As Washington turns its attention to tackling the nation’s huge deficit, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said Tuesday that Social Security should not be included in legislation to reduce the U.S. deficit.
“Social Security benefits are financed only through payroll taxes and the Trust Fund,” Baucus (left) said during a hearing held by his committee entitled “Perspectives on Deficit Reduction: Social Security.” Social Security, he continued, “is not responsible for the deficits we face in the general fund today. Therefore, I believe Social Security should not be part of our efforts to reduce those deficits.”
Baucus and other lawmakers as well as those testifying agreed that Social Security had been the “most successful” government program since its creation by President Franklin Roosevelt during the Depression. “Social Security has been a major force in ending widespread poverty among the elderly," Baucus said, adding that for 15% of the nation’s seniors, Social Security was their “only income, and for one in four elderly Americans, Social Security provides 90% of their income.”
By law, Baucus said, “Social Security must remain separated from the rest of the Federal budget and the program cannot borrow money from the general Federal budget.”