RTTNews - A top White House economic advisor said Tuesday that President Barack Obama plans to tackle reform of Social Security before he leaves office.
Larry Summers, the director of the White House National Economic Council, told the National Bureau of Retirement Research's annual conference in Washington, that any reforms would seek to strengthen Social Security's role as a solid base income for seniors.
Over the course of the president's term the administration will, I'm confident, address Social Security, he said.
Summers did not necessarily commit to reforming Social Security, which experts predict will go bankrupt by 2041, during Obama's first term, however.
But Summers said that increasing uncertainty in the world, caused by volatile financial markets and increasing household financial leverage and concerns about the future value of human capital, makes it imperative that seniors have a strong financial foundation for retirement.
It will address Social Security from the perspective that . that the protection of what's the bedrock of the system has to be an absolutely central value, he said. Reforming social security in a way that will assure people that there's something they can rely on, a base from which they can build their retirement security would, I'm confident be at the center of any approach that would be taken.
Summers also characterized Obama's efforts to stabilize the economy as contributing to the financial security of retirees around the country.
From the point of view of aged Americans, as from the point of view of other Americans, a single issue, stopping the decline, bringing about a reversal, establishing an element of normalcy was of central importance, he said. Without a halt . to the free fall, no other economic policy was going to succeed and no other economic goal . whether it was the reduction of poverty, whether it was the promotion of old-age security . no other objective had any chance of being [effective].
And on that front, Summers said, the economy is showing signs of recovery.
The free fall or vertical decline has been contained, he said. We are beginning to lay the foundation of future growth.
He added that Obama has always been very clear that the foundation of this recovery would include policies to shore up retirement savings and security, which had not been expanded in ways they might have been during the booms fueled by the internet and housing bubbles.
He was very clear that we could not pursue, in his judgment, the strategy of simply trying to restore employment and leave questions of economic structure for the future, he said. How could it not be right to take steps that would be desirable at any time but were essential as we were pursuing stimulus, just on the brink of the time of the baby boom generation was going to begin to turn 65.
He added, That is why the president has recognized the crucial relationship between retirement security issues and the long-run health of the federal budget.
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