The following comment was in response to my recent post on Social Security. Political cowardice and failing to tell Americans the truth is the greatest threat to Social Security.
“Everyone, Congress and the President, have known about Social Security and Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance Trust Fund Solvency issues for many decades, not “over a decade”. They knew the 1983 Amendments, to barely stave off exhaustion of trust fund dollars, were insufficient to create long term solvency.”
“That was apparent less than a decade later when President Clinton convened a blue ribbon panel. Then, it was George W. Bush. President Obama noticed, talked about it, but did nothing.”
- November 5th, 1993: President Bill Clinton, by Executive Order #12878, created the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement Reform (the Danforth Commission) to evaluate entitlement programs – specifically Social Security and Medicare. The Commission never reached consensus and couldn’t get all members to agree on even an Interim Report. Subsets of the commission members made their own proposals. None gained any traction, nor action. See: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=61571
- February 5, 2005: President George W. Bush made a reform recommendation to add personal accounts and change the COLA. These proposals triggered great criticism, and no action was taken. See: https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/infocus/social-security/ See also: https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2005/04/200504…
- April 27, 2010: The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (often called Simpson-Bowles) met to recommend fiscal reform, including recommendations to reform Social Security. Despite widespread popular support, the report failed to get enough support to send it to Congress for approval.
June 1, 2016: President Barack Obama, nearing the end of this second term, reminded us that Social Security’s finances needed strengthening. “We should be strengthening Social Security… it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned.” No proposal was ever made. See: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/06/01/remarks…
- 2017 GAO report echoes President Obama: “… (we) better ensure a secure and adequate retirement, with dignity, for all.” But, it offers no plan of action other than another committee. GAO-18-111SP, “The Nation’s Retirement System: A Comprehensive Re-evaluation Is Needed to Better Promote Future Retirement Security” (https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/687797.pdf).
“They won’t correct funding shortfalls unless somehow we can show them how to buy votes with the changes.”