In a recent appearance in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Rep. Fred Upton, a member of the "supercommittee" that will negotiate deficit reduction in coming months, expressed his opposition to cutting benefits for current Social Security recipients. Beyond that, he also said he opposed raising the retirement age above 67.
It’s critical…that the people that are benefitting today from Medicare and Social Security that they not see benefit reductions. It’s awfully hard to tell someone… who might be 82, that they’ve gotta go back to work, because their benefits are gonna be chopped. That’s not gonna happen. We’re not gonna allow that to happen.
One of the "reforms" that has been floated is the idea of changing the way annual cost-of-living adjustments are calculated for current Social Security recipients, moving it to a chained consumer price index formula, which would almost certainly lead to lower payments for people currently on Social Security. Upton's implied opposition to this plan led to applause from groups dedicated to protecting Social Security:
“We applaud Rep. Upton for his strong, common sense statement. We hope his public statement will encourage other Super Committee members and President Obama to similarly pledge to leave current beneficiaries alone,” said Nancy Altman, Co-Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign. “This summer President Obama proposed cutting Social Security for current beneficiaries. The Campaign opposes all cuts to Social Security, whose benefits are modest but vital.”
“Social Security is a public trust. Slipping the proposed ‘chained-CPI’ into the Super Committee’s negotiations violates that trust. If enacted, this provision would erode the purchasing power of current and future beneficiaries as they age,” explained Eric Kingson, Co-Director of Social Security Works. “That’s not a ‘grand-bargain.’ That’s ‘grand larceny!’ Social Security does not contribute a penny to the deficit. Plain and simple, it should not even be considered by the Super Committee. Current beneficiaries should be reassured that they will not be injured by those elected to represent them. Hopefully Rep. Upton’s support can help get Social Security off the table.”
Watch Upton's full remarks:
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