A small controversy has been brewing in the blogosphere over the relative value of the higher-income 2001/2003 tax cuts and the Social Security shortfall. A couple of weeks ago, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities displayed this graph, showing the present value of the two being roughly equal:
The knives are out, and they’re pointing at Social Security reform.
There is no one “right” way to fix the fiscal problems facing the country, but if there is one thing experts from all ideological perspectives tend to agree on, it is that with Americans living longer, we should raise the retirement age. Just ask House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer or House Minority Leader John Boehner. Or ask any member of the American Academy of Actuaries, for that matter.
An interesting exchange was recently published on progressive ways to think about deficit reduction, especially when it comes to the “big three entitlement programs”. Isabel Sawhill and Greg Anrig debated on how to go about medium- and long-term debt reduction in a manner that would be amenable to many progressives.
Many are sounding alarms over news that the White House fiscal commission is considering changes to Social Security as a part of a possible debt reduction proposal. Progressive members of Congress are demanding that Social Security be taken off the table. At the same time the commission is being similarly pressured from the right to take tax increases off the table.
Lowering the Heat Around Raising Retirement Age
An op-ed in the New York Times yesterday featured Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and his unorthodox approach to fiscal sustainability. Unlike many of his peers on the Hill, Rep. Blumenauer does not believe in extensive federal program cuts to balance the budget—but he has advocated extensively for the need to balance the budget, somehow, and soon. Pushing aside the traditional conservative vs.
Back to School – For many kids, parents and teachers today is the first day of school. Congress is still out until after Labor Day, but policymakers have plenty of homework.
Many Americans lament the state of U.S. education; they fear that low standards and expectations are impairing the ability of our children to prepare for the challenges ahead. Now some want to bring that same curriculum for failure to Social Security.
Washington Empties Out – With both houses of Congress in recess and the president traveling, Washington feels deserted. The biggest news in DC is whether the Nats will sign Bryce Harper. Congress will return after Labor Day.
They’re Here (for a day) – The House did return briefly on Tuesday to approve $26.1 billion in state aid. The president signed the bill, which is fully offset, shortly afterwards.