Pension consultants: ‘This is a disaster’
By LISA SCHOEGERBERGMANThe Associated Press – WASHINGTON (AP) — Pension consultants are predicting that Congress and President Donald Trump will cut federal retirement benefits for millions of retirees over the next several years, but they say their work has not been enough to make a difference.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its latest analysis Thursday, predicting that about 10 million workers will lose their pension benefits by 2023 under the GOP tax overhaul and the GOP-led Congress.
“Congress and the White House have made it clear they will cut Social Security and Medicare and other vital programs that benefit workers,” said Alan Cole, chief executive of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Governmental Studies.
“What the CBO says is that there are going to be cuts in retirement benefits.”
The report comes on the heels of a major tax bill that Republicans passed this month that would cut Social.
& Medicare and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, among other provisions.
“The CBO is warning that cuts in Social Security benefits, Medicare benefits, and other programs will have a devastating impact on the lives of millions of Americans who have been working their whole lives,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“This is unacceptable.”
A White House spokesman called the CBO’s analysis “a disgrace” and said the administration supports lawmakers making hard choices on how to cut spending.
“There is no reason why any middle-class American should pay more to keep the promise of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” the spokesman said in a statement.
The report is the latest blow to the GOP plans to pass the tax overhaul next year, which includes major changes to the Medicare program, which could lead to cuts in benefits for many retirees, and could also force the administration to cut the $5 trillion cost of the tax cuts.
Trump has promised that his administration would not cut Social security or Medicare benefits.
The administration is currently trying to negotiate with Democrats on a compromise plan that would increase benefits, but the issue has not yet been resolved.
The budget office’s analysis is based on the Joint Committee on Taxation, which estimates how the tax bill will affect individual taxpayers and the economy.
But the report doesn’t account for the tax changes that Republicans have introduced, such as lowering the top tax rate and eliminating deductions for business owners and wealthy individuals.
Trump’s aides have previously told reporters they have no idea how many of the roughly 40 million people who receive benefits under the government program will see their benefits reduced under the Republican plan.
The administration has argued that the cuts to Social Security will be paid for by cutting other benefits, including Medicaid, which is administered by the states.
The CBO says there are no plans in place to help millions of low-income Americans, including many who qualify for Medicaid, pay for their benefits through tax credits.
Trump and the Trump administration have been touting the tax plan as a boon for the middle class and have promised to help many Americans who don’t qualify for any other tax relief.
The White House said Thursday that the tax cut would increase economic growth by $4 trillion over the first decade, which would have helped more than 1 million Americans, many of them working, with no cost to the economy in the first year alone.
The White House has also projected the cost of cutting benefits will be about $2 trillion over 10 years, according to its own analysis.
But experts say the economic growth would have been much lower without the tax breaks.
“In the first few years of the bill, this is a tax cut that would generate economic growth in the United States of about 1.5 percent,” said Chris Dye, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute who studies the effect of tax cuts on the economy, in an email.
“The impact would have dropped substantially if it had not included tax breaks that help the wealthy and help corporations, and they’re not in there.
But for now, they have an enormous cost.”
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