The short answer: nothing.
IWF’s Carrie Lukas is happy to provide the long answer on National Review Online today:
“Democratic leadership isn’t willing to take Social Security reform seriously. Democratic leaders have been clear only about what they oppose: they oppose any measures that would give individuals ownership of the money that’s supposed to be saved for their retirement through Social Security. In other words, they vehemently oppose options offered by such right-wing stalwarts as Senator Bob Kerrey (D., Kan.) and the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D., N.Y.), both of whom proposed incorporating personal investment into Social Security. Even President Clinton wanted to create personal accounts for all Americans, although he proposed using additional tax revenue to do so. Would President Clinton’s plan also have to be off the table before Democrats would be willing to engage in debate?
“Democrats have failed to offer a proposal of their own that would fix what countless commissions and nonpartisan experts agree are Social Security’s significant problems. During this congress, one Democratic congressman, Rep. Wexler of Florida, did offer a serious plan to address Social Security’s financial shortfall. He proposed enormous tax increases on working Americans. Serious Social Security reformers – even though they vehemently disagreed with his specific tack – applauded Rep. Wexler for offering a plan. They recognize the importance of getting more voices engaged in the discussion about Social Security’s future.”
The Democrats reaction to Wexler is very telling:
“Democratic leaders had a different reaction: they were furious that Wexler offered a plan. They didn’t disagree with his approach necessarily, but knew that the American public would recoil from the prospects of draconian tax increases.
“It’s much easier for Democrats simply to criticize all reform proposals. After all, Social Security faces a $13 trillion shortfall – the system owes trillions more in benefits than it has in prospective revenues. There’s no magical way to fix a problem of such magnitude without requiring sacrifices from someone. Any reform proposal will be an easy target for critics, and Democrats have certainly taken the easy route. All they do is criticize reformers and talk about protecting the existing Social Security system, ignoring the reality that it’s headed off the proverbial cliff.”
For information on why Social Security reform benefits women, check out this report.
For information on why Social Security reform benefits college students, check out Social Insecurity.