Sometimes you’d just rather be wrong…and this is one of those times.The Chairmen of the President’s Fiscal Commission unveiled their solutions for the nation’s debt/deficit mess in a hastily called news conference today and– as predicted– it’s all about cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
?America?s retirees, disabled and their families had hoped for a balanced approach to solving our nation?s fiscal crisis. Unfortunately, that is not what we received in today?s report by the Chairmen of the President?s Fiscal Commission. This proposal relies far too heavily on benefit cuts which will hurt millions of Americans. Lowering COLA?s which hit even current retirees, raising the retirement age, and making benefit cuts in Social Security have nothing to do with solving this fiscal crisis and do not offer a balanced solution to debt reduction by any stretch of the imagination.??Barbara B. Kennelly, President and CEO
Specifically, the proposal released today by the Chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, former Senate Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles would:Raise the Retirement Age to 69 ? this proposals calls for a gradual increase to age 68 by the year 2050 and 69 by 2075. This would result in substantial benefit reductions for the generations of Americans.Reduce Cost of Living Adjustments ? this proposal suggests a different method of calculating the cost-of-living adjustment resulting in smaller COLAs as soon as 2012, impacting even current retirees. Estimates are this would lower benefits by approximately 3 percent after 10 years of retirement and 6 percent after 20 years of retirement.Cut Social Security Benefits – by changing Social Security?s benefit formula this proposal would cut benefits for millions of future retirees.More Medicare cuts ? this time directly to benefitsIncreased Cost Sharing for Seniors – Congress just enacted the Affordable Care Act, which included billions in savings from Medicare yet did not target beneficiaries. However, this Commission proposal includes hundreds of billions of additional Medicare cuts, over $100 billion of which will come directly out of the pockets of seniors in the form of increased cost-sharing. The average senior is already spending 30% of his/her Social Security benefit on Medicare Part B & Part D out-of-pocket costs alone; this proposal would increase that amount.Reduced Provider Reimbursements ? This proposal includes a new round of cuts in Medicare provider reimbursements before reforms in the health care law have even been implemented, which could leave seniors without access to affordable health care.
?America?s seniors and their families want Washington to get its fiscal house in order; however, they also know Social Securitydid not create this economic mess and should not foot the bill for failed economic policies of the past. The American people are serious about deficit reduction and have said in poll after poll that they?ll support a balanced proposal. This isn?t it.??Barbara B. Kennelly, President and CEO
The only good news here is no one takes this proposal seriously beyond those who’ve pushed this anti-Social Security and Medicare agenda from the beginning, such as the Peterson Foundation and all ofthe other anti-entitlement groups it funds. According to CBS:
The document, from co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, is not the bipartisan commission’s final proposal, which is due at the end of the month. It likely could not win support from 14 of the commission’s 18 members, which is necessary to advance it to Congress for consideration.