THE BLOG
01/12/2010 09:14 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"Doing Nothing"

So, let me get this straight. The solution to all of our deficit and budgetary woes is to take power away from Congress and turn the decisions over to an undemocratic fast-track commission likely to cut Social Security benefits? Is anyone seriously making this argument with a straight face? Yes, they are.

In fact, that's exactly what Senators Conrad (D-ND) and Gregg (R-NH) have been gaining support to do. While we couldn't exactly see whether or not their faces were straight on the NPR radio interview this morning each of them continued to say that this commission was the way to go, and that anyone opposed to it, is simply in favor of doing nothing.

"Doing nothing" is not quite the position of those opposed to the fast-track style commission with a major target for cuts being Social Security. What I think the opposition would like to see is accountability for the spending that's occurred (i.e., war and economic recovery) without the problem being tied to the nation's most fiscally responsible program - Social Security.

Social Security is solvent. I'll say it again, since no one seems to believe this. Social Security is solvent - unless America decides not to pay its citizens back for all of the money we borrowed from ourselves. We've borrowed that money to pay for all sorts of things, but the best example is to bail out large corporations - the exact same large corporations which, as we speak, are doling out $150 billion in bonuses.

OK, so the American government borrows money from the Social Security trust fund because the program runs a surplus. Then the government gives it to banks or other failing financial institutions, among others, to bail them out. Next, the failing institutions do not fail, and subsequently give out billions to their top employees. And then to remedy mistakes caused by the financial sector, resulting in the downturn of the economy in the first place, Senators are trying to cut your Social Security payment? This is double dipping with no accountability - first into your Social Security trust fund, and then into your individual Social Security payment. It is seriously misconstrued logic.

The average amount American workers receive is a whopping $13,860 annually (less if you're a woman) in Social Security benefits. Clearly, the Senators have made the case that a great solution to our fiscal problems is to reduce that $13,860.

Just think of the tremendous reduction in our deficit if we make older or disabled Americans live off of something even less, say around an average of $11,000 per year instead. I mean, if someone could make it on $13,860, they can probably trim some fat and get by on two grand less per year, especially after losing their private savings this past year. They certainly would not need it for anything important like food, heat or medication.

Yes, yes - Well done, Mr. Gregg! Pat on the back, Mr. Conrad - you've come up with a brilliant solution.

www.socialsecuritymatters.org

Click here to listen to Dean Baker's rebuttal statement on NPR January 13th