Angry people have been sending me notes since yesterday afternoon about President Obama's "betrayal" of working people and elderly Americans, since reporters in our nation's capital began filing "Washington rules" (secret-source) reports that Obama is ready to cut Social Security and Medicare to make a budget deal with tax-averse Republicans.
Social Security and Medicare do need better funding, which either means higher taxes, or lower payments, for large numbers of Americans.
Groups like the Peter G. Peterson Foundation are pushing lower benefits, a message that's so far been supported mostly by rich people who don't want to pay more taxes. There are leaders of both parties in Congress want to raise the retirement age to 70.
More hopefully, Obama will adopt some of the many common-sense recommendations already on the table: if workers and employers acknowledge the Baby Boom retirement bulge by paying a little more, and payments are trimmed for people with other sources of income, benefits can be not only preserved, but increased, for the millions who rely on Social Security to stay in a home and eat. See, for example, the National Academy of Social Insurance's 2009 recommendations, here.