The Washington Times reports that Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid has declared Social Security reform to be “off the table” in terms of a budget deal to address the looming “fiscal cliff”:
“Mr. Reid said Democrats have already made changes to Medicare as part of President Obama's health law, and said Social Security is solvent for the time being and shouldn't be tapped to pay for other government needs.”
"’Social Security is not part of the problem, That's one of the myths the Republicans have tried to create,’ he said. "Social Security is sound for the next many years. But we want to make sure that in the outer years people are protected also, but it's not going to be part of the budget talks, as far as I'm concerned.’"
On the other hand, the Washington Post weighed in with an editorial arguing that Social Security should be included in budget talks:
“Social Security’s retirement age is already headed to 67, which is one reason that program is no longer a major cause of government insolvency. Still, it can and should be rendered more sustainable. The disability component’s explosive recent growth, at a time when the nation’s general health is stable, suggests that reform would not harm those who truly need help.”
I don’t know whether a rush-job reform of Social Security is what’s needed to avert the fiscal cliff, which is more of a short-term issue. But any broader budget talks should put everything on the table, including Social Security.