On Wednesday, June 30, the president's Fiscal Commission met to discuss the nation's mid- and long-term fiscal challenges. However, the conversation was almost entirely dominated by the topic of federal health care spending.
The meeting included an "open-mike," in which witnesses were given a chance to speak. Alliance Executive Director Ed Coyle (at right) addressed the Commission: "Retirees are deeply disturbed by talk coming out of this Commission about cutting Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age." He also decried AmericaSpeaks for recommending that the retirement age be raised to 69, which would reduce benefits and be devastating for American workers. Coyle suggested raising the payroll tax cap for the wealthiest Americans in order to further strengthen Social Security's financial structure.
CNN Money's feature article, which summarized the recommendations given during the "open-mike" session, included a declaration by Mr. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans: "Social Security did not cause these deficits -- it has a $2.5 trillion surplus and a dedicated source of revenue."
Additionally, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) director Doug Elmendorf testified, presenting the CBO's latest report on the long-term federal budget. Most members of the Commission were concerned that the CBO's projections pertaining to the new health care law's effects understate its potential to reduce costs.
The fiscal commission is set to meet three more times before it drafts its recommendation for Congress and the President. The next meeting is set for July 28.
To view Mr. Coyle's testimony in front of the Fiscal Commission on Youtube, click here.