Reply
Regular Contributor

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?  

0
Kudos
9273
Views
0
Replies
14,608 Views
47
Report
Contributor

I assume the AARP would not have a middle ground position on this issue.  It seems that not all the facts I read in the actual act are being presented by AARP.

 

First... the congress is always accountable to the voters in each of their states. Be sure to write them if they are on this committee if it is ever enabled to be formed. The committee has no power to enact any laws but instead they merely suggest solutions. 

 

  The members of the Trust act committee will be  bi partizan members from both sides.  If you want an unbiased decision that would be best for the majority of people this is what you want. 

 

It takes a very brave representative to be on such a committee. If partizan reps were put on such a committee nothing would get done. If we set it up for failure by fighting one side against the other nothing will get done and we have a self fulfilling prophecy.

 

I hope people can look beyond just their own politics and meet in the middle. I do not want to see this tin can continue to just be kicked down the road.  I do not want to suggest they do NOT try to come up with a solution that would be best for the most people.  

 

 I would like to see a solution suggested and the changes made that would suite the majority of people.

 

The AARP is a watchdog entity for a specific subset of the whole. I would presume the AARP would not like SOME aspects of changes that would keep Social Security and Medicare solvent. There is no perfect solution for all sides.

 

I considered scratching out the parts of the mail in messages to my reps and sending them that. That would more closely represent my viewpoint.  I have no idea if my edited version of the message would be passed along.

 

I think I am better off to mail and email my own wording directly to each one. I usually get replies when I write each of them. I suspect the replies are an edited or canned reply on whatever topic I talk about. Few ever address my questions <Sigh>

2,979 Views
0
Report
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.   

  

0 Kudos
5,865 Views
12
Report
Newbie

You are wrong.  READ the act.  The act requires that a congressional committee come up with recommendations to present to congress within 180 days of when any of the specified trust funds appears to be insolvent.  this is a SOLUTION not an unaccountable process.  Congress would still have to decide whether to implement the recommendations.

0 Kudos
2,842 Views
3
Report
Honored Social Butterfly


@WayneH273262 wrote:

You are wrong.  READ the act.  The act requires that a congressional committee come up with recommendations to present to congress within 180 days of when any of the specified trust funds appears to be insolvent.  this is a SOLUTION not an unaccountable process.  Congress would still have to decide whether to implement the recommendations.


It is a SOLUTION to find the SOLUTION.  It forces them to do (3) things: 

1.  To review and evaluate the financial health of the Trust Fund that meets the criteria. 

2.  To come up with (a) (some) solutions 

3.  To bring forth these solutions and NOT give up until a solution to fix the Trust Fund has been found and passed.

 

How else are they ever gonna do the hard work to get it done - this forces them to act - ALL OF THEM.  

Look there are gonna be things that nobody likes in a SS Trust Fund Fix - raise the contributions, raise the cap, raise the early or the full retirement age, review the benefits, especially the secondary ones, means testing or no benefits at all for those who made a whole lot - 

There are hundreds of proposals made by the different parties but they aren't gonna get anywhere until we use something to make them ACT - it is a conflict of interest for them because they know that their job maybe on the line - so we have to MAKE them act.

 

Just like happened in 198X - the changes would be phased in so most won't even affect current beneficiaries.

BUT IF they don't take action, it won't matter cause come 203X, when the Trust Fund reaches a certain level and can't pay all benefits, we will all get a pay cut and that will be automatic cause it is built into the law.

Synopsis of the 2021 Legislation :  

Time to Rescue United States Trusts Act of 2021 or the TRUST Act of 2021

This bill establishes congressional rescue committees to develop recommendations and legislation to improve critical social contract programs.

A critical social contract program is a federal program

  • for which a federal trust fund is established (e.g., Social Security, Medicare, and federal highway programs),
  • with outlays of at least $20 billion during the year preceding the year in which this bill is enacted, and
  • for which the amount of dedicated federal funds and federal trust fund balances will be inadequate to meet the total amount of outlays of the program that would otherwise be made.

Each rescue committee may develop recommendations and legislation to improve the program for which it was established, including by (1) increasing the duration of positive balances of the federal trust fund established for the program, and (2) providing for the solvency of the federal trust fund established for the program during a 75-year period.

Congress must use specified expedited legislative procedures to consider legislation that is approved and submitted by the rescue committees.

 

S.1295 - Trust Act - 117th Congress - FULL TEXT

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
0 Kudos
2,819 Views
2
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

Nice long post but it will not work under what is happening today. You have 2 sides as always but now one side wants to totally change or kill the programs. When that happens the problem becomes unfix able until you have 2 sides that want  to keep the program and make it work. We  do not have that right now.

The Trust fund is working just as it was designed to. The working people pay the benefits for the people on benefits. That approach needs to be looked at and changed. It will require more money into the trust fund as benefits can not and must not be cut if the program is to work for the good of the total USA. There are many experts that can do that if allowed to. That means  you have to take the program out of politics and make it one of the building blocks of  living in America. Yes  the govt. can work for the American people over the long run, and has. We use what it has done every day. Every election day the people could do this by whom they put in office, but so far they have not. Fact is they have made the problem larger and harder to solve. We need less talk  by so called experts, and more talk and action by  real experts on the subject.

