A Democratic-led policy group is proposing changes in Social Security that party members have resisted for years in an effort to pave the way for recommendations this week by President Barack Obama’s deficit-cutting commission.
Washington-based Third Way said its plan would raise the retirement age, trim or eliminate Social Security benefits for high-income retirees, limit cost-of-living increases and provide money to help young workers create private retirement accounts.
…Some retirees would have to pay taxes on their full Social Security payments. Currently, individual retirees with $34,000 in outside income and couples with $44,000 must pay taxes on 85 percent of their benefits. The Third Way plan would require individuals earning $50,000 a year and couples receiving $60,000 to pay taxes on 100 percent of the benefit.
Social Security benefits would be reduced on a scale starting at individuals with $150,000 in outside income and couples with $250,000, and eliminated altogether for individuals earning $200,000 and couples with $400,000 in income.
…Third Way describes itself on its Website as “the leading moderate think tank of the progressive movement.”
Nancy Pelosi will be prepared to beat back a run on Social Security or Medicare if the deficit commission recommends cuts to the popular entitlement program following the November election. The House Speaker deliberately avoided appointing House chairmen with jurisdiction over Social Security and Medicare to President Obama’s commission, House staffers involved with the commission tell HuffPost, so that she could retain the option to sidetrack the panel’s recommendations.
Pelosi appointed Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.), Rep. Jan Schakowski (D-Ill.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.). Becerra is a member of Pelosi’s leadership and a close ally. Schakowsky is also a progressive ally of Pelosi’s.
If the commission recommends cuts to Social Security or Medicare, the Speaker would have the option of referring the recommendations to the Ways and Means Committee. None of the chairs of the committees or subcommittees with jurisdiction over Social Security or Medicare are on the deficit panel.
In Wisconsin and Kentucky House races, the Democrats are attempting to mislead voters into believing the Republican candidates support the privatization of Social Security — despite evidence to the contrary.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is up with an ad attacking Republican Sean Duffy in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, but the spot mischaracterizes Duffy’s position on Social Security. While Duffy has made some ambiguous statements in the past, he has never said he supports a privatized Social Security system, and in fact has recently said just the opposite.
In Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District, the attack line is similar — and equally wrong. Rep. Ben Chandler’s latest ad says Republican Andy Barr “wants to privatize Social Security and gamble it in the stock market.” But Barr has never said he supports privatization. Barr clearly says on his website: “I will oppose plans to privatize Social Security.”
On top of that, the DCCC’s ad tries to frighten seniors by saying that under a privatized system, they could have lost “nearly 40 percent of their retirement benefits” when the stock market collapsed in 2008. That’s ridiculous, and could only have happened in a system where 100 percent of beneficiaries’ money was given over to Wall Street. Recent proposals to let individuals have optional private Social Security accounts would let them invest only a portion of their payroll taxes, meaning the rest would have been perfectly safe, and one plan currently being discussed guarantees against any losses by investors.