July 12 2011
Carrie L. Lukas
A bright spot in the debt ceiling debate has been the growing, bipartisan admission that Social Security is a driver of our long-term debt problem and needs reform (unfortunately, there has been less honestly talk about Medicare). A last minute debt limit deal is probably not the best venue for making changes to our nation's largest retirement program-and certainly Congress shouldn't trade reductions in future Social Security costs for immediate tax hikes, as the President seems to want. But it's a welcome moment to have someone from the Democrat's party talk about making changes to Social Security, without claiming that doing so is the equivalent of throwing grandma on to the street.
Unfortunately, the old guard feminists remain stuck on the old schtick of claiming that any suggestion to change Social Security benefits in any way is an assault on the elderly and women. It doesn't matter if everyone over age 50 would be exempt from any changes, or if those changes would only affect those that these liberal groups would characterize as "the rich" if we were talking about taxes. They oppose any changes to Social Security, period. In fact, it's an under-noted peculiarity of the Left that while they would happily double tax rates on the evil "rich," they are aghast at any suggestion that those same rich people's entitlement benefits be reduced.
The sad thing is that if we put off reforming Social Security (and Medicare) another decade, it will become a crisis and it will be much more difficult to make the necessary changes, and it will be much worse for those who depend on this programs. It's good news that the President has taken a step toward admitting that there is a real problem that needs to be solved. Let's hope the rest of his party follows his lead.