Marc Goldwein and Chris Towner: Social Security Can’t Grow Its Way Out of Trouble

Marc Goldwein is senior vice president and senior policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Chris Towner is policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. They recently wrote an opinion piece for DC Journal, an excerpt of which is below.

In just 10 years, Social Security will be insolvent. Some politicians think we can ignore the problem or grow our way out of it — but that’s a recipe for disaster.

Without action, the law calls for an immediate 23 percent across-the-board benefit cut upon insolvency. That’s a $17,400 cut for a typical 67-year-old couple retiring in 2033 and an even more devastating cut for current low-income retirees who count on the program.

Politicians would be clamoring to avoid this cut in a more normal world. Democrats would be focused on how to get more revenue into the system. Republicans would advocate for bringing cost growth under control. The two sides would agree on the need to target any changes on those who can afford them most and would be open to compromise for the greater good. And both would demand we act soon to stave off this potential crisis.

Sadly, the real world is far more dystopian. In the State of the Union address earlier this year, President Biden declared Social Security should be “off the books” for discussion. Former president Donald Trump has similarly promised not to touch Social Security. And in a recent Republican presidential campaign, half the candidates gave bogus do-nothing answers for how to save it.

Read the entire piece here.

Published works by members or staff of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget do not necessarily reflect the views of all members or staff of the Committee.