Judd Gregg: Ensuring Social Security’s Future

Judd Gregg, a former Republican senator from New Hampshire, served as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee from 2005 to 2007 and ranking member from 2007 to 2011. He recently wrote a letter to the editor published in the New York Times as a response to a column by Paul Krugman. Gregg's letter is reposted here.

Paul Krugman claims that “Social Security does not face a financial crisis; its long-term funding shortfall could easily be closed with modest increases in revenue.”

The reality is that Social Security faces very serious financial challenges, and its own trustees estimate that its deficits will lead to trust fund insolvency by 2034 — resulting in a 21 percent across-the-board cut to all retirees. This will indeed be a crisis to the tens of millions of Americans who rely on the program if we don’t act quickly.

Furthermore, while revenue must be part of the discussion, closing Social Security’s long-term funding shortfall exclusively through tax revenues would require raising the payroll tax by 20 to 35 percent — hardly “modest.”

If we aren’t even willing to acknowledge the magnitude of the challenges facing Social Security, how are we ever going to fix it?

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the Committee.