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-- security was a great moral success of the twentieth century.
And we must honor it's great purposes in this new century.
This system however on its current path is headed toward bankruptcy.
And so we must join together to strengthen and save Social Security.
And President George Bush in 2005.
Six years later we're still waiting for some kind of meaningful Social Security reform.
Meanwhile one month before that speech president Obama's new director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling.
He laid out his framework for social Social Security reform something he calls it universal 401K.
Which means we all pay more.
In the -- all of this with our next guest JoAnne Barnhart you with the Social Security Administration commissioner from 2001 to 2007.
So tell -- are you surprised nothing's happened -- is this just.
More of Washington grinding -- -- doing nothing.
While I'm disappointed that -- but I'm not surprised.
The fact of the matter is that as you well know this is not a new issue every year since the mid 1990s the Social Security trustees have warned.
And the -- trustee report about the looming enormous.
Financial short -- -- fall for Social Security.
And the fact of the matter is it's an issue that plays out a highly politically charged environment.
And if we look at -- got to contain costs for Social Security in the future that's gonna mean some adjustments have to be made and projected schedule benefits for the future and those -- -- decried as cuts in benefits even though no one's talking about cuts for current beneficiaries but.
That kind of semantic gymnastics as I call it really does nothing to advance the issue.
-- idea we get email all the time from viewers here every time we bring up Social Security people are worried.
And we're talking about cutting their present benefits.
But I have to tell yet I think a lot of Americans would be surprised that they understood what Gene Sperling has suggested in the past.
Here's the elements of -- universal 401K number one government matching funds retirement savings tax credit.
Automatic enrollment and finally.
You might miss this a 3% surcharge on all incomes above 200000.
So essentially -- -- sperling wants to bankroll his planned by eight.
Charging the people who make the most money in our economy to pay for it do you think that's fair.
Well what you know what I think is this I mean that they're looking at his proposal -- -- I'm left feeling a little bit.
Reminiscent of the old radio shows where -- one segment ends with a superhero trapped in the pit of snakes.
At an excellent starts with the announcer saying after our superhero it escape from the -- that.
I feel like Social Security obviously -- the point I'm making a Social Security to me -- -- -- say that we need to figure out how to get out of it.
In his proposal doesn't address that to all -- -- go far enough is that your point.
Well now my point is I like that out of the way the way I look to this proposal that was really an add on for Social Security up on top.
The current Social Security program and quite frankly my view is.
To even consider.
Additional new -- -- -- programs with enormous.
Federal government cost.
It in the current economic environment without dealing with a huge financial probably -- Social Security today is really absolutely the wrong thing to do.
-- Tuesday that he should respond here to.
What Barack Obama had to say -- how he talked about at fixing Social Security when he was on the campaign trail.
He says I'll work with members of congress from both parties to strengthen social security and prevent privatization while protecting middle class families from tax increases or benefit cuts which is sort of like saying I love the flag but at the end of -- -- woody really said was let's raise payroll taxes to pay for it is that acceptable.
Well I think the point is that is that you have you have to look at -- -- the problem for Social Security.
In there in a realistic environments and -- What is what is actually achievable.
If you look at at raising payroll taxes.
And one of the options -- suggests that oftentimes -- to lift the cap on the wage cap which as you know is now 106800.
Dollars this year.
And one of the things that's being heralded by some odd people out there today is -- simply take the lid off and say we're going to tax all wages well.
If you do that you -- you have to consider the fact that Social Security does not play out on a blank the landscape you have to look at the economic.
Fallout from that up for example.
Over 6% of American workers earn over a 100000 dollars a year so what you'd be doing in that case is asking American businesses many of them small businesses.
To cough up another six point 2%.
In in Social Security tax on that additional income we're talking an enormous amount of money being pulled out of the economy exactly at the time.
We need to put it to work for job creation -- what is the right.
Fix for this way it would what would be better.
Well you know I get asked that question a lot and and I have to -- -- it's a really.
Difficult and thorny issue there is no question about it I really believe though as the former minister of Social Security.
That cut Social Security is America's most important to master program.
And what it's deserving of as a serious and a realistic a -- an open and honest discussion.
To try to figure out which -- all the options we could consider and I want to emphasize all options.
Would make the most sense for the future.
sperling -- article -- he -- he announces proposal or introduce this proposal some years ago.
He actually -- did the Ronald Reagan Tip O'Neill model.
On and dealing with Social Security issues in the eighties.
And yeah I would say having that that a person who was certainly involved in the end these issues at that time.
That I think that model their their approach was absolutely exemplary of strong leadership.
And open minds well and you know -- mr.
sperling -- a position now to encourage their current administration to follow that example and I certainly hope it does -- well it'll be interesting to see what tact he takes and my goodness I hope it's not more talk more.
Hot air blowing around Washington about this -- -- thank you -- obviously the right person to this interview former Social Security Administration commissioner.
Thank you so much.
Thank you Jerry.
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