Pointing to ways the federal government could balance its books, the president of the American Banking Association suggested that Social Security benefits could be scaled back for the eldest recipients.
Frank Keating warned the Senate Banking Committee that because Americans are living longer, Social Security and Medicare will bankrupt the country.
"By the year 2025, every cent of federal tax revenue will go to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the debt," Keating testified.
"In 1950, the average person retired at 59 — or excuse me, retired at 62 and died at 69 — or 65 and 69. Today the average person retires at 62 and dies at 80," he said.
Keating went on: "So all the actuarial tables are off. We are mercifully living a lot longer, which is causing huge stresses in our ability to provide for the elderly in the United States, and it will continue to deepen and darken over the course of the next 20 years."
Insisting that "actuarial tables ... have to be addressed," Keating said "tying in the debt ceiling increase with some kind of long-term reduction in the long-term liability of the country is the only way to do it."
“The ideas I've heard from both sides of the aisle, whether it's chained CPI (lower cost-of-living adjustments) or a longevity index in Social Security,” Keating declared. “All that makes abundant good sense.”
And what is the "longevity index"? It is a method of penalizing people for living longer, by reducing monthly Social Security payments as people get older.
Senators raised no objections at Monday’s hearing, but LaRouchePAC activists, pushing to restore the public protections of the Glass-Steagall banking act, called Keating’s vision “nothing but Nazi economics -- cutting off support from those considered "too burdensome."
“These are the bankers whom the American people have been supporting and letting run roughshod over them since Glass-Steagall was repealed in 1999. It's time to put them out of their misery, by reinstating Glass-Steagall,” said the group headed by former presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche.
AARP, the advocacy group for seniors, estimates that the chained CPI proposal pending in Congress would cut $127 billion from Social Security benefits over the next decade.
Another activist group, the Progressive Populist, told Examiner there are better solutions.
"All Congress needs to do is remove the cap on income subject to the payroll tax so that millionaires pay their fair share to stabilize Social Security for the foreseeable future. Also, a tax of 3 cents per $100 traded on Wall Street would have a negligible effect on ordinary investors, but raise nearly $400 billion."