The Washington Post editorial board likes President Bush’s proposal to adjust how Social Security benefits are indexed:
IS PRESIDENT BUSH advocating cruel cuts in Social Security? Consider these calculations by the Urban Institute’s C. Eugene Steuerle: Government-provided retirement benefits for the average couple retiring in 1960 amounted to $195,000. Today, that amount has grown to $710,000 ($439,000 in Social Security and $271,000 in Medicare, which didn’t exist in 1960). For a couple retiring 25 years from now, lifetime benefits are scheduled to exceed $1 million. Mr. Steuerle’s numbers are adjusted for inflation, so this is real growth.
Is this sensible, given other pressing demands? Is it sustainable, given the impending retirement of the baby boomers? The answer to both questions is no, which is why Mr. Bush’s proposal to adjust the way that increases in Social Security benefits are calculated — a method known as progressive indexing — merits serious consideration.
Bush unveiled the propsosal more than a month ago. The WaPo’s comments are welcome, albeit belated.