Stern: Entitlements, Taxes Should Be On The Table During Fiscal Commission

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Outgoing SEIU President Andy Stern, who sits on President Obama’s fiscal reform commission, says entitlement programs, as well as taxes should be on the table as members weigh various ways to reduce long-term deficits and debt.

In a letter to President Obama and fellow commission members, obtained by TPMDC, Stern takes the somewhat surprising position that entitlement programs including Social Security should be on the table–but only if changes enhance retirement security for again Americans.

“I agree with many Commissioners who have said that all entitlement programs should be on the table, Stern writes. “We should include tax entitlements as part of that conversation.”Stern goes on:

The Commission should examine our country’s entire retirement security system, private and public. Taxpayer dollars are spent in a multitude of ways, not just on Social Security with the aim of promoting retirement security. Yet, many Americans retire with anything but security. We should include as part of our agenda ideas for strengthening the private parts of the retirement security system, reviewing both adequacy and solvency of the Social Security system, and the possibility of add-on universal private accounts.

Emphasis in the original. Additionally, Stern says the commission should examine the impact comprehensive immigration reform would have on the country’s fiscal future, presuming that it could “increase revenues by reducing tax evasion by employers using the underground non tax economy.”

You can read the entire letter here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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