Wednesday, April 1, 2009

WSJ: White House to look at GOP Social Security reform plan

The Wall Street Journal
reports that on a conference call with reporters, top White House budge official Rob Nabors said they would examine the reform outline put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan, the top Republican on the House budget committee, and would have more to say on the subject of Social Security reform soon. This is good news, as substantive prospects for reform are actually higher now than in the past: many Republicans are willing to compromise on the subject of personal accounts, and Democrats who previously denied the problem may be chastened by the recent downturn in Social Security's finances. Let's hope so.

Here's what the Journal had to say:

John D. McKinnon reports on politics.

Social Security reform, largely ignored since President George W. Bush's ill-starred initiative in 2005, could be resurfacing soon.

On a conference call with reporters Wednesday where he generally blasted Republican budget proposals, a top Obama budget official said the administration would have to take a close look at the GOP proposal on Social Security, and hinted that the White House would have more to say on the issue soon.

Rob Nabors, deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, reiterated the administration's view that the most urgent budget problem in the entitlements area is not Social Security but the soaring cost of health care, which threatens fiscal disaster for the U.S. because of programs like Medicare and Medicaid. One of President Barack Obama's top three policy objectives for this year is a broad health-care overhaul that would begin to rein in those costs.

But Nabors added that administration officials would spend some time "looking at" the GOP proposal on Social Security, and promised that the public will be seeing more from the administration on the issue as the budget process unfolds. The White House is expected to roll out its complete budget proposal in late April or early May. The administration is under pressure from lawmakers of both parties – including Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) – to address Social Security, perhaps through a commission process.

The Republican proposal includes a future cap on Social Security benefits for some younger and wealthier beneficiaries.

The Social Security trust fund is projected to be completely tapped out by 2041, although retiring baby boomers are expected to create a significant burden on the nation's finances much sooner, within the next decade.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The substance of what Ryan has suggested -- reducing benefits only for those earning above $54,000 in today's terms AND not until after 2030 -- is actually not particularly constructive.