Mar 18, 2015

Empty Threats

     In the narrative explanation of its budget proposal, the House Budget Committee says that "There should be no raiding of the Social Security retirement program to bailout another, currently unsustainable program." The "unsustainable program" it's talking about is Social Security disability which has its own Disability Trust Fund separate from the Retirement and Survivors Trust Fund. Since the most recent projection is that there is a long term 20% shortfall in the Disability Trust Fund, they must be planning to pass a 20% cut in Disability Insurance Benefits since that's what will happen absent some legislation. If they actually mean what they say, their message is "You must agree to our plan to cut Social Security disability by 20% or Social Security disability will be cut by 20%." How many members of Congress, Democrats or Republicans, would vote for that?
     If you look at the actual budget numbers, the only cut in Social Security projected in the House budget is an unexplained $1 billion a year cut beginning in 2020. If you're cutting Social Security disability by 20%, the reduction in total Social Security benefit payments would be far more than $1 billion a year and it would start in 2017, not 2020.
     Do I have this right -- House Republicans are threatening cuts they couldn't possibly pass and that they don't even intend to propose?


Anonymous said...

It's called puffery, grandstanding, blowing smoke, etc. Politicians threaten/propose things all the time, doesn't mean they actually happen.

Anonymous said...


Agreed. In a way, it's actually a fund raising mechanism for incumbent members of congress. Groups with extreme views give lots of money to politicians to propose things like that. Politicians love it because they all cash in. The nuts promoting the extreme views drop cash on one group of politicians for giving voice to their extreme views. Then the groups opposing the extreme proposal have to do the same to other politicians to block it.

Anonymous said...

Its a manufactured crisis intended as leverage to force reform of SSD.