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S.1295 TRUST ACT 2021

Whenever a Trust Fund is depleted automatic cuts take place in the program if Congress fails to act.  Medicare and Social Security would be two examples of Trusts where funds are expected to be depleted in the near future.  The TRUST Act 2021 retroduced in the 117th Congress would establish bipartisan and bicameral “rescue committees” for major federal trust funds that are projected to deplete their reserves. The 12 person committee would be tasked with writing legislation to prevent the fund depletion, improve long-term solvency and simplify and improve underlying programs. 

 

The general concept sounded good to me; but, I saw a section in AARP where a subscriber can email their congressman to opposition to this legisation.  Maybe there is something more to this I am not seeing.  Why would AARP support this legislation?  

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Periodic Contributor

The TRUST Act 2021 establishes another unaccountable bureaucratic decision process.  We need to demand that congress stops delegating their responsibilities and start doing their job and actually vote.   

  

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Contributor

Send me information how i can contact my congress and senate representive.

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Honored Social Butterfly


@ThomasK336865 wrote:

The TRUST Act 2021 establishes another unaccountable bureaucratic decision process.  We need to demand that congress stops delegating their responsibilities and start doing their job and actually vote.   

  


Actually, I think that is exactly what S.1295 TRUST ACT 2021 does - it forces a bipartisan group of Congressman to look at the Trust Funds - all of them; not just SS and Medicare HI (Part A).  

 

The bipartisan group will be balanced in numbers from each party.  That differs from the other committees where there is an unequal number depending upon the party in the current majority.  

 

They (all of the bipartisan members) come up with legislation which is presented to Congress for passage.  There cannot be any amendments or changes by Congress as a body.  If there is a problem - it goes back to the bipartisan Trust Committee for any changes.

 

The bill does have support in Congress now - bipartisan support.  It also has support from both left-leaning and right leaning think tanks  (see @c256343b 08/25/2022 post in this thread for more info).

 

I think this is the ONLY way we are gonna get action on these major Trust Funds - IMO, this manner of setting up the committee takes it out of the political realm and forces Congress to take some action without waiting for years and years - even though the problems with the SS and Medicare HI Trust Funds have been known for years and years and years.

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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The problem I have is 1) none of those senators collect or will ever rely on social security so it's just a thing they talk about but don't experience.  2)  I would want 60 votes for passage, otherwise, whoever has the slimmest majority can pass it through reconciliation and it depending upon who's in power, it could be a disaster for millions of seniors who already don't get enough to live on.   

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Honored Social Butterfly

If that happended SS and Medicare would be history now. Once established these type of programs need to be shielded from the day to day  politics. The problem now is one party wants to kill them.

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I wanted to understand the Trust Act and alternatives before forming an opinion about it.  The Trust Act was proposed by 9 Republicans, 6 Democrats, and one independent. The Trust Act has 66 Co-sponsors of which 54 are Democrats. 

 

The Brookings Institution is a center-left organization that supports the Trust Act and provides an explanation of why.

 

 The Motley Fool is a center-left organization that also supports the Trust Act and is a smaller summary of the process that has worked and failed in the past.

 

CNBC is a center-left news organization that presented a neutral view of the TRUST Act that summarizes the opposition based on the belief that it has the potential to cut benefits and lacks transparency.   CNBC stresses the importance of addressing funding.

 

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget is a center-right orgsnization that lists support for the TRUST Act including the newly formed "Forward Party".

 

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is rated as a centered organization.  It summarizes the use of bipartisan commissions and concludes, "the TRUST Act could help focus attention and action on solutions to ensure that the underlying programs will continue to provide critical services in the future".

 

Alternatives to the TRUST Act:

 

CNBC describes the current status of Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust which some Democrats hope to start the process to bring to a vote in September.  They point out that solution will require a compromise to pass.

 

There are ten Proposals to Change Social Security (ssa.gov) to impact the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) which were made since July 2022 that are evaluated by the Office of the Chief Actuary.  Only four have a major impact on increasing the solvency of OASDI.  CNBC has an excellent summary of these proposals, along with the cautionary note that any passage will require bipartisan support.

 

You Earned It, You Keep It Act will increase solvency by 25 years by eliminating the cap on taxes of covered earning impacting those with incomes over $250,000 among other changes.  

