President Joe Biden outlined many plans for Social Security prior to taking office, but has been focused on other priorities since entering the White House.
Still, the president has made his position unequivocally clear on certain issues related to the retirement benefits program. In fact, this must-read Biden quote shows the red line Biden has drawn when it comes to this popular entitlement program.
Current and future retirees need to read this Biden quote
President Biden has drawn a line in the sand and made clear that certain Social Security reforms are off the table.
At a 2020 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum held in January 2020, Biden said: "There will be no compromise on cutting Medicare & Social Security, period. That's a promise."
His statement couldn't be more black and white, and it leaves little room for negotiations with Republicans on the future of the retirement benefits program. Joe Biden has promised in no uncertain terms that benefits reductions cannot be part of any Social Security reforms.
Will the president's promise protect retirees?
This Biden quote on Social Security may be comforting to current and future retirees who worry about the fate of the benefits program. After all, if Biden is unwilling to cut benefits, it may seem like things can't change for the worse.
There's just one problem. Social Security's trust fund is on track to run dry in 2035 or earlier, unless some changes are made to shore up the program. If the trust fund runs out, an automatic 24% benefits cut would have to occur as benefits could only be paid out of current revenue being collected.
Lawmakers need to act to prevent this from occurring -- and the sooner the better, as each year of delay only makes it more difficult and expensive to fix the coming shortfalls. And since Democrats currently have an extremely narrow majority in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, any reforms to Social Security would likely have to be bipartisan.
While Biden has suggested fixing Social Security's financial situation by assessing more taxes on high earners, Republicans generally favor approaches such as raising full retirement age -- which is a de facto benefits cut.
If lawmakers were to reach a bipartisan compromise to shore up Social Security, it almost assuredly would need to include ideas from both sides of the aisle, which would probably mean more taxes, but also some changes that reduce benefits. This is what happened the last time (and the only time) Congress made major reforms to the program back in 1983.
If Biden sticks to his position and refuses to include any benefit cuts, it's unlikely that there will be a compromise bill during his term. Unless Democrats increase their majorities in the 2022 mid-term elections, there likely won't be any major changes to the program at all.
This means the deadline for acting will draw ever closer and whomever is president in 2024 may face an impending Social Security benefits crisis that requires swift action.