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There is no crisis

Just a quick note to follow up on yesterday’s article about the attacks on Social Security engineered by the Bush White House and the Republican Party:

If you’re looking for more information on the subject, a good place to start is a web site that goes by the name of There is No Crisis – an apt name in dealing with the Republicans’ misinformation on Social Security. The site is provided by a group of organizations that truly support Social Security and are organizing resistance to the Republican scheme to siphon Social Security fund money away to their campaign donors on Wall Street.

I’ll also take this opportunity to make a special note to young Americans (as I am one myself). The Republican Party is making an extra effort to play spin doctor with Americans under the age of 40, creating two lines of argument about Social Security, both of which are totally bogus.

1. The Republicans tell young Americans that Social Security is an old person’s issue, thus preventing young activists from getting involved on the issue.

Listen, folks – Social Security is important for ALL Americans, not just old people. First of all, everyone’s going to be old some day, unless they die first. Secondly, Social Security is not just for old people. Social Security also provides protection to people who get disabled, and to young families who have a working member become disabled or die. Take me, for example. I’m just setting up a young family, and as I have put in some good years of work (not coming from a third generation wealthy family like the Bushes), I can rest assured that if something happens to me, my wife will get some financial support to compensate for the sudden lack of my income. Social Security is for everybody.

2. The Republicans try to convince young Americans that there’s just no way that they’re ever going to get Social Security benefits, and so try to put young Americans against old Americans, hoping that the young Americans will get all uptight about having to pay into the Social Security fund.

The fact is that the mantra the Republicans encourage young Americans to repeat: “By the time I retire, Social Security is going to be completely gone, man” is completely bogus. Say you’re 25 years old today. You’ll retire in 40 years – that’s the year 2044. Guess what? By the estimates of the Congressional Budget Office, even if the economy remains completely stagnant, and no one in government does anything to improve the solvency of the Social Security fund, Social Security will still be there when you retire – unless we allow President Bush and his crew of Republican attack dogs to destroy it. Still worried about the future of Social Security? Well, then, we could always add more money to the Social Security fund to shore it up by repealing the special tax giveaways that President Bush made to people making over 300,000 dollars per year. With that money alone, Social Security could be strong forever.

Don’t buy the bunk from the Bush Administration. Take a look at the facts, and you’ll see that there is no crisis – just a whole lot of greed from Republican corporate spinmeisters looking to make an easy buck from your hard work.

26 thoughts on “There is no crisis”

  1. Kevin says:

    “You’ll retire in 40 years – that’s the year 2044. Guess what? By the estimates of the Congressional Budget Office, even if the economy remains completely stagnant, and no one in government does anything to improve the solvency of the Social Security fund, Social Security will still be there when you retire”

    True, but the Congressional Budget Office “that under current law Social Security outlays will first exceed revenues from payroll taxes and taxation from benefits in 2020 and that the program will exhaust the trust funds in 2052. After the trust funds are exhausted, Social Security spending cannot exceed simple revenues. As a consequence, because dedicated revenues are projected to equal 78% of scheduled outlays in 2053, CBO finds that the benefits paid will be 22% lower than the scheduled benefits.”
    http://cbo.gov/ftpdocs/60xx%5Cdoc6064/01-31-Long-Term_Projections.pdf

    In other words,

    And, according to factcheck.org, “… current law will force an actual cut in benefits eventually, under official projections. The Social Security trustees estimate that under current law, without a tax increase, all benefits would have to be cut 27% when the Social Security Trust Fund is exhausted in the year 2042, and would continue to be cut each year thereafter.”

