Commentary | Budget Taxes and Public Investment

Debt, deficit deal shouldn’t include Social Security

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As talks continue between Democratic and Republican leadership on the federal deficit and debt ceiling, President Obama is facing criticism—much of it from his supporters—for putting Social Security on the bargaining table. Republicans want cuts to mandatory programs, such as Social Security, included in any budget deal that comes out of the negotiations. Facing an Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline, the president indicated willingness to tinker with Social Security.

Recent work by EPI on proposed changes to Social Security demonstrates why the president should reconsider making any concessions that involve one of America’s most valuable safety nets. Changes such as reducing the cost-of-living adjustments for beneficiaries, raising the retirement age, and capping federal spending would weaken Social Security’s ability to provide adequate benefits for retirees, the disabled, and the others who depend on it.

For comprehensive analyses of these issues, read these EPI reports:

A protection, not a windfall: Proposed change to Social Security COLA would further erode retirees’ financial security

Unbalanced budgeting: Federal spending cap may endanger Social Security

Beyond ‘normal’: Raising the retirement age is the wrong approach for Social Security