Good: No mention of Social Security cuts in SOTU. Better: Let’s improve benefits for all.
Yesterday, the Huffington Post, Washington Post and others reported a bit of good news that was confirmed by Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to members of Social Security Works – Washington: President Obama will not endorse raising the retirement age or cutting Social Security benefits in his State of the Union Address.
Your calls, letters and emails played a large part in the President’s decision. Thank you.
However, our work is far from over. It is clear that by even considering proposals to cut Social Security, President Obama is ignoring the simple fact that per federal law, Social Security does not contribute to the deficit. The President is also ignoring any easy fix for the smallest of problems: any projected shortfall in the Social Security Trust Fund (25 years from now) would disappear by simply removing the cap on taxable earnings (currently set at $106,800).
In other words, if everyone were contributing their fair share to Social Security, we could make it stronger for the generations to come by improving benefits for working parents, students, low-income workers, and many others. Bob Herbert, writing for the New York Times, put it well:
Mugging the nation’s grandparents by depriving them of some of their modest, hard-earned Social Security retirement benefits is hardly an answer to the nation’s ills. And, believe me, those benefits are modest. The average benefit is just $14,000 a year, which is less than the minimum wage would pay. With employer-provided pensions going the way of the typewriter and pay telephones, the income from Social Security is becoming more precious by the day.
Read more of Bob Herbert’s column here: Raising False Alarms »