WASHINGTON -- The Concord Coalition today urged Congressional leaders to exclude the entire Social Security surplus from consideration in this year's budget deliberations.
"The strongest possible signal Congress could send about its determination to save the Social Security surplus would be to adopt a budget plan that honors the program's 'off-budget' status," said Concord Coalition Policy Director Robert Bixby. "The debate over what to do with budget surpluses should begin with a bipartisan agreement that there is no surplus to divvy up until the budget is balanced without counting Social Security."
Concord also called upon Congressional leaders to maintain the discretionary spending caps enacted in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act and to keep the current "pay-as-you-go" offset requirement for tax cuts and entitlement spending increases. "Mere projections of budget surpluses 'for as far as the eye can see' should not lead to a meltdown in fiscal discipline," Bixby said.
Concord suggested that if the discretionary caps are revised to a higher level, long-term budget discipline could be maintained by requiring that any such increase be offset on the "pay-as-you-go" side of the budget.
Despite recent improvements, current fiscal policy remains unsustainable over the long-term according to the Congressional Budget Office and the General Accounting Office. Concord therefore believes that great care should be taken to avoid new initiatives that would make the long-term outlook even worse.