Skip to comments.In Al Gore revival, Senate Dems eye the lockbox for Social Security (Midnight basketball next?)
Posted on 02/25/2011 2:48:43 AM PST by Libloather
In Al Gore revival, Senate Dems eye the lockbox for Social Security
By Alexander Bolton - 02/24/11 08:20 PM ET
Senate Democrats want to put the Social Security trust fund in a lockbox and insulate it from a broader budget-cutting package designed to reduce the national deficit.
Its a revival of the concept that former Vice President Al Gore (D) made famous when he sparred with George W. Bush over a proposal to invest a portion of Social Security funds in the private market.
Eleven years late, Social Security is again a hot political topic.
President Obama during his State of the Union address called on Congress to find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations.
But labor unions and liberal groups have waged a blistering campaign to steer budget cutters away from Social Security, a widely popular safety-net program.
Leading Senate Democrats say Social Security reform should not be part of a deficit reduction package under negotiation.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who is at the center of bipartisan talks, said he wants to prolong the solvency of Social Security to 75 years. Under its current setup, the program is projected to pay 100 percent of benefits for the next 26 years.
But Conrad does not want Social Security to be part of a broader proposal to reduce the $1.6 trillion federal deficit.
It might be useful to have Social Security treated on a separate track because it is not part of the deficit reduction package, Conrad told The Hill before the Presidents Day recess. I think it should be separated.
There are many who recognize we have a long-term challenge with Social Security but thats very separate from the deficit reduction, Conrad said. When those two get put together, it creates huge problems to getting the deficit reduction done because it confuses the issue.
Conrad says lawmakers should look instead to reducing projected costs in other entitlement programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. He notes that one of every six dollars in the economy is spent on healthcare and argues that further reform and savings must be found in the healthcare accounts.
Conrads stance should please House Democrats who warned the Senate last week to keep Social Security out of a plan to reduce the general government budget deficit.
Divorce this conversation about deficit reduction from Social Security and making it a better program! Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) told a meeting of Social Security advocates on Capitol Hill last week.
But its an area of potential disagreement with Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who is meeting regularly with Conrad and Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) to put together a deficit reduction plan.
Coburn warns that if Social Security reform is not part of the package, Congress wont address it for years.
Nothing will ever happen if we do it that way, Coburn said of the prospect of separating Social Security from a deficit reduction package.
Liberal Democrats were concerned over Conrads role in deficit reduction talks because, as a member of Obamas fiscal commission, he voted for a plan to raise the Social Security retirement age and lower cost-of-living adjustments.
They are reassured that Conrad has said Social Security reform should be kept apart from a broad deficit reduction package.
I appreciate what Sen. Conrad said, said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), founder of the Senate Social Security Caucus. I can tell you that I think there is growing sentiment within the Democratic caucus to make sure that Social Security is not dealt with within the context of deficit reduction.
Sanders said once Social Security is separated from deficit reduction talks, lawmakers could debate ways to extend its solvency. He favors raising the cap on income subject to payroll taxes, which is now $106,800.
Other Senate Democrats have called for Social Security reform to be handled separately from a comprehensive deficit reduction package.
Social Security isnt contributing to the deficit now, said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.). We need to be working to ensure the long-term survivability of Social Security but weve got a lot of other big budget challenges in the short term.
What I think is important is for the broad public to realize that any changes to Social Security are going to stand on their own to ensure that Social Security is viable, he said. Its not part of fixing the deficit.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said Social Security reform should be handled separately because it doesnt affect the deficit.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has also argued against linking Social Security reform to deficit reduction.
Jim Kessler, vice president of policy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank, said lawmakers can separate Social Security from the deficit reduction package but they must reform the entitlement program sometime during the 112th Congress.
He argues that Democrats should agree to reforms to extend solvency while they control the White House and Senate.
When is going to be a better environment to do something on Social Security? he said. The whole political formulation of Congress and the White House could change and then youre really in bad shape. Id like to see them do something this Congress.
And that was the plan all along. Year after year, election after election, RATS need to run on something that's broken. Just wait until the unconstitutional Commiecare kicks in.
20% cut across the board for all programs, even the military. After that it’ll be easier to find fat to trim.
So we cut Social Security and at the same time print more money that isn’t worth anything adding that inflated dollar to he 20% cut, and what happens to the poor old lady who gets $500 dollars a month to live off?
I hate to say it because it effects me and my future income, but the first move would be to cut off double dippers. Those who have an income above $50,000 dollars without Social Security should not be allowed to double dip.
Would that hurt?? Damned right it would, but not as bad as those who have no income at all except Social Security.
A lot of lifestyles would have to change including my own, but no matter what is done that is going to happen.
NO... GORED HEAD SAID THAT THERE WAS A LOCK BOX... THAT SOCIAL SECURITY FUNDS HAD NEVER BEEN SPENT AND THAT THEY WERE IN A LOCK BOX... HE LIES ABOUT EVERYTHING... AND HE IS EXTREMELY FAT AND SMELLS REALLY BAD... HE HAS TOE JAM BETWEEN HIS TEETH... HE HAS THE BREATH OF A HIPPO’S A$$.
Social Security: The longest running Ponzi scheme in history.
Prepare for the worst. Hope for the best. Before Social Security, Americans were born, Americans lived and Americans died. Good families took care of their own, bad families didn't. The reason I said cut 20% across the board is so everyone has something to cry about. If I were king, there would be no more printing money. As a matter of fact, I would start taking money out of circulation starting with the TARP funds that have been paid back.
aaaahahahahahahaha...LOCKBOX!!!!???!! it is filled with IOU’s...there ain’t no cash in there..
mustve been nice to have extra cash to buy votes with yesterday...lemme get out my crystal ball and 'project' gubmint revenues for the yr 2045 and see if SS is still solvent...lmao...
Not this crap again!
First thing there is NO SS trust fund now, current benefits are paid by the treasury issuing new debt. The above is a lie. Where are the honest brave Republicans to tell the truth? never mind.
Second, no more collecting SS surpluses (if that was even possible) as we know they will just spend them. Given that they just cut FICA taxes without cutting benefits, the whole idea of SS solvency is a joke.