WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) joined the Bipartisan Policy Center for a fireside chat entitled, “Can We Fix Social Security?” Cassidy discussed the need to find a bipartisan solution to save Americans from a 24% cut in Social Security benefits in nine years. He outlined the “big idea” from the bipartisan Senate Social Security working group of creating an investment fund separate and apart from the Social Security Trust Fund to build a bridge to solvency and secure it for decades to come.
“Of course we can fix Social Security, but we have to redefine what the third rail is,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The third rail according to our leading presidential candidates is pretending there’s nothing wrong with Social Security. If the 24% cut in Social Security benefits under current law goes into effect, it will double the rate of poverty among the elderly. That should be the third rail; the conversation has to change.”
“We need honesty from presidential candidates. Social Security is going insolvent, even if Biden and Trump say it’s not. It’s not only cowardice, it’s wrong for the American people,” continued Dr. Cassidy.
“I’ve been working with a bipartisan group of senators to come up with what we call the ‘big idea.’ The ‘big idea’ creates an investment fund separate from Social Security—not using any Social Security funds at all—and allows the fund to accrue returns over 70 years. By doing so we end up with a corpus to address 75 percent of the shortfall,” said Dr. Cassidy.
“Now we need leading presidential candidates to step up to the plate, to be honest with the American people, and to help us find the additional 25 percent,” concluded Dr. Cassidy.
During the chat, he also discussed ways to make the program fairer including the elimination of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and Government Pension Offset (GPO), which unfairly penalizes public employees including teachers, police officers, and state and local government workers.
Click here to watch the fireside chat.
Cassidy is leading a working group with Senator Angus King (I-ME) and a bipartisan group of colleagues to preserve and protect Social Security. He questioned Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on the Biden administration’s lack of a plan to address Social Security at a Senate Finance hearing and delivered a speech on the Senate floor calling on President Biden to honor his pledge to protect Social Security and meet with a bipartisan group of senators currently discussing options to save the program.
In March, the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds moved up the Social Security insolvency deadline a full year.
In February, the Congressional Budget Office updated its estimates saying Social Security is heading toward a financial cliff in 2032. They found Medicare and Social Security spending rapidly outpacing federal tax revenues further hastening the insolvency deadlines.
Last summer, Cassidy reacted to the latest Social Security and Medicare Trustees annual report saying these programs are heading toward a financial cliff. The report stated Social Security needs to either cut benefits by 24% or increase revenue by 33% to gain long-term stability.