    And don’t forget “workers who pay into Social Security are supporting not only “retirees” but also are supporting millions of disabled workers and surviving dependents. (Also) demographic trends make it certain that the current system cannot be maintained without increasing taxes or cutting the growth of future benefits. As recently as 1950 there were 16.5 workers paying Social Security taxes for every one person receiving Social Security benefits, according to statistical tables published annually as part of the Social Security trustees report . Currently, there are 3.3 workers paying in for every one beneficiary receiving benefits, and the situation will worsen dramatically when the post-World War II “baby boom” generation begins reaching age 62 — the age when many choose to begin receiving early retirement benefits — in about three years.” (from factcheck.org)

    To make up that lost income you have a few choices. One is to invest in something that will, hopefully, make you money.

    I want the right to do that with MY money. Plain and simple.

  2. Kevin says:

    “I’m just setting up a young family, and as I have put in some good years of work (not coming from a third generation wealthy family like the Bushes”

    So, if you WERE from a wealthy family, you would INSIST on starting from the ground up, refusing ANY help from your parents?

    Now as for the very tired argument that only the rich received tax cuts…

    The overwhelming majority of federal income taxes are paid by the very highest income earners. The top 1% of income earners pay about 32% of all income taxes. The top 5% pays 51.4%. The top 10% of high income earners, pay 63.5%. The top 20% of income earners pays 78% of all federal income taxes. According to Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, “It takes a household income of just $83,500 to be in the top 20 percent. A couple of people making a little over 40 grand apiece are not rich. Even to make the top 5 percent requires a household income of just slightly more than $150,000. Seventy-five grand apiece is a nice income, but you are not going to buy a yacht or a Rolls-Royce with that.”

    The following is an article that appears on several web pages. It is reported to have been originally printed in the Chicago Tribune. It is based on the Canadian tax system, but substitute a few numbers here and there and it could go for the U.S. as well…

    “Tax Cuts for the “Rich.”
    I was having lunch at PJ’s with one of my favourite clients last week and the conversation turned to the Campbell government’s recent round of tax cuts. “I’m opposed to those tax cuts,” the retired college instructor declared, “because they benefit the rich. The rich get much more money back than ordinary taxpayers like you and I and that’s not fair.”

    “But the rich pay more in the first place,” I argued, “so it stands to reason that they’d get more money back.” I could tell that my friend was unimpressed by this meager argument. Even college instructors are a prisoner of the myth that the “rich” somehow get a free ride in Canada. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Let’s put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day 10 men go to PJ’s for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If it was paid the way we pay our taxes, the first four men would pay nothing; the fifth would pay $1; the sixth would pay $3; the seventh $7; the eighth $12, the ninth $18. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

    The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement until the owner threw them a curve. Since you are all such good customers, he said, I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20. Now dinner for the ten costs only $80.

    The first four are unaffected. They still eat for free. Can you figure out how to divvy up the $20 savings among the remaining six so that everyone gets their fair share? The men realize that $20 divided by 6 is $3.33, but if they subtract that from everybody’s share, the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being paid to eat their meal. The restaurant owner suggested that it would be more fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

    And so the fifth man paid nothing; the sixth pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of $59. Outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

    “I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man pointing to the tenth. “and he got $7!”

    “Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. I only saved a dollar too. It’s unfair that he got seven times more than me!

    “That’s true,” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $7 back when I got only two. The wealthy get all the breaks.”

    “Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor.”

    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night he didn’t show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They were $52 short.”

    “The final and best means of strengthening demand among consumers and business is to reduce the burden on private income and the deterrence to private initiative… it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low —and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now.” – President Kennedy, Dec. 14, 1962.

  3. J. Matthew says:

    If you want the right to do with “your money” whatever you want to do, then first…

    … start your own country
    … build your own roads
    … erect your own schools
    … develop your own post office
    … support your own military

    … because the above, built using “other people’s money,” is how how you got “your money” in the first place.

    Besides, “your money” is used to pay the social security benefits of “other people” “now.” “Other people’s money” will support you in your “old age.” That’s the way the system works.

    I’ll start believing that George W. Bush is serious about fiscal security when he starts cutting his deficits. Until then, I’ll go with experience, which is that George W. Bush deceives to get his way, and I’ll continue to suspect that something else (Wall Street Money Managers’ greed for “administrative fees”) is driving his agenda.

