The Honorable Kent Conrad
United States Senate Budget Committee
624 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Conrad:

In your statement today on the Congressional Budget Office’s new long-term budget outlook, you emphasize your support for the “deficit reduction plan produced by the President’s Fiscal Commission.”

With all due respect, the plan that you are referring to was only a proposal put forth by the Fiscal Commission co-chairmen.  As you may recall as a member of the Commission, you and your fellow members did not even vote on a final report because there was not enough support for the co-chairs’ proposal to enable the Commission to report out.

Your statement also indicates your support for the inclusion of “entitlement changes” in the co-chairs’ proposal.  These changes include cuts to Social Security, which under the law can only spend money that came from its designated tax or the interest on the bonds held by the Social Security trust fund. It has no legal authority to spend one dime beyond this sum. In that sense, Social Security cannot contribute to the deficit.

As the discussion over deficit reduction continues, I hope you and your staff will have the opportunity to review the other legitimate plans, such as the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ People’s Budget. In addition, last week I published an analysis that you may find useful: “7 Things You Need to Know About the National Debt, Deficits, and the Dollar.”

If you would like any additional background on these issues, I would be happy to assist you.

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