Deliberate Distortions Create False Sense of Urgency for Social Security Cuts

November 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol 

There is so much inaccurate information—much of it deliberately cultivated—about the solvency of Social Security, that it’ss leading policymakers, analysts and lawmakers to believe there is an urgent need to make major changes to Social Security.

Add to that a cadre of newly elected representatives and senators who back raising the retirement age, privatizing Social Security or making other cuts to the nation’s most successful social safety net program, and it becomes even more important to make sure the real picture of Social Security’s future is not distorted.

A new issue brief from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) calls attention to the fact that Social Security will be fully solvent for the next 27 years and any premature action to make changes to the program will have a severe impact on millions of near retirees. Says CEPR Co-Director Dean Baker:

Misinformation about Social Security has led many to believe that Social Security is in immediate danger of insolvency but the program will be fully solvent for almost three more decades. Furthermore, even if no changes are ever made, a child born in 2010 can expect to see a benefit that is more than 50 percent larger in real terms than what current retirees receive today.

The issue brief, “Action on Social Security: The Urgent Need for Delay,” argues that proponents of strengthening Social Security should fight to delay any action on changes because:

  • There is good reason for believing the public will be better informed about the financial state of Social Security in the future, in part because of the weakening of some of the main sources of misinformation.
  • Many more people will be directly dependent on Social Security in the near future. These people and their families will likely be strong defenders of the program.
  • The group of near-retirees, who may be the victims of early action, will desperately need their Social Security since they have seen much of their wealth eliminated with the collapse of the housing bubble.
  • The concern over “maintaining the confidence of financial markets” is an empty claim that can be used to justify almost any policy.

Click here for the full report. For more information, be sure to visit Our Fiscal Security here, Retirement USA here, Strengthen Social Security…Don’t Cut It here and the Alliance for Retired Americans here.

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