  4. Kevin says:

    “If you want the right to do with “your money” whatever you want to do, then first…”

    If that’s the only point you can argue within my post, then I think that says alot about the article’s claims. Typical comeback. “Why don’t you go start your own damn country, then? Why don’t you get your own this-that-and-the-other?” Because I don’t want to. Because I don’t have to. Save that argument for the less educated, please. And besides, that sounds eeriely similar to the Conservative mantra of “If you don’t like it, you can go back to where you came from!” that Liberals so despise. Watch out, J.Mattew- don’t let any Conservatism slip out.

    I’m not advocating not paying taxes, J.Matthew; rather, I want to decide where and what the money I PAY as far as Social Security does and does not go toward.

    And as a teacher, I can’t receive Social Security benefits, even though I pay into them with my other jobs (tutoring, freelance writing).

    Social Security is dying. It is a dodo bird in the making. True, the extinction is slow in happening, but it is happening, and in it’s current form, it will eventually putter out.

  5. random42 says:

    What about the problems of a privatized system? Social Security uses 1% of its money for administration costs. How much will a privatized system use? Also, doesn’t Britain have the sort of system Bush wants us to have? From what I understand, their government has to pay out lots of extra money to keep their elderly from starving. I think they’re actually looking at our system to see how we do it so they can reform theirs. Please, though, correct me if I’m wrong. Surely, though, it makes more sense to reform our current system than to get a whole other one that doesn’t actually work.

  6. random42 says:

    Oh, by the way, Kevin, about your quote from Kennedy: I don’t think that applies nowadays. Back in his day, the rich were paying a lot more taxes than they do now. Let’s pretend that I’m a rich businesswoman making $100 a year (this is in Easy Percentages Land). Once upon a time, I paid $90 a year in taxes. Then I got a tax cut so that I only paid $80. Yay! I have double the disposable income! I will buy more machines and hire more workers! My business can double! Then my taxes decrease again, and I’m only paying $70. Still good. Not as good, but again with the hiring and the growing. Eventually, though, we get to the point where I’m paying $20. I get another tax break, and now I only pay $10 a year. Ten more dollars a year added to my normal $80? Eh. It’s nice, and now I can upgrade some of my machines, but it’s nothing like that first tax break at all. I’ll probably be able to increase production, but not really all that much, especially if I decide that what I really need is a pay raise for me and my best CEO buddies. So where is the US on that curve? I don’t see that the amount the rich are getting back after tax cuts even comes close to the same percentage of their yearly budget as it did back in Kennedy’s day. Reaganomics might work in some cases, but we haven’t had those cases in awhile, and it’s been doing some Very Bad Things to our economy lately (hello, humongous deficit!). I stole this argument from the nice folks here: http://dailykos.com/story/2005/2/1/162545/4328

  7. Kevin says:

    I’m not sure, at this time, how Great Britian’s system works. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

    By the way, where is “Easy Percentages Land?” Is that near Cleveland?

    Anyway, I think the quote by Kennedy is perinent today. The government receives more revenue through increased spending (sales tax, etc.) when tax rates are low than when tax rates are high (less disposable income.) I can’t say what you and your CEO buddies should do with your money; it’s your money, your business, and if you wanna give you and your bro’s a raise, that’s your decision. If you want to donate all that extra money to the poor, well, go for it.

    If you are suggesting that tax rate reductions are supposed to result in money “trickling” down to lower tax brackets, well, that is false. Thomas Sowell says, “Cuts in tax rates are intended to do what past tax cuts have done before — under both John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan — namely, cause an increase in real economic activity. In both cases, the government received more tax revenues as a result of rising economic activity than it had received when tax rates were higher.”

    I’m not an economist by any means; in fact, I find economics very boring. Thankfully, I only had to take 3 hours of it in college.

