Should Social Security and Medicare Be Cut?

President Obama has formed a Fiscal Committee to look at how to reduce the government deficit.  With Medicare, Social Security, and the Defense budgets totaling 75% of government spending, it looks like Medicare and Social Security are primary targets for deficit hawks.  The Fiscal Committee is scheduled to present its deficit reduction suggestions to the President in December of this year.

Barbara Kennelly, President of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, spoke to the Fiscal Committee last week.  Here are some of her remarks that address Social Security.

You are faced with the difficult mission of finding ways to reduce the deficit.  On behalf of the 3 million members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare – and millions of other Americans who support Social Security – I am here to urge you:  while you are considering your macro-economics and deficit numbers – please do not lose sight of the millions of individual people whose quality of life depends on every decision you make affecting Social Security.

Many of my points are sometimes forgotten in the face of today’s fiscal crisis.

– More than 9 out of 10 American workers participate in Social Security – thus changes you make in the program will affect virtually every person in this country.

Today, 52 million Americans receive benefits from Social Security.

But despite its importance to the American people, Social Security is not a generous program and the vast majority of seniors are not wealthy.  They are average Americans who worked hard all their lives.

Their median income in retirement is just $18,000

The average Social Security retirement benefit is only $13,800 a year – $11,000 for women.

– And about 40% of the average senior’s Social Security check goes to health care out-of-pocket costs, even with Medicare

I was in Congress in 1983 during the last major Social Security reform.  We made a number of changes designed to fund the benefits of the baby boomers when they began retiring in the early 2000s.

That reform was immensely successful – it extended the programs’ solvency for over half a century.  And the surplus we built was invested in the safest asset possible – Special Issue Treasury Bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.  I know it is customary for some today to disparage the Trust Funds as if they don’t exist.  But those bonds are no different than any other debt instrument issued by the United States government, and I find it incomprehensible that Congress might someday agree to pay back our foreign neighbors before honoring the debt it owes to the American people.

I understand the drive to reduce the deficit – frankly, I’m as appalled by $1.4 Trillion in red ink this year as you are.  But Social Security did not contribute one thin dime to the deficit – it should not be used as a piggy bank to fix the mistakes of the past.

The American people do not support cutting Social Security in order to reduce the deficit.  American workers rightfully see Social Security as their money – not the government’s. It represents their hard-earned dollars that came out of each and every paycheck throughout their working lives.  They are even willing to pay more to strengthen the program for their children and grandchildren.

They flat-out reject the notion that you can strengthen Social Security by cutting it.

Americans want fiscal sanity returned to Washington, but they don’t believe it should be accomplished by cutting Social Security.

Social Security benefit cuts are the last place you should be looking for deficit reduction, not the first place.


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10 Responses to "Should Social Security and Medicare Be Cut?"

  1. linda leist says:

    There will be a revolution in this country if Social Security is cut with Medicare.
    Most people can not make it on what they have now.  You will have more people on food stamps and APPI

  2. Brian Bjorndahl says:

    We don’t need to cut Social Security.  We just need to raise the retirement age to 70.  Medicare also should not go into effect until age 70.  Finally we need rationed care.  Most medical dollars are spent on the last 6 months of life.  I’m sorry but this needs to be rationed.

  3. Bill Hilser says:

    I can’t believe that the great unwashed masses out there are are actually snivelling about losing a measly $5oo Billion dollars in medicare when Obamacare kicks in, and that there have been no Social Security cost of living raises, and there won’t be in the foreseeable future. FedGovCo is tightening it’s belt too.
    Hey, Speaker Pelosi has put her new personal 747 Jumbo jet on hold, and is making do with an old 757 for her travels.
    How’s that for slogging in the trenches just like the troops at the front. Plus, I hear that she’s having the plane’s galley stocked with booze from Sam’s Club now. No more Grey Goose Vodka and $275 a bottle French Champagne. Now it’s Colt 45 and short dogs of Ripple. Three cheers for Nancy!
    What a gal, there may be hope for the old bat yet!
    It kind of reminds me of the CEO of Gannett, who turned down a raise this year beuause of the closings, layoffs, and furloughs in Gannettland, only to accept a $1 Million Dollar bonus ($1,000,000.00) from the grateful survivors. 
    Kinda brings a tear to your eye, don’t it?
    Yer pal, Ferrari Bubba

  4. leftfield says:

    With Medicare, Social Security, and the Defense budgets totaling 75% of government spending…

    It is interesting and revealing of the American mindset and priorities that there is never any consideration or discussion of the fact that the military sucks up a large percentage of the budget, but discussions about cutting the defense budget are even more untouchable than discussing cuts to SS. 

  5. Barker says:

    Yes, I have to agree, there are huge opportunities to cut our defense budget, particularly fighting in foreign wars. Much better than cutting domestic social security and medicare, which is desperately needed by most Americans.

  6. Bill Hilser says:

    Hey Brian: I’ve even got a better Idea. Why not just hold a FedGovCo “Lotto Fer Life’? The ultimate do or die roll of the dice, so to speak.
    Heck, I’m 73 years-old now, and been around the block a few more times than once< I’ll go for it.
    You’re given a number, and when you go into the Dr’s office, you pick a slip with a number in it from several in a hopper. if your number matches, you get the exam and meds, if it doesn’t, your appointment is with one of POTUS Obamas End of Life Counselors.
    End of Medicare budget crunch.
    Neat, huh? Yer pal, and copmpasionate conservative, Ferrari Bubba

  7. granny2000 says:

    Social Security should not be counted in the Budget.  The $2.5 Trillion and counting now in the fund belongs to the workers who have built the fund over their entire working lives.

    So – the budget is immediately reduced by 37 1/2%.  But, I suppose that amount should be added to the National Debt.

  8. NMWms says:

    Try getting us out of the freaking war!  Think about how much money has gone down that drain.

  9. L Rosas says:

    I see a revolution coming.  Let’s see…we have all the big wigs that can give themselves raises, they can take kickbacks, add their own agendas to bills, deceive, lie, cheat, and just out and out screw the American people.  Obama us “old” people worked our whole lives to get that pitiful amount and I can tell you I do not make what the “average is”….I’d like to see you live on any of our SSI amounts.  You like the immigrants and call us in AZ lawbreakers when you are the biggest law breaker there is.  You took an oath to protect this country yet you do nothing about immigration to truly stop this stuff.  You say you will sue AZ when it is you that is not doing your job.  You care more the immigrants and muslims than you Americans.  People trusted you to do your job…they believed you would.  They so wanted a “good” change and a black president and you have let all of them down.  You don’t do your job.  You do not deserve that office.  Everyday you do another thing to hurt this country.  You go an appologize for this country…you have nerve.  Stand up for your country (or are you really a muslim and illegal that should never have become president).  We pray for you and pray for you and you let us down.  I don’t want to hear the excuse that you are just a man…you could be a good man!!!!!   An honest man!!!!!!   But no, you choose to get us further and further in trouble and for what?  You allow God to be taken out of things, you don’t fight for our rights.  You have an agenda.  What you are doing is not right.  The Bible says,  The wicked shall be turned into hell, and ALL the nations that forget God. UMMMMMMMM Psalm 9:17
       You forget God!   You stand for wrong!   You don’t protect the good people of the US but you protect the immigrants and the criminals, and the muslims.  Actually Mr President you totally disgust me.

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