Letter to the Editor
Most of the plans endorsed in the editorial “Yes, entitlements need to be reformed” ultimately would cut benefits and undermine the fundamental nature of both programs. The assertion that only high-income earners would be affected by these “reforms” is either disingenuous or naive. Raising the eligibility age for either program would be a huge benefit cut for all seniors. Means-testing benefits would have to reach deep into the middle class to significantly improve solvency. Investing some of Social Security’s reserves on Wall Street would put the program on a slippery slope toward privatization.
The editorial called for “bipartisan” solutions, but not a single Republican has officially supported adjusting the Social Security payroll wage cap so that the wealthy contribute their fair share. In fact, the editorial omitted mention of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) Social Security Expansion Act — which would keep the trust fund solvent through the rest of the century while actually boosting benefits — or a similar bill from Rep. John B. Larson (D-Conn.), which had more than 200 co-sponsors in the last Congress. Most seniors cannot withstand benefit cuts, but the wealthy can afford to pay more to help keep these programs financially viable for future generations.
Max Richtman, Washington
The writer is president and chief executive of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and a former staff director of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.