Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Senior Obama Aide Says Social Security Isn't Part of Deficit Debate

As the discussion about our economy and Obama’s budget continues on the Hill, one of the big topics that progressives have been talking about is social security. Despite the GOP’s effort to claim social security is largely responsible for our economic woes, progressives like Rep. Xavier Becerra are standing up to say they’re wrong and argue that we need to “divorce this conversation about budget reduction from social security.” During a speech sponsored by NDN about the budget, one of Obama’s highest economic advisers added his voice to the conversation when he was asked about the debate.

The deputy director of Obama’s National Economic Council, Jason Furman, said that Social Security isn’t something "you care about" if "you are worried about our long-run fiscal future." Instead, he pointed out that “the reason you care about it is because you want to strengthen Social Security.” Just in case people needed a reminder of why it’s important to strengthen the program, he then added that “it is such a critical part of our social insurance, the bedrock of retirement security for senior citizens, one of the leading anti-poverty programs for children, [and provides] critical support for people with disabilities.”

While GOP says some of the benefits of Social Security highlighted by people like Becerra and Furman can be helpful, they claim they need to be cut because the program supposedly is causing a financial burden on our country. That claim is simply untrue because, as Rep. Becerra pointed out last week, Social Security doesn’t have anything to do with the deficit that we’re facing today. In fact, it’s actually been running a surplus. These claims shouldn’t be too surprising, however, when you consider that Republicans probably want to distract the American people from the fact that their budget proposal would have a devastating impact on the economy.

During his speech at NDN, Furman compared the impact of the GOP’s budget to the impact of Obama’s budget and the differences were extremely apparent. He highlighted how Obama’s budget would reduce the deficit by $1 trillion over the next 10 years while also providing some investment in key areas like education and infrastructure. When it came to the Republicans’ budget, on the other hand, Furman pointed out that all of the cuts would just go towards covering the cost of tax cuts to the extremely wealthy and repealing health care reform (which the CBO estimates would cost $230 billion).

This is important to note because it basically means the GOP wants to cut programs to those who desperately need them while give the extremely wealthy a break. Since that wouldn’t be a good message to campaign on, however, many Republicans are trying to spread falsehoods about Social Security to distract the public. And that is just part of the reason we have to listen to people like Becerra and Furman when they suggest the debate surrounding Social Security and the deficit we’re currently facing don’t belong in the same conversation.

No comments:

Post a Comment