Mark Thoma at http://economistsview.typepad.com links to Paul Krugman's latest defense of social security on its 75th anniversary, and Dean Baker has been beating the drums too. I have nothing really original to add to this, but as defending social security against misrepresenting critics has been a core activity of this blog and its predecessor, Maxspeak, from early on, I feel the duty to add to the beating of the drum. "Bipartisan" deficit commission after bipartisan deficit commission seems to find their agreement on doing stuff to social security in the name of deficit reduction, even though social security is the part of the federal budget in better shape than pretty much any other. I think it is the thing that brings together these Washington "experts," who, even if they are not being directly paid by the Wall Street firms that are drooling for the billions from a privatization, they are under the influence of those who have been for so long that those who should know better seem to either forget it or ignore it.
As it is, for this go-around they are pushing for a 70-year retirement age, which Krugman accurately points out seriously hits the poorer groups in the US whose life expectancy is not rising (and, indeed, is falling for some groups, particularly poorer women). The bottom line argument continues to be "cut future benefits now, because, eeek!, if we don't future benefits now, we may need to be cut them in the future,eeek!" meh, feh, gah!
What needs cutting or slowing is the rate of increase of medical costs. Ezra Klein pointed out over the weekend in WaPo that the Repubs are now fighting against the cost control board (IPAB) set up by the Obama health reform, even as they support its spending subsidies, no cuts in defense spending, and the continuation of tax cuts for the rich, all the while playing to the anti-deficit tea partiers, although they do seem to be shying away from Paul Ryan's plan to voucherize social security. And people are whining that the Congressional Dems have nothing to run on this fall?