Advancing a Free Society

The Gang of Six Framework: A Step Backward for Social Security Reform

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This week, the Senate’s “Gang of Six” unveiled a deficit reduction framework that has been publicly described as generally building off of the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission recommendations, and as specifically pursuant to Social Security reform, among other objectives. A careful examination of the framework, however, reveals that it is a step back from bipartisan Social Security reform rather than a step toward it.

This piece explains specific elements of the Gang of Six’s Social Security framework. I want to be clear from the outset that I strongly support the conceptual objectives of the Gang of Six to promote deficit reduction, general bipartisan cooperation, and to build off of the specific Simpson-Bowles recommendations. My repeated support for and defenses of the Simpson-Bowles Social Security proposals are on the public record. The goal of this piece is to explain the substantive implications of the Gang of Six document, leading to the conclusion that it moves away from meaningful Social Security reform. I would look forward to applauding future efforts from the Gang of Six to advance such bipartisan reforms.

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