Chaffetz argued that reform is needed because there was already a $38 billion deficit in 2010, which will grow to nearly $100 billion if the program is not changed. He also argued that while some argue that the Social Security "trust fund" will help keep the program solvent, that trust fund is simply additional funding that the government must borrow, and the program is already spending more than it takes in.
"There is no excuse for allowing Social Security to become insolvent," Chaffetz said. "The program is unsustainable in its current form. However, this problem is completely within our power to resolve — without tax increases and while protecting retirees. This series of simple steps will make the program solvent and allow younger generations to more accurately anticipate their own retirement needs."
The Chaffetz plan would raise the retirement age at which people can receive Social Security benefits to 68 for those born in 1966. The age would then slowly increase until it reached 69 for people born in 1972. After that, the retirement age would increase one month every two years.
It would also change the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated, in a way that SSA estimated would lead to a 0.3 percent decrease in these annual benefit increases. The bill would also reduce benefits for high-income earners, including by cutting benefits up to 50 percent for couples earning more than $360,000.
But it would also increase Social Security benefits by 5 percent for beneficiaries over 85 years old.
Republicans on the supercommittee this week proposed a plan to cut federal deficits through a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases, including a cut in the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries. But Democrats seemed to reject this proposal, raising the prospect of gridlock in the 12-member body that now has just two weeks to find a proposal to vote on.