Last month, President Joe Biden nominated a longtime advocate of Social Security privatization and benefit cuts to a key board overseeing the Social Security system. The move comes as Republicans get ready to push cuts to Social Security and Medicare, if they end up winning control of Congress during the November’s midterms, as expected.
The development suggests that there could soon be a coordinated push in Washington to cut the Social Security program, which provides retirement, disability, and survivor benefits to 66 million Americans.
On May 13, Biden chose to nominate Andrew Biggs, a fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute think tank, for a Republican seat on the bipartisan Social Security Advisory Board, which was created in 1994 to consult the president and Congress about the Social Security system.
For years, Biggs has been a vocal critic of expanded Social Security and workers’ right to a secure, stable retirement free from the vagaries of the stock market. He has dismissed the retirement crisis as a non-issue and as recently as 2020 blamed problems with the Social Security system on “older Americans’ game of chicken.” And two decades ago, Biggs worked on a Bush administration commission that pushed to privatize Social Security.
In response to questions from The Lever, Biggs suggested he no longer favors privatizing Social Security. Instead, he said he now believes that nations’ Social Security-like programs should be “more focused on guaranteeing against poverty in old age while middle and high-income individuals take on greater responsibility for saving for retirement on their own, such as by the government establishing universal retirement savings accounts for every worker.”
Establishing such savings accounts would be a solution in search of a problem. Social Security is incredibly successful at delivering retirement benefits, and raising taxes on the wealthy would be a straightforward way to expand the program. Alternatively, creating retirement accounts invested in the stock market would involve a much more unwieldy and risky expansion of government programs — and would be a huge boon to Wall Street.