Larson: Social Security reforms not DOA, they’re just ‘a non-starter’

U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, D-1st District, lent his name today to a preemptive attack on expected calls next month by President Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission to cut Social Security benefits.

“Certainly there may be some constructive things. I don’t want pronounce things dead on arrival until I have an opportunity to fully take a look at them and see what their value might be,” Larson said. But he added it was a “non-starter” to even talk about privatizing Social Security.

Larson appeared in Hartford at a press conference called by the Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans, one of the groups nationally that is mobilizing against any efforts to weaken Social Security benefits. They are reacting to leaks regarding recommendations expected early next month.

The group says the program’s solvency can be extended by lifting the $106,800 cap on earnings that are now subject to the payroll tax. For every employee who makes the maximum, an employee and an employer each pay $6,621 annually in payroll taxes.

The median Social Security benefit in Connecticut is just $15,300 annually, a sum that helps many elderly avoid poverty, said John Olsen, the president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO.