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May 10, 2011

Baucus: Keep Social Security out of any deficit-reduction deal

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus Tuesday said he doesn't want changes to Social Security as part of any current deficit reduction effort.

Negotiators from both parties plan to meet later Tuesday with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss ways to raise the debt limit while cutting spending. Most congressional leaders have said they want virtually everything up for discussion.

Baucus, D-Mont., thought otherwise.

"Social Security benefits are financed only through payroll taxes and the Trust Fund.  Social Security is not responsible for the deficits we face in the general fund today.  Therefore, I believe Social Security should not be part of our efforts to reduce those deficits," he said.

His explanation:

"What we can’t forget in this debate is that Social Security benefits are modest. Ninety-five percent of retired workers receive monthly benefits of less than $2,000.  In fact, the average Social Security benefit for retirees is $1,175 a month, or about $14,100 a year.  That’s only $267 a month above the poverty line. 

 "Not only are benefits modest, but they are already scheduled to be reduced," he said. "The full retirement age, which is currently 66, will rise to 67 in the coming years.  These increases in retirement age have real consequences.  A one-year increase in the retirement age is roughly equal to a seven-percent reduction in benefits.

"By law, Social Security must remain separated from the rest of the Federal budget and the program cannot borrow money from the general Federal budget."


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Social Security has been funded by payroll taxes on "working" Americans and their employer. The government used the SS surplus to pay for wars and subsidies for big oil and tax cuts for the rich.

The investors and financiers pay little if only figurative pocket change, but yet they benefited enormously because social security surplus was used to fund their deficit building tax cuts.

Ken Hasting

Social security is easily balanced with relatively minor tweaks. Baucus is right to leave it out of the federal budget reduction efforts. But, as with Medicare, I would advocate means testing for Social Security. Wasn't it originally an insurance against impoverished widows, not a retirement plan for the masses?


Umm! Dont forget that the Social Security system was pillaged by two seperate administrations. They took all teh excess funds for other things. It was raped by government, now they wish to take it away after its been pillaged. Good job Jack Azzes.


Really? I mean are you serious? We are in this deficit because the social security we pay is funding payments for all those retired baby boomers. There isn't enough deductions from payroll because the working class is like 1/2 the size of retirees, but since social security payments are guaranteed payments that have to be made to recipients as long they live (and they are now living a lot longer these days), we will continue to have a deficit. Oh and that crock about a law that restricts borrowing from the SS budget is total bullshit. It has been the SS fund borrowing from the federal budget all these years!

Wendy Weinbaum

As a Jewess in the US, I can only say that the lying thieves in Congress who have STOLEN from the Social Security Trust Fund are just one more reason why all REAL Americans now put our 2nd Amendment FIRST!! Criminals in Congress respect POWER, not talk or contracts. And remember that America wasn't won with a registered gun!


Congress put us in this hole with "IOU's", now we need to give them "IOU's" instead of a salary, health care and penson until the plan is solvent. Also, tax all political conti w/o any deducts.


"By law, Social Security must remain separated from the rest of the Federal budget and the program cannot borrow money from the general Federal budget."

Why is it not a law that the General Federal Budget cannot borrow money from Social Security?


While slightly true long term it is an illusion. When (not if) the SSTF becomes negative cash flowing the money will come from general tax revenues to pay off the bonds held by the Trust Fund.

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