The House Appropriations Committee has announced a schedule for markup of spending bills for fiscal year (FY) 2012, which begins on October 1, 2011. The Labor-HHS appropriations bill, which includes the Social Security Administration, is set for subcommittee markup on July 26 and for full committee markup on August 2.
More importantly, the House Appropriations Committee has announced subcommittee allocations, that is the total amount of each subcommittee appropriation. The Labor-HHS Subcommittee has been told to cut appropriations by 12% from FY 2011 and by 26% from the President's budget. This would render the agency just about non-functional. You can fantasize all you want from whatever cost savings scheme you can imagine but you cannot come up with any way to reduce Social Security's operating budget by 12% and leave the agency able to do its mission. The only way to accomplish this would be with massive personnel reductions, either by a huge reduction in force or by regular, frequent furloughs of all of Social Security's personnel or by a combination of the two.
You almost want to see what would happen if this were enacted. Would we then have a truly "grown-up" discussion about government spending?