As I have often said, politicians are reprehensible

White House Should Stop Demagoguing Social Security and Medicare

FEB 6, 2023 

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates today described commissions to save the Social Security and Medicare programs from insolvency as a “death panel for Medicare and Social Security.”

The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

Washington has only a decade to save Social Security, before the law calls for a 20 percent across-the-board benefit cut. They have even less time for Medicare.

This kind of heated rhetoric is dishonest, counterproductive, and totally unacceptable.

And President Biden should know better – his vote in favor of the 1983 Social Security amendments, proposed by the Greenspan Commission, helped extend the life of that program for 50 years.

The White House needs to stop demagoguing this issue and start taking looming insolvency seriously. Sixty-five million seniors and people with disabilities count on Social Security and Medicare.

Attacking a bipartisan idea as a “death panel” demonstrates a lack of seriousness on this important issue.

This is similar to the despicable Republican rhetoric during the Obamacare debates. It’s all politics, all designed to appeal to the uninformed and stimulate misinformation.


  1. Every time (almost) I see a blog with comments on Social Security, there is a comment about how SS would be OK if congress had not stolen billions. The last one I saw was $2.7 trillion stolen in 1983 by Ronald Reagan.
    I have also seen the rebuttal, but can’t find the reference. Do you have it handy?


    1. The comment refers to the 1983 changes to tax law, but, of course, is silly. The changes increased the trust fund and the the trust purchased more treasury bonds – the same strategy since the beginning of SS in 1936. It’s not a matter of rebuttal, but simply fact. The trust holds bonds and when it bought the bonds the proceeds are used by government. Just as it does with savings bonds. Now, those bonds are gradually being redeemed to pay benefits.


      1. Thank you. At least this time I got a specific reference: Allen W. Smith, Ph,D, Eastern Illinois University…*

        “The problem is that the government did not save and invest the Social Security surplus as it was supposed to do. Instead, it “borrowed” and spent (embezzled) every dollar of the Social Security surplus, replacing the money with worthless non-marketable special issue government IOUs.”

        Unfortunately, the rebuttal I found:
        “Open letter to Prof. Allen W. Smith, emeritus, Eastern Illinois University”
        ( )

        …is about as convoluted as the Smith article/book.

        I have tried to explain it as you have said, but apparently I don’t have the credibility of a Ph,D in economics.
        (And he ain’t the only one.)
        “The government stole our money” has a very large following.

        * Google also shows similar opinion pieces in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, etc. What can you do?


      2. When did government ever save and invest and money? And it never was “supposed to” That’s like saying every Treasury issue, even savings bond are worthless. Better not tell the Chinese.


  2. I say – Let the cuts in Social Security happen! No one paid for all of the SS benefits that they will receive, once they have been getting a check for 8 years+. I have received everything that was paid in FICA taxes, inflation adjusted 2018 dollars, in 65 months. My payment was reduced because I started SS benefits at 62. Someone starting at FRA or waiting until age 70 might even see a faster return. Then adjust welfare payments up for those on SS with low income, problem solved.


    1. While you may have received everything you put in after 65 months, you didn’t receive what you would have if you invested it, did you?


      1. Given i and my wife have been collecting over 14 years we probably have. But more important how many Americans do you know who would have the discipline and skill to save and invest all the value of taxes for forty or more years. Also, how would they cope with early death or disability, a disabled child, divorce? SS is much more than a worker’s retirement.


      2. AL Corrupt – I am 67, with a life expectancy of 82. 5 years, I will collect an additional $291,834 in SS benefits (not inflation adjusted), that myself and my employer’s did not fund.


  3. The political arena is as divided and pugnacious as it ever has been and the public is pulled in different directions with no idea of a common meeting ground. It is all special interest groups with no interest in compromise. The politicians are reflective of society as a whole.

    We are in a mess.


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