 

Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act will increase solvency by 17 years by removing the cap on taxes of covered earning, using CPI for the elderly, a couple other changes.

 

Social Security Expansion Act extends the life of OASDI for over 75 years including expanding benefits and raising taxes.  I believe the potential for this to pass is low in the current political environment because it lacks bipartisan support.

 

Social Security Enhancement and Protection Act of 2021 extends the life of OASDI for 25 years by expanding benefits and increasing taxes.  I believe the potential for this to pass is low in the current political environment.

 

In reviewing this material, I don't see that current proposed alternatives have bipartisan support required to pass, nor do I see an effort to build this support.  I question if the TRUST Act can build this bipartisan support which does not appear to exist in current proposals?  I will continue to follow this topic with interest.

Contributor

I know exactly why AARP is against it and so am I.  One section of the legislation says: "The Rescue Committee bill shall be considered as read. All points of order against the Rescue Committee bill and against its consideration are waived. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the Rescue Committee bill to its passage without intervening motion except 2 hours of debate equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent and 1 motion to limit debate on the Rescue Committee bill. A motion to reconsider the vote on passage of the Rescue Committee bill shall not be in order."

Another section says: "An amendment to a Rescue Committee bill, or a motion to postpone, or a motion to proceed to the consideration of other business, or a motion to recommit the Rescue Committee bill, is not in order....A Rescue Committee bill shall not be subject to amendment in either the Senate or the House of Representatives."

 

Basically this language means that a 12 member committee gets to make final decisions on Social Security and Medicare without any actual oversight and nobody can change a word of the legislation they submit.  AND if the bill is worded cleverly enough, it won't be a budget bill and can pass via reconciliation with a simple majority.   AARP is rightfully alarmed by this bill and so am I.

 

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Honored Social Butterfly

There is no way you can talk about this subject and not be into politics since the entire subject is politics driven. The way the SS trust fund was created means when the number of working people decreases you have to adjust money coming into the trust fund, and than means politics will control the fund, and has since day one. To further the political end when SS was set up one party approved of it, and one party did not. Over the years  we have seen the political end show its head as one party tries to improve the program and one party tries to kill the program or turn it over to private Cos. to run.

You solve the problem very quickly if all areas agree that SS should stay and be funded as the founders set it up to be funded. That means increasing funds when times change the economy. Right now just level the SS tax on the entire income of a person and that would include investment income. If that were done now the rate of the SS tax would come down some. That will not happen since one party opposes SS and wants it to fail. AARP wants it to succeed and has always been for it, and all members should support AARP in that effort. 

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Periodic Contributor

Subjecting all income to SS tax (at the current rate) would have closed the Trust Fund 'funding gap' if done a few years ago, but now it would only close about 2/3rds of that gap. Enacting that proposal AND increasing the SS tax by 1.25% would be needed to fully close the funding gap (while keeping current benefit levels intact). 

Here's an interesting calculator of how various options might help 'fix' SS finances.

https://www.crfb.org/socialsecurityreformer/

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Periodic Contributor

There is CRITICAL URGENCY here.  The whole point of the Bill is to force an equally-balanced BIPARTISAN committee come up with a solution to the MANDATORY SS cuts that WILL happen by law if the Congress continues to do nothing (as it has for many years under BOTH Parties). 

Trust is a personal value judgement, but there is no evidence (none) that the GOP has been trying to "eliminate" SS.  Fact is that the SS Security Trust Fund has been tapped by BOTH Parties over the years (Trust Fund is merely IOU's of the Treasury), and BOTH Parties' actions have led the Program into the mess that it's in.  And the current bout of inflation is likely to further stress the Trust fund (since the interest rate Treasury bonds pay into the Trust fund is lower than inflation-linked increases in benefits). 

 

 

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Why would AARP send this "petition", or whatever it really is, and NOT even include the name of the bill?  Probably S1295, but who knows for sure???  "... since some want to lower our country's deficits by ..." 

Why doesn't AARP tell us why it wants to oppose the act?  What is in it that the sponsors don't tell us in the synopsis, if anything? 

And, the letter is not even dated!  And, the last part of the letter tells us what other work it is doing for us.  Sounds like a fund raiser to me. 

