There’s news today that the Social Security Administration has offered early retirement to 9,000 employees…that’s a whopping 14% of its workforce.
The attacks on Social Security aren’t limited to benefit cuts alone. It’s clear some in Congress seek to undermine the program in as many ways as possible and seniors and the disabled will ultimately pay the price.
Conservatives in Congress have long espoused a political philosophy that says if you can’t kill a successful government program, like Social Security or Medicare, let’s just starve them to death instead. That’s exactly what’s been done over recent years to the Social Security Administration. Rather than budgeting and preparing for a growing number of retiring Americans – after all, the Baby Boomer generation is hardly a surprise – Congress has chosen this time in our history to make devastating budget cuts to one of the nation’s most efficient, effective and well-respected agencies whose services touch virtually every American family.
Already, Social Security field offices have had to close 30 minutes early thanks to budget cuts, the agency has had to freeze hiring, expects to lose about 2,500 federal employees, plus 1,000 state employees who are paid with federal funds; did not open eight new hearing offices; and has suspended mailing Social Security statements.
Some estimates show that thanks to these budget attacks the SSA workforce could drop by an additional 4,400 federal and state employees, for a total of 7,900 workers in two years. Almost 400,000 fewer disability claims would be processed, taking the backlog to 1.2 million and the processing time to longer than four months.
Does this sound like good governance or politics as usual to you?