Sirota says possible Biden pick could raise prospect of Social Security cuts

David Sirota, Jacobin editor-at-large and founder of The Daily Poster, said Friday that if President-elect Joe Biden names top campaign adviser and deficit hawk Bruce Reed as head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), it could suggest that the administration would be "open to cutting programs like Social Security."

Reed, who served as Biden’s chief of staff when he was vice president, is a reported contender to lead OMB once Biden moves into the White House in January. Reed previously served as chief domestic policy adviser under former President Clinton, where he oversaw policies on education, crime and welfare reform.

Sirota, a former senior adviser on Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden tax-hike proposals face bumpy road ahead Senate Democrats leery of nixing filibuster 'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate MORE’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, noted on Hill.TV's "Rising" that Sanders frequently highlighted Biden’s support in the 1990s for reducing funding for Social Security and other programs in order to lower the federal budget deficit.

“Maybe he has changed,” Sirota said of Biden, while adding that a Reed appointment “would suggest that maybe he hasn’t changed.”

"Bruce Reed is somebody who was part of that movement back in the 1990s and, frankly, into the more modern era of the 2000s and 2010s,” Sirota said.

Biden has proposed various changes as president to try to shore up Social Security and extend the program's solvency, and has floated Social Security payroll taxes on those making over $400,000 to pay for the changes.

Still, Sirota pointed to Reed's time in 2010 serving as the executive director of the Bowles-Simpson Commission, created to improve the fiscal situation following the 2008 financial crisis through deficit reduction measures. 

“Putting Bruce Reed in as the head of OMB would suggest that Joe Biden is focused or at least accepting of this sort of deficit and budget austerity ideology that wouldn’t necessarily be for expanding Social Security, but would be for reducing, potentially cutting, or at least being open to cutting programs like Social Security,” he concluded. 

Watch Sirota’s interview above.