Seniors may be hearing some big proposals to cut Social Security and Medicare soon.
Seniors may be hearing some big proposals to cut Social Security and Medicare soon. Congress recently was told that Social Security and Medicare spending is a threat to the U.S. economy. Two of the government's most prominent economists, new Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, are warning that Social Security and Medicare, if left unchecked, will consume more of the federal budget, harm the economy and eventually collapse.
At least two bills have been introduced that would establish a bipartisan commission with the job of ensuring that Social Security and Medicare don't go bankrupt, and are more sustainable in the future. The commission proposed under both bills differs markedly from past entitlement commissions by the "teeth" its recommendations would have.
Earlier commissions made plenty of recommendations, but often could not agree on any one course of action. Under both new bills, the commission is directed to produce a set of recommendations agreed upon by a specified majority vote, within a specified period of time. In addition, both bills require Congress to act on the recommendations within a specified time frame.
TSCL believes that Congress must take action in a timely way to ensure the solvency of both Social Security and Medicare. If Congress drags itsfeet until there is a financing crisis, then deeper cuts and more drastic changes would be required. This could mean reductions in benefits, COLA cuts, higher taxes, and other higher costs that beneficiaries must pay. In addition, acting in a timely fashion allows smaller changes to be phased in over the longest possible period of time, avoiding "notches" in benefits for future retirees.
TSCL is fighting against proposals, however, that would cut your COLA or would pay Social Security benefits to millions of immigrants based on earnings while working illegally. In addition, TSCL opposes recent proposals by President Bush to expand Means Testing of Medicare.
We encourage you to contact your Members of Congress and attend local town hall meetings to let your elected lawmakers know how much you rely on your Social Security benefits and how high Medicare costs are affecting you.