WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) penned an op-ed in the Washington Examiner highlighting the need for Congress to save Social Security from insolvency. Recent polling from AARP shows that 89% of Americans agree that Washington should act now to save the program.
“In plain terms, this is a crisis of catastrophic proportions that threatens to cast millions into destitution, eroding the safety net that generations,” wrote Dr. Cassidy.
“The majority of people recognize this urgency,” continued Dr. Cassidy. “When 9 in 10 people deem a problem pressing, leaders have a moral duty to treat it as such.”
“If there’s one lesson to be gleaned from this weekend’s government funding standoff, it’s that procrastination is not a good strategy for resolving fiscal challenges. We should be proactive. That’s what people rightfully expect from Congress and their next president,” concluded Dr. Cassidy.
Read the full article here or below.
Most People Think Saving Social Security is Urgent — We Need Leaders Who Agree
By U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA)
As I watched the recent presidential debate, there were two words conspicuously absent: Social Security. It appears that in the 2024 presidential race, the leading Democratic and Republican candidates have steered clear of addressing the impending challenges of Social Security. This silence leaves many voters with the impression that if candidates aren’t prioritizing its welfare, then perhaps they need not be concerned, either.
Nonetheless, the reality is that Social Security is hurtling toward a financial precipice, with only about nine years left before reaching the edge. By 2032, the Social Security trust fund will not have the necessary funds to fulfill its commitments, leading to a harsh 24% benefit cut for all recipients.
The specter of rising poverty among the elderly looms large, exacerbated by the daily influx of 10,000 baby boomers onto the Social Security rolls. What’s more, according to 2020 census data, over two-fifths of these baby boomers have no retirement savings, and less than half of working-age citizens possess any retirement savings whatsoever.
In plain terms, this is a crisis of catastrophic proportions that threatens to cast millions into destitution, eroding the safety net that generations of people invested in throughout their working lives with the expectation of reaping its benefits in retirement.
The facts are clear, as is the timeline. Addressing this problem should be a no-brainer. The majority of people recognize this urgency, with a resounding 89% demanding Congress take immediate action to rescue Social Security from insolvency.
When 9 in 10 people deem a problem pressing, leaders have a moral duty to treat it as such. The public deserves better than presidential front-runners who feign ignorance of Social Security’s long-term challenges, offering stale platitudes to sidestep the matter.
This crisis requires more than sugar-coated rhetoric. The Left may advocate tax hikes and benefit redistribution, but this approach morphs Social Security into government welfare, leading to a payroll tax burden nearly five times greater than now. The Simpson-Bowles Commission proposed a blend of revenue enhancements and benefit adjustments in 2010, yet these were politically unpalatable in the 13 years since. The situation has worsened, and the obvious solutions are more draconian.
We need a comprehensive plan capable of averting the impending 2032 catastrophe, restoring financial health to the program, and instilling fairness. I had the privilege of leading a bipartisan working group that crafted a proposal to accomplish this without shifting the burden onto beneficiaries.
Our “Big Idea” entails establishing a fund independent of the Social Security trust fund called the Save and Secure It Fund. This new, independent fund will be invested in the economy just like a normal pension fund. Any dividends and other returns are reinvested in the fund for 70 years. The Save and Secure It Fund shields beneficiaries and taxpayers from stock market fluctuations. Simultaneously, we repeal the 24% benefit cut currently in law, ensuring all beneficiaries receive promised benefits. We do all this without raising taxes or cutting benefits for seniors.
The Save and Secure It Fund is predicted to generate sufficient returns to offset 70% of Social Security’s shortfall. There are options to address the remaining 30% of the shortfall. This is where a president must provide leadership.
With the investment fund in place, we can enact additional measures to ensure fairness and increase work incentives. Among these things are repealing the Windfall Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset, which unfairly penalize people such as teachers and police officers in my home state of Louisiana, as well as millions more across the nation. Another is eliminating the retirement earnings test, thus allowing people to continue contributing to both the system and the economy beyond the age of 65.
Some may question why the “Big Idea” isn’t extended to every ailing government program. The answer is the possible repercussions on financial markets. While experts have reassured us that the impact of this program on the markets would be negligible, replicating this proposal across multiple government programs could change the equation significantly.
The reality is that when you have a silver bullet, you typically only have one shot.
If there’s one lesson to be gleaned from this weekend’s government funding standoff, it’s that procrastination is not a good strategy for resolving fiscal challenges. We should be proactive. That’s what people rightfully expect from Congress and their next president. Any candidate who doesn’t want to lead on a topic as important as rescuing Social Security isn’t qualified to be our nation’s leader.