Security.

When it comes to Social Security, folks often say that there are only two ways to improve solvency: cutting benefits or raising taxes.

Neither is easy. And each has drawbacks.

Fortunately, there are other ways. And these ways don’t involve cutting benefits or raising taxes.

For example, there’s the tax gap. The tax gap is the difference between what taxpayers owe and what they actually pay. Currently, there’s a gap of about $58 billion each year between Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes that are owed and the taxes that are paid. We have to do more to collect the tax gap.
And today, we are going to look at another idea for improving Social Security and Medicare solvency, without raising taxes or cutting benefits.

We are going to look at facilitating work by people who want to resume work after they retire from their full-time jobs, or who want to phase down their work before retiring.
The written statements of the witnesses concern ways to encourage retired people to go back to work. Stephen Goss, Social Security's Chief Actuary, is one of the witnesses. There may have been questions about the reported conflict between him and the Commissioner of Social Security but there was nothing in his written statement about this.

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