A timely reminder from an administration official — White House budget director Jack Lew — that Social Security isn't a factor in the deficit, though it's become conflated with it in virtually every news and opinion piece you read. Comments on TPM on Lew's op-ed in USA Today:
"Social Security does not cause our deficits," he writes in a USA Today op-ed. "According to the most recent report of the independent Social Security Trustees, the trust fund is currently in surplus and growing. Even though Social Security began collecting less in taxes than it paid in benefits in 2010, the trust fund will continue to accrue interest and grow until 2025, and will have adequate resources to pay full benefits for the next 26 years."
This is a strangely rare acknowledgment from the administration — and really from any person of influence in government. But it's true. And it's the crux of the progressive argument against the consensus view in Washington that Social Security is in trouble and must be cut.
The long-term soundness of Social Security remains a subject for discussion and a number of fixes are worth talking about, but they need not be wrapped up in the other discussion.