Reminder for would-be grand bargainers: Social Security works
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Oct 25, 2013
More than 22 million people—elderly, children, the disabled—were kept out of poverty in 2012 thanks to Social Security. That's a new estimate from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Without Social Security benefits, 44.4 percent of elderly Americans would have incomes below the official poverty line, all else being equal. With Social Security, only 9.1 percent do.
Given the program’s powerful anti-poverty impact, cuts in Social Security benefits could significantly raise poverty—particularly among the elderly and the disabled—depending on their design.[...]
Social Security accounts for two-thirds of income for its elderly beneficiaries, on average. And more than a third of beneficiaries—generally the oldest and poorest—rely on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their income.
Cutting Social Security would hurt people. Period. There are plenty of reasons for it being stupid policy. But the fact that it's immoral, that it would throw millions of people into crippling poverty, should be enough to make it unthinkable. It's not. There are still Democrats, including budget committee member Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who are fine with trading away Social Security benefits cuts for something as little as tax code reform.
Social Security—and the millions of people it's saving from poverty—should not be on the negotiating table. Instead of talking about cutting Social Security, Democrats should be talking about expanding it to get all older Americans out of poverty.
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