Deficit projections have already decreased by $200 billion for this year alone, so why do Republicans keep lunging for ever-more radical spending cuts like they were corn dogs at a barbecue? That's more in deficit reduction than President Obama's proposed cut to Social Security would "save" in 10. So why hasn't he withdrawn the proposal?
It would make more sense to dial back on the sequester, which is the biggest driver of these revised deficit figures, and work on the fundamental weaknesses in our economy that are prolonging the recession. In the long run this approach would do more to reduce deficits, too.
Instead of cutting Social Security, they should be strengthening the country's social safety net. A good start would be the passage of Sen. Tom Harkin's bill to increase Social Security's benefits. (If I were you I'd contact our senators and representative and demand that they support it. I already have, by signing this petition.)
The Mother of All Crises
You wouldn't know it from listening to most politicians, but there's a crisis going on. In fact, there are a few of them going on -- including the crisis of un- and under-employment, the crisis of wage stagnation, and the crisis caused by lost social mobility.
Each of these unaddressed problems feed into the Mother of All Economic Crises, the one that our mothers and fathers are facing and we'll all confront ourselves someday: the retirement crisis. Sen. Tom Harkin has a bill that starts to address that crisis, in a bill that should be passed immediately.
Harkin's bill would increase the typical Social Security benefit by roughly $800 per year. Since most seniors depend on Social Security as their primary source of income, most of that money would be spent immediately. That means the Harkin bill will also have a modest but genuine stimulus effect. And by providing added protection for lower-income retirees, which would protect more seniors from falling into poverty while increasing the stimulus effect.
And it's all paid for. Harkin's bill would pay for this benefit increase and ensure Social Security's solvency by removing the tax cap which currently exempts income above a certain level (currently about $110,000) from taxation.