Myths About Social Security
Right Wing Blather Machine is continually drumming
up a lot of noise about how Social Security
It isn't. Really. It's just fine.
Their intent is to con you into dumping your
retirement funds into privately-owned investment
firms. You know, the same Wall Street bozos
who just helped themselves to billions
of your tax dollars. You may as well just walk
into a Las Vegas casino, hold out your retirement
boodle and say "Don't hurt me."
So to help separate noise from signal I offer the
first two of ten realistic assessments of the state and
fate of SS. I prefer not to rape the entire site from whence
so you may find the remaining eight myth-busters here.
Myth #1: Social Security is in crisis and facing bankruptcy.
Even if Congress were to leave Social Security untouched,
the program would be able to pay currently guaranteed benefits
in full until 2042, according to the program's trustees.
Thereafter, about 70 percent of promised benefits could
be financed. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office
is even more optimistic: it projects that, without changes,
Social Security will be able to meet its obligations in
full until 2053, after which about 80 percent of benefits
still could be paid for. Even under those worst-case scenarios,
decades from now the system would be far from "bankrupt," "flat-out
bust," or "broke," which imply that no resources
would be available to pay any benefits. At that time, workers
and their employers still will be contributing payroll
taxes to finance benefits for retirees.
So Social Security is facing a long-term financing problem,
but it is far from a "crisis" by any definition
of that word. And the problem is much less immediate and
threatening now than in the recent past, even though no
changes have been made to the program. In 1997, Social
Security's trustees had projected that the program's trust
funds would last only another thirty-two years and would
be depleted in 2029. Those forecasts have improved steadily-largely
because of stronger than expected economic growth-so that
the trust funds now are expected to remain sufficient for
thirty-seven more years.
Like a doctor who recommends "watchful waiting" while
a patient becomes healthier, Congress should think twice
before performing radical surgery on an enormously successful
program that appears to be getting better with age.
Myth #2: Social Security is unsustainable.
Over the course of the next seventy-five years, the gap
between promised Social Security benefits and resources
available to pay those benefits—the shortfall projected
to arise beginning in 2042—is predicted to be about
0.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), or $3.7 trillion,
according to Social Security's trustees. Without question,
that's nothing to sneeze at. But by way of perspective,
the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, if made permanent,
would cost nearly three times as much: $11.6 trillion,
or 2.0 percent of GDP, according to the Center on Budget
and Policy Priorities. Furthermore, the new prescription
drug benefit enacted last year will cost more than twice
as much as eliminating the Social Security shortfall.
So saying that Social Security isn't "sustainable" or "affordable" is
simply wrong. The program's entire seventy-five-year shortfall
could be paid for simply by rescinding just a third of
the planned tax cuts, which primarily benefit the highest
earners—people who would still be paying substantially
less to the government than they did in the prosperous
1990s. A myriad other trade-offs are possible as well.
But the long-term challenge confronting Social Security
is by no means insurmountable.
To Restore Sanity Comes Home!
I wanted, fervently, to attend the Rally
to Restore Sanity rally this coming 30th of October,
but three days, minimum, away from the office
wasn't in the cards for me.
So I was elated to hear that the rally has metastacized,
in a good way, and is now in almost every state
in the union. In addition, several foreign
sites are hosting their own rally, too.
The nearest rally to me is in Austin, Texas and
currently there are about 3500 RSVPs. (Rumors
that a Dallas rally is in the offing, too) But
the word is spreading and the numbers are growing.
Share this info with a friend or two, won't you?
To find the rally location nearest
go to rallymao.com.
This is good news to a lot of people but, seriously, if you can make the Washington,
D.C. event then please, by all means, go. Tell
'em Lefty sent ya.