Social Security head: Program fraying from neglect

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Associated Press

Posted on February 14, 2013 at 2:03 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 14 at 5:01 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Outgoing Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue has some parting shots for Congress, the White House and advocates for seniors. He says they have all "really walked away from Social Security," leaving the program "fraying because of inattention to its problems."

Instead of making the hard choices to fix Social Security's financial problems, Astrue says policymakers "use it as a tool of political rhetoric."

Astrue is finishing up a six-year term as commissioner. His last day was Wednesday.

As commissioner, he urged Congress to fix Social Security's problems but refrained from publicly weighing in on options to cut benefits or raise taxes — until now.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Astrue says benefit cuts and tax increases are inevitable, yet questions whether Congress is up to the task.

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