Congress is proposing a freeze on funding for the already strapped Social Security Administration at last year’s levels. The SSA administrative budget has already fallen by over 10 percent since 2010 after adjusting for inflation. The GOP’s 2016 SSA Appropriation ignores inflation and the fact that ten thousand Americans are turning 65 each day.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities details what these budget cuts mean for a program that touches the lives of virtually every American family:
Since 2010, SSA has lost over 6,000 employees, nearly 10 percent of its staff. As a result, SSA's service is suffering:
- Reduced field office hours.
- Increased wait times for appointments.
- Longer hold times.
- Cutbacks in Social Security Statements.
- Backlogged Disability Insurance claims.
- Delays in processing earnings reports.
Logically, you’re probably wondering how is an agency serving a growing number of Americans (and it’s not like the baby boomer generation is a surprise) be expected to do its job with no resources? The answer lies in the long-held “starve the beast” and “drown-the-government” conservative strategy still being practiced, decades later, by GOP leaders in Congress.
“I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” Grover Norquist
Social Security is well-managed with small administrative costs. However, underfunding popular programs that conservatives can’t outright abolish or dismantle (if they hope to keep their seats in Congress, anyway) continues to be used as a political strategy to weaken Social Security. This underfunding has now been going on long enough that Social Security services provided to average Americans have been cut to the bone.
Who ultimately pays the price for this political strategy? Average American families who have contributed their entire working lives to Social Security and have a reasonable expectation that the SSA would be funded by Congress to successfully fulfill its mission...as it has done for 80 years.