Reforming the ‘Third Rail’ of Politics

Blog Post
Wednesday, October 23, 2019

On Facing the Future, Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby and Senior Vice President and Senior Policy Director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget Marc Goldwein joined me to discuss Social Security reform and how it fits into Concord's new fiscally responsible economic growth agenda.

“Social Security is unsustainable … the problem is the amount we pay in the payroll tax isn’t enough to pay for benefits, and while we do have some reserves, those are projected to run out in just 15 years,” said Goldwein. “Think about that; a 62 year old retiring today will be 77 or 78 when the Social Security trust fund runs out.”

He emphasized that the challenges within that retirement system are no longer issues for future generations, like our grandkids. We cannot even guarantee full benefits for current retirees. 

“We, as a country, have been talking for almost two-and-a-half decades about saving Social Security from its looming insolvency,” he said. “But never before have we really looked at Social Security specifically as an engine for economic growth.”

He said we have not needed to do that before because economic growth has historically been around three percent each year, but long-term demographic and workforce trends are expected to slow that growth to less than two percent. And because of the role Social Security plays in our economy, budget and lives, he said the system is potentially a powerful tool for boosting growth. 

“The number one goal here is to change the discussion about Social Security so we understand that fixing it is the key to economic growth,” Goldwein said. “The number two goal is to begin to put forward the right types of ideas that can get us there … what I hope will happen is that policymakers will take the parts they like best, modify them to meet their other goals and put them into a package that will both save Social Security and get our growth rate up.” 

Hear more on “Facing the Future.” I host the program each week on WKXL, NHTalkRadio.com (N.H.), and it is also available via podcast. Join me and my guests as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.