Social Security Debate Shifts From Benefit Cuts to Bigger Checks

Published Oct 5, 2019. By Richard Rubin and Kate Davidson.

That shift, evidenced by presidential candidates’ plans and a bill backed by nearly 90% of House Democrats, departs from years of conversations about an elusive bipartisan compromise where Democrats agree to lower promised benefits and Republicans accept higher taxes.

Nonpartisan groups still produce proposals along the old-compromise lines. Recently, the Concord Coalition and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget offered one designed to boost economic growth. It would encourage older workers to delay retirement and provide a “poverty protection benefit” for low-income workers.

But in Congress, there is little urgency or appetite for compromise proposals. Social Security may stumble toward insolvency in 2034—sooner if there is a recession or later in a booming economy.