Republicans are determined to gut Social Security, while Democrats have yet to flatly reject budget cuts or endorse its expansion as part of the party platform. This means that there are two possible futures for Social Security.
The question is, why? Social Security may be the single most efficient benefit program -- public or private -- in the country. Its annual operating expenses are less than 1 percent of overall costs, a figure which private sector programs should envy.
If the chained CPI was merely a one-time fakeout which had already been discarded, why were the president's aides so evasive on the topic in recent weeks? This has all the hallmarks of a last-minute decision, driven by escalating political heat from the left.
As it became clear during the first week of the shutdown that the president was not going to sacrifice access to quality health insurance for millions of Americans, Republicans realized they had to redraft their ransom note.
Moving forward, Social Security must evolve to address the needs of lower-earning workers. However, future retirees can also take steps to ensure they have the resources to maintain their standard of living through old age.
PolitiFact's judgment of Rep. Cicilline's statement as "Mostly False" demonstrates a lack of understanding of Social Security that would preclude most journalists from presuming to judge the truth of others' statements on the issue.
Wall Street excesses brought the economy to the brink of collapse. But now the Wall Street behemoths are bigger than ever and President Obama is looking to cut the Social Security benefits of retirees. That will teach the Wall Street boys to be more responsible in the future.
For 58 million Americans, the Social Security system works satisfactorily. Therefore, many were surprised when President Obama suggested a fix, using the chained CPI for the cost-of-living adjustment. What's wrong with the Social Security system?
Killing the chained CPI will have two wonderful effects: 1) protecting Social Security and veterans' benefits and 2) forcing the bloated Pentagon budget to be cut. It's that simple as a logical matter, but it's not that simple as a political matter.
I have heard Obama defenders say for years that he's a really smart guy, so they trust him to do what's right -- that he's playing 12-dimensional chess and as the meme has it -- "he's got this." But can't one be a generally smart guy and still ultimately think some really dumb things?