0 Kudos
2,729 Views
1
Report
Honored Social Butterfly

I hope all are following a plan being worked on in the house. It would replace the income tax with a 30% sales tax on everything. The money created would be used to fund the entire govt. including SS. This would be the first step in making SS, Medicare, etc directly responsible to day to day whims of the members of the govt. as  the money put into the system  would be directly controlled day to day by  Congress. Part of this bill would get rid of the IRS. 

This is where some members of congress want to take us. The use of long term financing using a trust fund could end under this type of  approach.  

 

We need to take and keep these type of programs out of the day to day political discourse. We need to use the experts to put forwarded solutions to problems as they develop, and we need the general public to set forth their desire that these programs are needed and wanted so all on  the political side stop trying to end them.

0 Kudos
2,703 Views
0
Report
Contributor

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

0 Kudos
4,902 Views
3
Report
Newbie

Don't be fooled by the lies.  the trust act is designed to save medicare and social security trusts, not let them slide into insolvency.

0 Kudos
2,841 Views
1
Report
Regular Contributor

Maye this legislation will be reintroduced in the 118th congress; but the point is there are several solutions to this problem brought up by both parties over the past 30 years.  The CBO has run the numbers for each solution; but the longer we wait to fix these things the bigger the problem grows.  The problem is that the ideologies of both parties are so different that neither party seems willing to compromise on a solution by combining their ideas.  Raise taxes, raise retirement age, include more individuals paying into the system who earn more than x dollars.  When you have less and less people paying into the system and more people aging into the retirement system, compromise is all you have left.  Sure, there are more radical ideas like to privatize social security or do nothing to make the cuts automatic. Finally, doesn't all this stuff already fall under the purview of The Ways and Means committee now?

0 Kudos
2,781 Views
0
Report
Contributor
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
5,821 Views
1
Report
Contributor

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.   

0 Kudos
5,813 Views
0
Report
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.

0 Kudos
5,850 Views
1
Report
Newbie

neither party wants to kill social security or medicare.  there may be a few out there but not a significant number of congresspeople.  whoever has told you that the republican party wants to kill either of these programs has lied to you.

0 Kudos
2,839 Views
0
Report
Contributor

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.

6,287 Views
0
Report
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.

 

0 Kudos
6,522 Views
8
Report
Newbie

your facts are correct but your conclusion is not.  it is still voted on and if it has serious enough issues, it should be voted down and the committee starts over.  the process is designed to force compromise between opposing views rather than the do nothing polarization that happens with most current federal legislation.

0 Kudos
2,834 Views
0
Report
Moderator
Moderator

Hello everyone,

Please remember to post according to the community guidelines, and refrain from insults and inflammatory comments.

Also keep to the subject and do not drift off into politically motivated back and forth.

YOU MUST RESPECT OTHER POSTERS EVEN IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THEM



Also, please be welcoming of new posters, even when you argue with their positions.

Thank you for your cooperation in making the AARP Community a safe and welcoming place for all.
http://community.aarp.org/t5/custom/page/page-id/Guidelines

0 Kudos
6,457 Views
4
Report
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. 

0 Kudos
6,436 Views
3
Report
Newbie

I believe you are incorrect on several points including key problems from when the "founders" established social security as unfunded.  First, the age to collect should have been adjusted each year to average life expectancy since when SS was established the retirement age was higher than life expectancy.  Second, republicans and democrats have made positive changes to SS over the years.  Don't forget that Republicans put in Medicare.  As far as requiring SS on all income, are you proposing that the excess amounts go into the computation of SS benefits like they do now or are you proposing that these people get no credit for these higher contributions.  the current formula for determining SS benefits provides a high rate of return for those paying in who make 30% of the lowest income, a moderate return for those who pay in between 30-60% of the ss wage base and a very low rate of return for those who pay in 60-100% of the ss wage base.  The higher income individuals have been heavily subsidizing the lower income people in SS for decades.

0 Kudos
2,813 Views
0
Report
Newbie

I have not read your entire thread on this item (let alone the overall AARP discussion thread!) but the reasoning in this 8/23/22 post seems to me the most valid so far. For that very reason, however, I do not have confidence in your conclusion. The fact that the current social and political climate makes a satisfactory out come, by way of either passing the necessary tax legislation forthwith, or going through the unpromising TRUST act process, equally unlikely, begs the question of what advocating the former over the latter would accomplish in and of itself. Yes, tax legislation to fully fund social security should be argued for and advocated, but the necessarily broad and forceful  arguments for reigning in market mechanisms for individual wealth, and subordinating them to collective social goals and planning can, at this point, only enter the political calculus by splitting off the "left" portion of the Democrats into a separate party. I'm afraid that leaves the "moderates" of the major parties to coalesce around a gradual erosion of the achievements of past social struggles in the near term in the interests of fostering a different political climate for the future. Speaking of climate, the same problematic dynamic is at work when it comes to environmental protection goals.

0 Kudos
3,765 Views
0
Report
Regular 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/

0 Kudos
6,418 Views
0
Report
Regular 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). 

 

 

6,494 Views
1
Report
Newbie

Well said.

0 Kudos
2,812 Views
0
Report
Contributor

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. 

7,231 Views
0
Report
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!

7,730 Views
3
Report
Contributor

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.”

6,773 Views
0
Report
Contributor

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. 

0 Kudos
6,808 Views
1
Report
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
0 Kudos
6,797 Views
0
Report
cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Users
Need to Know

NEW: AARP Games Tournament Tuesdays! Achieve a top score in Right Again! Trivia and you could win up to $300 in prizes! Learn More.

AARP Games Tournament Tuesdays

More From AARP