Rather than relive every minute of last night’s debate, we’ve decided to give you a collection of the best of the best Social Security and Medicare debate analysis, from a variety of sources. First, from NCPSSM’s President/CEO, Max Richtman:
“Finally, the American people were allowed a glimpse into what our Presidential tickets, represented by their Vice Presidential candidates in last night’s debate, have in mind for Social Security and Medicare. Their differences couldn’t be starker. However, what wasn’t said last night is the indisputable fact that Social Security is not in crisis, it’s not broke and it’s not bankrupt. The moderator’s incorrect premise followed by the candidates’ validating responses ignored the demonstrable facts that must be the starting point for any Social Security discussion. Social Security has $2.7 trillion in its trust fund; it will pay full benefits until 2033 and 75% of full benefits after that. By no definition can that be considered bankrupt or in crisis.
When it comes to Medicare, the differences have been laid out clearly—and Joe Biden is right. The Romney/Ryan “CouponCare” plan eliminates the guarantee of Medicare and takes us back to the days when seniors were at the mercy of private insurance companies for their health care. Seniors will pay more for less and while Rep. Ryan makes claims of increased choice, his privatized Medicare plan will actually make it much harder for seniors to choose their own doctor.
But with just two more debates and a few weeks until Election Day there’s only a short time left for candidates to finally ditch the political propaganda and mistruths and start giving it to us straight. The American people deserve the truth about Social Security and Medicare proposals which will impact the lives of millions of middle-class families for generations.” … Max Richtman, President/CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
Think Progress and Dean Baker at CEPR also picked up on how one really terrible question helped Paul Ryan mislead viewers :
“RADDATZ: Let’s talk about Medicare and entitlements. Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process. Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive? Mr. Ryan.
RYAN: Absolutely. Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.
The media consistently fuel the misconception that Social Security is bankrupt or going broke, whipping itself into a frenzy of doomsday scenarios and asking politicians when they will deal with this supposedly grave threat to the U.S. budget. However, Social Security can pay full benefits until 2037, and nearly full benefits for years after that, even if literally nothing is done to change the program. Reporters would surely be shocked if infrastructure projects, child nutrition programs, or any other federal effort were fully funded for more than two decades, but no credit is given to lawmakers for achieving just that with Social Security.” Think Progress, October 12, 2012
“Polls consistently show that a majority of young people believe that they stand to get nothing back from Social Security when they retire. That is of course not true unless Congress were to vote to eliminate the program. Under the latest projections they would stand to get a larger benefit than current retirees even if nothing is ever done to change the program’s finances. It is unlikely that listeners would understand this to be the case based on Raddatz’s comment.
It is also unlikely that viewers would have realized that the changes put in place by the Affordable Care Act extended the date when Medicare is first projected to face a shortfall from 2016 to 2024 and reduced the projected shortfall over the program’s 75-year planning period by more than two thirds. The remaining gap could be filled by a tax increase that is less than 2 percent of projected wage growth over the next 30 years.” Beat the Press
Lastly, AFL-CIO Now describes the Romney/Ryan plan for Social Security and Medicare in frightening clear (and completely true) terms:
Last night, we learned vice presidential contender Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and running mate Mitt Romney envision a pretty bleak future for working people. The Romney-Ryan future is one where seniors (part of the 47%) toil until age 70 when they can collect on a woefully inadequate privatized Social Security account—where people must wait until age 67 to receive a coupon (a.k.a. Medicare voucher) for health care. A future where millionaires and billionaires, the richest 2%, continue to receive massive tax cut giveaways at the expense of working people.
Besides Ryan’s support for partial Social Security privatization, we also learned Romney wants to raise the retirement age to 70 and cut Social Security benefits for middle-income workers using the progressive price indexing formula change, which is code for: cutting benefits. According to the Social Security chief actuary, a medium income earner, someone who made $43,000 in 2010, would see substantial benefit cuts under Romney’s plan. For a person retiring in 2030, the cut is $2,396. For a person retiring in 2050, the cut is $4,730.
The choices for middle-class seniors and their families couldn’t be clearer.