(The following post first appeared on Unionosity and is republished with permission.)
A group of 200 CEOs known as the Business Roundtable made some unsurprising recommendations for debt reduction [Wednesday], suggesting cutting entitlement programs and pushing the age of eligibility for Medicare and Social Security to 70. The recommendations, which the group plans to make to both Congress and the President, also resist any increased Social Security taxation on wealthy Americans.
The group would push the age at which full Social Security benefits are paid to 70 for those now aged 54 and under. Currently, the age for collecting full benefits depends on year of birth. Someone born between 1946 and 1953 can take full benefits at age 66. That will rise to age 67 for individuals born in 1960 or after.
The group is explicit in its goals to use the debt ceiling debate as an impetus to push radical policy initiatives. Business Roundtable spokesperson Gary Loveman’s (CEO of the Caesars casino and hotel chain) comments add a sinister quality to the recommendations. From [Reuters]:
“There’s nothing like impending pain to focus the mind, and the conditions the American economy faces are much more serious and sustained than any … experience in my lifetime,” Loveman said.
ThinkProgress points out that entitlement programs are not nearly as insecure as Republicans make them out to be, noting that raising the payroll tax cap will keep Social Security solvent for up to 75 years. Loveman shot this idea down using the old “trickle down” argument. From [Reuters]:
But the group rejected shoring up Social Security by making incomes above the maximum annual threshold – which in 2012 was $110,100 – subject to payroll taxes, saying that would hurt the economy.
“You would have to raise the base upon which the taxes are applied very substantially to drive a sufficient level of revenue to address the long-term solvency of the program,” Loveman said.
“That would be far more damaging to economic growth than what we’re asking people to consider,” he added.
These CEOs want to solve the debt problem by forcing their underlings to work longer. It’s a solution that could only be devised by the One Percent.