Concord Coalition Reminds Lawmakers that when Tackling Social Security there is no "Free Lunch"

Press Release
Tuesday, April 26, 2005

WASHINGTON -- As the Senate Finance Committee holds their hearing to evaluate different plans to fix Social Security, The Concord Coalition today released a Social Security Policy Brief reminding lawmakers that there is no "free lunch" when designing such plans.

"Nothing sounds better to a politician than the prospect of fixing a problem without anyone having to give up anything. Unfortunately, much of the recent discourse about Social Security reform reflects this perspective. From the political right, the message is ‘if we just adopt personal accounts everyone comes out ahead.' From the political left, it is ‘if we just make a few minor adjustments the program can pay all promised benefits indefinitely.'

"The problem with both messages is that they ignore fiscal realities. Social Security can't be fixed with personal accounts that no one has to pay for or with aspirin-style benefit constraints or tax increases. The reluctance of policymakers to publicly acknowledge the necessity of people having to give up something significant now and in the future presents an enormous obstacle to making the changes necessary to bring about a more sustainable system and assure the nation's economy can absorb the burden of a rapidly aging society."

The full text of Issue #6, "Tackling Social Security: There is no ‘Free lunch,'" along with the other issues from The Concord Coalition's Series On Social Security Reform, is available online at:

The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to balanced federal budgets and generationally responsible fiscal policy. Concord's co-chairs are former Senators Warren B. Rudman (R-NH) and Bob Kerrey (D-NE). Former Commerce Secretary Peter G. Peterson serves as President of The Concord Coalition.


CONTACT: Tristan Cohen (703) 894-6222 [email protected]