By Jim Centner, SOAR Director
Congress is at it again. They recently proposed the creation of an Entitlement Commission to fast track cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The commission idea certainly isn’t new; however, fiscal hawks are now using the economic mess created by years of failed borrow and spend policies as an excuse to balance the budget on the backs of Social Security and Medicare. SOAR members know that these vital programs have provided the only stable and reliable retirement for millions of Americans during this current economic recession. These programs didn’t cause our nation’s economic woes; they have reduced the suffering for millions of seniors and their families.
The problem with a “commission” is that the proposals will be considered by a small working group of current Congressional Members and members of the Administration. This group would draft legislation affecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and their recommendations would be pushed through Congress in an extremely short timeline with no opportunity for amendments. This process would disenfranchise voters and hurt the political process. Congressional Committees of jurisdiction, which have cultivated detailed knowledge of the programs and thoroughly understand the needs of beneficiaries over decades, would be relegated to being bystanders in the process. Instead, the future of Social Security and Medicare would be placed in the hands of 15 people who may or may not have significant knowledge or experience dealing with these complex issues.
This entitlement commission proposal is fatally flawed. Restrictive timelines, no amendments and limited debate is not the way to address programs touching virtually every family in America. Our nation is paying the price for many years of failed economic policies and Americans want Washington to have the fiscal discipline and courage needed to clean it up. However, Congress should not contract out it’s responsibilities to an appointed body to make what are likely to be difficult and unpopular choices. This is a tough job, but this is what we elected them, all of them, to do, isn’t it?
Call your Senators at 1-800-998-0180 and urge them to oppose the Conrad-Gregg amendment. Let them know that you are watching to make sure that they do not vote for secret cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
Source: SOAR Chapter Connection newsletter