Contributor

I agree with you. I received the same request to complete the petitions and then send a check to help fight the Trust Act but nothing I read said why we are fighting it or why AARP would even want to fight it. We are talking about a program many of us paid in to for decades and is slated to be out of money by 2034. Wouldn’t we want a committee to address it now? Maybe they can force Fannie Mae and several others that have borrowed from Social Security to pay back what is owed? I’m drawing early because from what I’ve seen this latest generation could be given a job sleeping and would wake up just long enough to quit!

Newbie

Here is the reason I found that AARP opposes this act. 

 

Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president, said in a recent statement that “proposals like the TRUST Act would give a handful of lawmakers the power to propose cuts behind closed doors with fast-track legislative consideration with minimum transparency and oversight from voters.”

Richtman wrote: “By leaving only the skeleton of Congress’ normal deliberative process in place, it would limit opportunities for seniors to let their lawmakers know whether they support or oppose specific proposals to fix the trust funds.”

Newbie

I totally agree Richard.  I bet tons of people blindly sign them ASSuming that the AARP always has our better interests at heart. On this one I have doubt and will not sign till I know what is behind it. I agree with all you say. Have there been any articles on the trust act in any of their publications such as the monthly newsletter or the online weekly one? Maybe if I go to a local AARP event someone can explain if I ask the people that head up these events. 

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Honored Social Butterfly

The summary is actually a pretty short read - and it isn't complicated.

Congress.gov - S.1295 - 117th Congress (2021 - 2022)  - TRUST Act of 2021

Long name:  Time to Rescue United States’ Trust  Act

a piece of legislation designed to safeguard major federal trust funds by developing a designed committee of legislators - bipartisan - which regularly review the programs that have a Trust Fund connection which have outlays over a certain amount - make recommendation if needed, develop legislation if needed and then put it forth in the regular legislative order - meaning the bill has to go thru the full House and Senate process.  

 

The actual bill text describes how each "Rescue Committe" is designed and gives other logistical details.  

At least then we would know that they are regularly informed about the state of those Trust Funds that are near and dear to us - Social Security and Medicare (HI). Instead of only bringing them up as a political election ploy.

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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AARP wants me t vote against the TRUST Act yet provides no information to support their opinion.  The Petitions they recently sent are bogus without adequate info.

Contributor

I just notified the moderator and now am asking the community:  any of you received the letters from AARP requesting that we sign the enclosed petitions and return with a donation to OPPOSE THE TRUST ACT 2021?  Doesn't make sense to me and I will not sign nor contribute.

Contributor

Received the same and I’m not sending back petitions or contributing until AARP explains why we should oppose the Trust Act

Honored Social Butterfly

@Routhierdt 

Good for you -

Personally, I SUPPORT S.1295 "The Trust Act" 2021.

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Honored Social Butterfly

The way SS Was set up guaranteed problems with trust funding as the working paid for the benefits of those on SS which means the fund is ok as long as the number working increases to cover the number getting benefits.  That is not always the case now so the funds at times will not support the needed payout. One answer is tax all on their full income including investment income.

Keep in mind SS is now in play again in politics so times have changed and we have one group trying to kill the program and one group trying to keep and improve the program which makes people choose a side. I am on the side to keep and improve the program, and so is AARP.

Newbie

SS was set up to keep the elderly from starving when too old/ill to work, not to provide an 'as usual' lifestyle after retirement.

Further, Congress added a people to the SS program without providing enough additional funding, and has routinely increased benefits, also without adding funding.    We've had 15+ years of warnings that SS was at risk, yet Congress has not provided either increases in the payroll taxes or an increase in the payroll tax ceiling - yet continues to increase SS payments every year to 'keep up with inflation'.  Basically, there are still large amounts of $$$ in the SS trust funds - invested in Gov. bonds. Congress has, thru deficit spending, borrowed against those funds, but do not wish to repay them.  They will instead attempt to let SS crash while still maintaining all the corporate tax cuts and corporate 'incentive' payments, because many in Congress get paid, through campaign donations, by Corporation CEOs to do so.  SS payments, especially at the top end, do need to be trimmed, and SS payroll taxes need to be increased, so our kids have some security for their futures, but big corporations also need to pay their fair share of taxes, so the Congress reduces deficit spending, instead of stealing workers SS savings. 

