Here They Go Again

Read the full column (CAP)

The House Republican budget proposal released today by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) largely avoids discussing Social Security, instead calling for President Barack Obama to submit a plan to Congress for a vote. This may seem like a reasonable appeal to bipartisanship—Rep. Ryan even mentions a “bipartisan path forward on Social Security” several times—yet his proposal is really a punt by Republicans to avoid talking about Ryan’s disastrous plan for Social Security that he released as part of his Roadmap for America’s Future last January. What’s more, hidden in plain sight is Rep. Ryan’s plan to reform Social Security solely through benefit cuts.

Let’s first explore what Rep. Ryan definitely doesn’t want to talk about. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Ryan’s Social Security plan presented last year would cut benefits and partially privatize the intergenerational retirement program by diverting money intended to pay for benefits into private accounts. As CBO wrote in a 2010 analysis: “Traditional retirement benefits would be reduced below those scheduled under current law for many workers who are age 55 or younger in 2011.… A system of individual accounts would be established in 2012.”

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