May 14, 2012

It's Shocking

     Mark Miller at Reuters thinks it's a terrible thing that Social Security is no longer mailing out annual statements to working people. Miller is also shocked to hear that the agency has frozen hiring, reduced its workforce and is cutting field offices. He cannot believe that people are increasingly required to do business with Social Security over the internet.
     He's right. This shouldn't be happening. 
     The problem with Miller's piece is that its thrust seems to be that the service reductions are the result of choices by Social Security management. I don't get the feeling when reading his piece that he has any idea just how tight the budget squeeze is at Social Security, that Social Security management had a gun held to its head when it made these decisions. There's no way to fairly write about service at Social Security without talking about the insistence of Congressional Republicans on slashing federal non-defense discretionary spending. Miller doesn't talk about that subject even though he's been critical of Republican budget plans for Medicare. I know that "federal non-defense discretionary spending" sounds like an awfully boring topic but the consequences of decisions on "federal non-defense discretionary spending" for Social Security, for other government agencies and for the American public are important.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When SSA leadership is too afraid to speak out on these budgetary problems, as it has for decades now, this is what you get. Instead, we had the happy faces before Congressional committees insisting we could do more with less (finally waking up now, thankfully) and playing right into political hands.

Astrue might take a lesson from the Postmaster General, who isn't afraid to take his message to the public and explain the debacle of the 2006 Postal Modernization Act, requiring forward funding of pensions for 75 years and which is the crux of USPS' problems. SSA "leaders" should take the agency's issues to the public as well. Since Astrue is a lame duck, what does he have to lose?