Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Cutting Social Security: really, really bad idea

Ezra Klein says he has become a convert fromt he "Let Grandma east catfood" persuasion to realizing that cutting Social Security is not a good idea at all. He explains in Making Social Security less generous isn't the answer Washington Post 09/05/2010:

Social Security provides disability insurance and survivor's benefits, but when people talk about it, they tend to be referring to its role as a program that provides income support to retirees. The average monthly benefit of $1,170 replaces about 39 percent of the person's pre-retirement earnings. Over the next two decades, the "replacement rate" is slated to drop to 31 percent. That is less than in most developed countries -- the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks it 25 out of 30 member nations.

The system, in other words, is not that generous, and it's becoming less so every year. The age at which you can begin collecting full Social Security benefits is moving from 65 to 67, as part of a deal struck in the 1980s to ensure the system's solvency. And all this at a time when employers are getting rid of defined-benefit pensions, which means that most workers will have no guaranteed retirement income except for Social Security. [my emphasis]
And Democratic President Barack Obama, who was elected in part because he and his Party opposed the Cheney-Bush Social Security phase-out programmed, has appointed the Catfood Commission and stacked it with people who are almost certain to recommend Social Security cuts. A truly, genuinely bad policy.

Two important pro-Social Security sites to watch in the fight against Obama's Catfood Commission are Social Security Works and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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