It was clear from the inception of the deficit reduction Super Committee that it was designed for the purpose of cutting entitlements, especially Social Security benefits. The Super Committee proposal was given the same protection from a filibuster as debate on a reconciliation bill, but the Super Committee proposal is not subject to the same Byrd Rule (PDF) that prevents the Senate from using reconciliation to fast track Social Security cuts. The procedural rules governing the Super Committee couldn’t have been more purposely designed to make cutting Social Security as easy as procedurally possible.
So the latest report confirming that the members of the Super Committee are actively trying to cut your Social Security benefits isn’t surprising. From Politico:
As a critical deadline for the supercommittee nears, Social Security appears to be on the negotiating table.
In private conversations, and now in public, the idea of changing the social program as part of a deficit-reduction deal is gaining some traction — a move that has been politically unthinkable for years.
This is on top of proposals inside the panel. Last week saw a slew of plans put forth by Democrats and Republicans on the supercommittee. Democrats unveiled a plan that would cut the deficit by roughly $3 trillion, which was declared not “serious” by Republicans because of $1.3 trillion in new tax-based revenue — their plan did include changes to Social Security. Republicans rolled out a $2.2 trillion plan, which generates $640 billion in nontax revenue. Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have discussed a $1.2 trillion plan, and changes to Social Security alongside it could show they are reaching for a broader scope.
The main Social Security change being discussed is switching to the “Chained-CPI,” which would change the annual cost of living adjustment to an index that would tend to rise more slowly than the current index. This would result in a small benefit cut every year, but over time the difference would be compounded into a significant reduction in benefits.
The Democrats on the Super Committee want to significantly cut your Social Security and have offered to do it. The only thing really protecting your Social Security benefits from cuts right now is the Republican unwillingness to reach a deal that includes explicit tax increases.
There should be no doubt that your Social Security is in serious danger right now. It has been in serious danger ever since the Super Committee was purposely created in such away to make it easier to cut the program.
More from David Dayen’s coverage:
“Of course, members of Congress won’t really have to worry about their benefits getting cut. That’s because they’re mostly fabulously wealthy and won’t be burdened as much as the other 99% by a more meager Social Security check every month.
Members of Congress had a collective net worth of more than $2 billion in 2010, a nearly 25 percent increase over the 2008 total, according to a Roll Call analysis of Members’ financial disclosure forms.
Nearly 90 percent of that increase is concentrated in the 50 richest Members of Congress.
“Even among Congress, income inequality rules, and the ultra-rich get all the benefits.”