Other polls this year by the Washington Post, Gallup, etc. show a two-thirds majority opposes raising the retirement age, reducing benefits, means testing benefits, and favors taxing all income, including dividends and capital gains.
The president, again negotiating with himself, has proposed cuts to Social Security for current and future seniors. It is called the “chained CPI,” a harmless-sounding name for a way to hold your taxes level while reducing your retirement or disability benefits.
The chained CPI takes into account that if hamburger prices rise, a retiree can buy cat food instead, thus lowering his or her grocery bill. This is like “catsup is a vegetable” for those old enough to recall that kerfuffle.
The chained CPI reduces the annual cost of living adjustment by about 0.3 percent annually. It doesn’t sound like much, but these decreases compound over time.
Hardship falls most severely on the oldest recipients, who are usually the poorest, on disabled veterans, and on developmentally disabled persons. Because of the compounding effect, the suffering arrives at the end of your life. It’s like gradually turning up the heat on the proverbial frog in a pot of warm water.
Current and near retirees are not exempt from this cut; they will see their benefits and standard of living decline, especially as Medicare premiums take a larger bite of their Social Security. So will military retirees and civil servants.
For current workers, the chained CPI is a stealth income tax increase. As your income grows more rapidly than the chained CP1, you will climb into higher tax brackets; those who are lucky enough to be liable for income tax will be paying more.
Social Security is separated by law from the United States general budget. It receives no funds from the federal government and cannot borrow money; it has never added a penny to any deficit or the unified federal debt.
In fact, Social Security holds a surplus totaling around $2.8 trillion and growing.
Cutting earned Social Security benefits for current, near term, and future seniors does not reduce future deficits or the accumulated debt of the federal government one iota.
It will result in significant pain and suffering for the elderly, who earned Social Security, but will not reduce the debt or leave your grandchildren a better world. If this structural change to America’s most popular and beneficial social insurance program goes through, you and your grandchildren will be more hopelessly stranded in economic insecurity.