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Ten Myths About Social Security

social securityThe Right Wing Blather Machine is continually drumming up a lot of noise about how Social Security is in deep, deep trouble.

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 this information orignates so you may find the remaining eight myth-busters here. Enjoy.

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.


Rally To Restore Sanity Comes Home!

Rally your ass off!

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 you go to

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.


end rant

What's in Mike's Ipod?

"Somebody to Love" from Happy Feet soundtrack.
Sung by the scrumptious Britanny Murphy.

Today's amazing mystery comic is:


Raging Pencils is an autoerotic conceit of:

Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
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