The co-chairs of a presidential advisory commission have recommended deep cuts in Social Security benefits as part of a federal deficit-reduction program, even though Social Security has played no part in creating the problem of the federal deficit. Their proposal would raise the retirement age over time to 69, cutting benefits for middle-class workers, and reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments.
As the national AFL-CIO has noted, “deliberate distortions” have created a false sense of urgency about the supposed need for cuts in Social Security. The Center for Economic and Policy Research likewise points out that misinformation has led many to believe Social Security is in immediate danger of insolvency. Yet the program even by the most cautious estimate will be fully solvent for almost 30 more years. Furthermore, says economist Dean Baker of CEPR, “even if no changes are ever made, a child born in 2010 can expect to see a benefit that is more than 50 percent larger in real terms than what current retirees receive today.” In fact, Congress could render moot all talk of Social Security benefit reductions, creating a Social Security surplus as far as the eye can see, by making just one entirely justifiable change–eliminating the current exemption of annual earnings above $107,000 from the Social Security tax.
False claims about Social Security’s supposed insolvency also have been deployed to argue against the Social Security Fairness Act, which would repeal two unfair offsets that take away duly earned benefits of retired school employees and other public-sector retirees in Texas and a dozen-plus other states. The phony argument is that Social Security can’t afford to undo the offsets and restore these earned benefits because the program already is short of money.
Let your U.S. senators know you’re not buying any part of the “phony crisis” story line on Social Security, and neither should they. Call U.S. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn tomorrow and urge them to reject proposed cuts in Social Security benefits. Hands off Social Security!
You can use this link to join fellow AFT members and other allies in participating in the National Call Congress Day. Tell your senators to put down the knife and say NO to cutting our Social Security (http://action.aft.org/c/44/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=1974).
The loss of Social Security benefits now on the chopping block will hurt middle-class families most, including retirees, survivors, and disabled workers. Young workers—our kids, grandkids, and neighbors—who earn $43,000 to $107,000 a year also will feel the effects of Social Security eroding, if we don’t step in. Let your senators know that Social Security is a promise that must not be broken.