Jan 4, 2012

Not Out Of The Woods

     From Scott Hochberg writing in Huffington Post:
For Social Security’s advocates, this past year has been all about defense. Fortunately, the defense outplayed the offense. Those of us playing defense were backed by the overwhelming majority of the American people who across both party line and virtually every demographic are clear that they do not want to see Social Security benefits weakened by benefit cuts. ...
The journey has not been easy thus far, and the path ahead will be just as formidable. Despite the successes all year in preventing cuts to Social Security, as long as there are many in Congress intent on cutting the program, it will not be out of the woods.
2012 will be a crucial year for Social Security.The extension of the two percentage point cut in employee payroll tax contributions, is moving the program’s financing into unchartered waters.
The GOP presidential candidates are even more radical than Congress has been, with all the major candidates supporting partially privatizing Social Security and at least four calling for the retirement age to be raised (Bachmann, Perry, Romney, Santorum). Remarkably, four are also on record for calling Social Security a “fraud” or “Ponzi scheme” (Bachmann, Gingrich, Perry, Romney).
      Hochberg did not write about the attacks on Social Security disability benefits. Social Security's enemies realize that they are a long way from serious reductions in retirement benefits but believe that they can use the upcoming temporary disability trust fund problem as a pretext for gutting disability benefits. That is the biggest immediate threat to Social Security.


No Saj said...

Of all the defenders of Social Security enumerated in the article, what stands out most to me is the absense of Social Security officials. I understand that Commissioners don't want to be seen as insubordinate, but there are ways besides public statements by Commissioners that a savvy organization could try.

Getting out the facts is a must. Eliminating the Social Security Statement was a bad idea, and further weakens people's connection to their social security money. Then there's the fact that few people know about the low overhead costs, the extent of the benefits programs, or the true nature of the trust fund solvency issue.

Jim Courtney has been the Office of Communication's director for almost a decade now - appointed under Bush and left in place by Obama. He has been instrumental in rendering this department completely impotent and cutting off outreach to citizens at every opportunity. He is a pet favorite of Astrue and Obama.

It seems as if Steve Goss is the only official in Social Security with any kind of social conscience. Everyone else here just cares about their career.

Sorry about the rant, but I work at headquarters and I see these failures everyday.

Anonymous said...

And those of us who are retired saw those failures for many years. The "executive" leadership of the Social Security Administration, both political and career SES, has been extremely disappointing.

Don Levit said...

When the DI trust fund is exhausted, the reality that had been true with a positive balance becomes starkly real.
The current taxes will have to be supplemented by general revenues, for there are no numbers left to tap!
Heretofore, tapping the positive balance in the trust fund meant what - the same thing it will mean when the fund is exhausted - tappping of general revenues AS IF THE TRUST FUND DID NOT EXIST!
Don Levit

Anonymous said...

@No Saj: Is Colvin's role changing?

No Saj said...

I haven't heard anything about Colvin. Who she is or what she does has little to no effect on what us grunts do. It's a hobnob / resume padder job and that's about it.

Anonymous said...

What is the point of lowering the contribution to the FICA tax if the SSDI and RSDI programs are already low on funds? Now my pay is frozen to pay for this little increase in my checks of around $50.00. It is another stupid stimulus that isn't really doing anything in the long run.