Despite the President coming out last week and saying that Social Security needs “modest adjustments,” many Democrats still have their heads in the sand about what could be in store for the most successful social program in American history. But in case you had any question whether Democrats would assent to changes in Social Security, Sahil Kapur heard it from the source once again yesterday:
“Social Security needs to be tweaked, not torn apart from its very foundations,” Democratic National Committee communications director Brad Woodhouse told Raw Story on a conference call late Monday afternoon, in response to a question from this reporter.
Woodhouse tore into Republicans for championing “radical” changes to the program, pointing to the GOP-led Congress’s unsuccessful attempt to private it under the Bush administration. While Republican leaders have been vague on specifics, the party’s ranking member on the House budget committee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), has put forth a plan that would move Social Security into private investment accounts [...]
Republicans, Woodhouse charged, “have two ideas as it relates to Social Security, and never anything else. It’s always, always privatizing it and cutting benefits, or it’s just cutting benefits.” He accused the GOP of “using scare tactics and quite frankly lying about the solvency of Social Security.” Democrat have offered some ideas of their own [...]
“Social Security is one of the more sound programs – if not one of the soundest programs financially – operated by the federal government and will be solvent for a long period of time,” Woodhouse said. “So there’s absolutely no call for doing the radical things to Social Security, especially as it relates to privatization.”
Did you see what Woodhouse did there? He said that Republicans only want to privatize Social Security or cut benefits, and we should never privatize Social Security. Um, what about the benefits? I guess that falls under “tweaks.”
Democrats have been very circumspect about what those “tweaks” would be. If anything on Social Security comes out of the cat food commission, which apparently won’t make any recommendations on the deficit but just try to hack away at a separately funded program, I’m sure that Treasury and the DNC and the President and everyone else who has talked about it would hope for a measured set of options, with increases on revenue and benefit trims to bring the program into long-term balance. But I don’t see why they believe that any Republicans on the panel would assent to that. It’s far more likely than not that the commission will come back with a package of mostly, if not all, cuts. And then we’ll see how Democrats react to such “tweaks.” Tweaks like raising the retirement age to 70, which would amount to a 20% benefit cut.
There’s a certain amount of self-destructiveness at work here from the party that invented Social Security.