Congress and Social Security
A congressional representative earns approximately $84 an hour not counting benefits. Assuming too, that congressional representatives worked 8 hours a day on two recent events, our representative, Devin Nunes earned approximately $1400 to hear the US Constitution read aloud and to cast a meaningless vote on the prior session’s health care bill.
The new leadership expressed concern regarding national debt, but still insisted a huge tax cut be given to the very wealthy. More worrisome, these same forces announced that Social Security reform is needed. This elite but fiscally irresponsible group will espouse arguments without separating fact from fiction. It is important to ask our Representative where he stands when the following arguments are raised.
Baby boomers will push Social Security into insolvency and rob our grandchildren. In reality, SSA has a $1.5 trillion surplus that was built up to fund the retirement of these baby boomers. Only after 2035 will outgo begin to exceed the income. Sadly, the suggestions to raise retirement age and reduce cost of living adjustments will hurt GenXers and the generations that will follow.
Under this party’s direction, the age requirement should be raised because we are all going to work longer anyway. While that might sound reasonable for office workers and professionals, tell that to the cement finisher, or the carpet installer, or so many other jobs that are physically demanding. When the Republican controlled Congress passed the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act, allowing seniors at full retirement age to continue working and collect Social Security without any reduction in their benefits, one could argue that that was the first major crack in breaking down the financial stability of SSA. There will be no rest until the program is dismantled entirely. SSA was meant to replace lost earnings due to the aging process. Ironically, the professional community gained the most from this legislation and probably needed it the least.
Tongue-in-cheek arguments have stated that any reform would not hurt current retirees. But that is untruthful since any revision of the current cost of living adjustment formula would have an immediate impact. Some of this same leadership in Congress have also stated that Social Security is an entitlement that is bringing down the US economy. Coming from professional politicians who have an excellent defined benefit pension, one has to choke a bit on this hypocrisy. Furthermore, Social Security is projected to be stable from 2035 thru 2085, thus only needing “new” sources of revenue and not benefit cuts. The program keeps millions of seniors out of degrading poverty. Removing the taxable cap on “earnings” over $106, 800, (not investments), could almost close the gap entirely with 94% of wage earners unaffected.
As stated earlier, the so called “facts” that will come out need to be viewed in a critical light. What this one political party is proposing is a further deconstruction of a great program that has provided dignity where many would have suffered. Remember, this is coming from the same group of people who advocated that SSA contributions be directed to Wall Street. Ask your congressman where he stands on these issues and better yet, be vocal as to where you stand on the issues. As always, there is a difference between political parties. Know the difference.
former SSA manager