Voting for Change: But What Kind?

2018-05-15T21:55:04+00:00November 3rd, 2010|entitlement reform, fiscal commission, Social Security|

We can?t help but think of the old saying that goes ?be careful what you wish for?you may just get it.?A frustrated American electorate went to the polls and, as historically happens in midterm elections, voted out the party in power in the US House and even shifted the balance in the Senate. So, we?ve spent the morning looking at what this shift potentially means for America?s seniors. Specifically, what do these newly elected members say about Social Security and Medicare? The answer is, to put it mildly, discouraging:

?Social security is a bad investment?you could probably do no worse sticking your money under your mattress?let young working people opt out, the sooner the better, let ?em opt out and get a better investment.? Rand Paul, KY Senator-elect?I have been arguing for many years in favor of Social Security personal retirement accounts.? Pat Toomey, PA Senator-elect. In Toomey’s book, the first subhead under the “Transforming Social Security” chapter is “Personal Accounts Lead to Personal Prosperity.”“Social Security, whether we want it to or not, in its current form cannot survive and will not exist for us?”I do think the retirement age issue is going to have to be confronted?The other is giving people the option of taking some of their Social Security money, at least a potion thereof, and investing it in an alternative to the Social Security system itself.” Marco Rubio, FL Senator-elect

And that?s just in the Senate. In the House, long-time Social Security advocate and chairman of the Social Security subcommittee, Earl Pomeroy, was defeated by conservative Rick Berg. Pomeroy was the House sponsor of legislation to provide COLA relief to seniors and was expected to be considered by the House this month. That legislation is now unlikely to get any attention in this new climate on Capitol Hill. His replacement, Congressman-elect Berg, opposes raising the payroll tax, reducing benefits, increasing the retirement age, or privatizing Social Security but proposes allowing oil and gas drillingin National Parks as a way to raise revenues for Social Security.

?There’s a huge opportunity right now to take those mineral assets that are on the federal government’s balance sheet and shift them to Social Security.? Congressman-elect Rick Berg, R-N.D

It?s unlikely that drilling in National Parks will be seen as a serious option for funding Social Security; however, COLA relief legislation is definitely a serious issue for millions of seniors facing the second year in a row with no cost of living increase.And let?s not forget that the President?s fiscal commission has clearly targeted Social Security for benefit cuts, an increase in the retirement age (which is just another form of benefit cut), indexing or countless other mix-and-match reforms using Social Security funds to balance the federal books. The commission?s proposal, if there is one, will be presented to a lame duck Congress next month. That means many of the pro-Social Security advocates defeated at the polls yesterday–members who are literally packing up their offices–may have to cast one last vote on their way out of town. It?s a vote that could change Social Security forever.