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Honored Social Butterfly

@john258 

I haven't hear of anybody wanting to kill the program and definitely none of those "proposed" legislations mention any such thing.  Here they are by year and legislator and there is an actuarial analysis of each to see what financial effect they have on the program either plus or minus.

SSA.gov - Office of the Chief Actuary's Estimates of Proposals to Change the Social Security Program

 

I have decided to support the "Time to Rescue United States Trusts Act of 2021 or the TRUST Act of 2021."  because speaking of SS, you cannot "keep and improve the program until it is saved from financial ruin. 

  • there have been numerous SS Commission appointed by various Administrations but that went pretty much nowhere because of the outcry by the masses - no matter which (political party) Administration.
  • we have hundreds of different proposals already submitted as proposed legislation (see link above) and we have the actuarial numbers for each action ( would only have to be updated). 
  • we need a manner of forcing action by our legislators - All S.1295 will do is establish a group of BIPARTISAN legislators and charge them with coming together with a plan to solve the financial woes of Trust Funds hopefully for long term.  Actually S.1295 covers all Trust Funds not just SS - trying to make them viable for the long term.
  • The TRUST Act is entirely procedural in nature. It doesn't advocate for any particular viewpoint, but rather focuses on how to set up a framework for arriving at a solution. 

Come 2033, if nothing is done, an automatic 20 - 25% reduction in everybody's benefits isn't keeping or improving the program.    I will repeat the conclusion to the SS Trustee Report for at least the last (10) years tells it like it is: (look them up by year: https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/tr/ 

Conclusion

Lawmakers have many policy options that would reduce or eliminate the long-term financing shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare. Lawmakers should address these financial challenges as soon as possible. Taking action sooner rather than later will permit consideration of a broader range of solutions and provide more time to phase in changes so that the public has adequate time to prepare.

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Honored Social Butterfly

Well there has been an ongoing effort for some years now. The far right Rep. have been behind the efforts which would be done in steps so people who follow SS in the news will not realize that is going on. One big effort was the effort to privatize it some years ago. The ongoing effort is to use the trust fund problems which are always corrected, and will always reaper again due to the way SS was set up. This time around if the far right is in control SS will start to end in 2033, and if they are not the trust fund will be fixed for another period of years, or if we have elected good leaders they might change the structure of the Trust fund so it will be sound for good. You get what you elect, and if we have a lot of people who understand the entire SS problem they can act by electing people to make a permanent fix which will be good for all. Time will tell.

if cuts are made to recipiants, then cuts should be made on paychecks

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Periodic Contributor

AARP seems to be OPPOSING this legislation.  I don't understand AARP's position, or the unfounded implication that the legislation would cut MC and/or SS. All agree that the SS and MC trust funds are both close to insolvent.  If the trust funds become insolvent and nothing is done then massive cuts to SS (25+%) WILL happen under present law. Something MUST be done to avoid this catastrophe, so why not form study committees now? This legislation does NOT change SS or MC but only requires Congress to form committees to study and develop possible BIPARTISAN solutions. The committees would be required to be BIPARTISAN and require votes from BOTH Parties to pass their recommendations.  The legislation has wide BIPARTISAN support, and AARP risks foolishly alienating legislators whose support they will likely need in the coming years.   

 

Ignore the misinformation. The actual bill is here:

 

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/117/s1295/text

Contributor

Mark,  I've read both the bill and the message that AARP is requesting it member to sign.   I do not disagreed with AARPs position that this analysis is too important to be conducted in private, by a small party of elected officials.   Truth be told that I have zero trust in either party at this time due to partizan politics infecting our governments ability to make honest choices at this time, the  government is now printing money and tossing it at all sorts of unnecessary things.     The democrats are seeking $5 trillion dollars, for example to be spent on "infrastructure", which BTW that is sole area within the government that is unaudited. 

 

The bill states that recommendations would be created in private and then forwarded onto congress to consider within 60 days.   That's this year to a one-sided Congress and a president that barely knows what day it is (and who has twice passed legislation to tax social security).   This needs to happen, but it also needs to be conducted in the public eye with a broad consideration of all programs that require trimming and proper funding (outside of printing money or borrowing away this countries future)

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Newbie

Why is there no article stating this or some other reason that we want to oppose the trust act?  Transparency works both ways. AARP needs to give us full disclosure on why we should oppose or support a position. 

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