  8. J. Matthew Cook says:

    Kevin,

    To clarify, I’m not saying, “Well if you don’t like it, LEAVE!” C’mon, you know me. I wouldn’t say that.

    I’m saying, if you want to make an “I want it, it’s mine, mine, nobody else helped me, I’m an independent beastie” kind of argument, you’re making it in the wrong country, and if you want to work within a system in which it’s all yours, yours, yours, you’re going to have to make your own system from scratch. Otherwise, you’re earning what you’ve earned with others’ help, like it or not.

    We are all standing on the shoulders of others who have devoted considerable resources to the public good. I read your post as a failure to recognize that, and instead to think about “your money” as independently-gotten gains that entail no social responsibilities. I find that kind of thinking highly unrealistic, highly unfortunate and yet highly typical.

  9. Kevin says:

    J.Matthew:

    I concur there has to be some form of redistribution of money in any country that takes on the responsibility of caring for its citizens. I do not oppose helping those in need; in fact, were it not for Workman’s Compensation, my family would have lost our house back in ’87 when my dad injured his back on the job. He was never quite able to work again after that. We could have lost everything. For that service to be available to help us, I am thankful. We ALL have a social responsibilty- dare I say MORAL responsibility?- to help others; that can’t be argued. Like I said, I have absolutely no problem seeing that those who need, get.

    However, since Social Security is dying a slow death anyway, why not let people invest their money to make up the difference? Why not let people, who will retire by 2053, use their Social Security money to attempt to make up the 22% shortfall that the CBO is projected? A solution must be found; Social Security, in it’s current form, cannot survive. A crisis? I guess that depends on what one’s definition of a crisis is. I see it as more of a problem/concern that is better dealt with now than before it’s too late. Any solution we find will not help everyone, unfortunately.

    J.Matthew: Pardon me for jumping to conclusions with the Well-if-you don’t-like-it, LEAVE-type comment.

  10. Gareth Grimshaw says:

    Even under Kevin’s analysis, it wouldn’t be until 2052 that any real changes would have to be done, IF there is no economic growth in the country in all that 48 years!

    ALSO, Kevin’s not denying that the repeal of tax cuts for rich people making over 300,000 every year would pay for the fix of Social Security for ever and ever – as long as we could possibly anticipate.

    And, Kevin is not arguing that Bush’s privatization proposals wouldn’t create an almost immediate 2 trillion dollar crisis in Social Security.

    So, it seems that the weight of agreement here, both liberal and Republican, is that the so-called “crisis” isn’t really such a big deal, though it’s an issue to be dealt with, and that the Bush proposals actually look to make the financial picture much bleaker.

    Glad to see bipartisan agreement here.

  11. J. Matthew says:

    Kevin,

    Where’s the documentation that Social Security is dying a slow death?

    And even if it were, you could say that the transportation system is dying a quick death, because the budget that sustains it is already (NOT in 2042 or 2052) deep in hock.

    So should we get rid of the road system? I don’t think so, and I don’t think you do either.

  12. Peregrin Wood says:

    “Dying a slow death” has got to be one of the most useless phrases there is. Everything is dying a slow death. Julia Roberts’s brand new twin babies are dying a slow death.

    As a matter of fact, a 35 year-old healthy young American is dying a slow death, and would likely die at the same time that Social Security would just start to get a little nagging cough. So, come on, Kevin, that doesn’t mean that we ought to start treating the 35 year-olds or Social Security as if they’re on Death’s door.

  13. random42 says:

    Kevin, what I was suggesting was that, in fact, continually cutting taxes on the rich is _not_ going to increase economic growth by the same amount. I didn’t mention once how the revenue should trickle down to the lower classes, unless you mean my example about hiring more workers, but that was part of the productivity argument. Again, continually cutting taxes _will not_ spur similar increases in economic growth. It only worked for Kennedy because the rich had to pay such a large amount of taxes in the first place, so the money they got to keep was a significant percentage of the money they already had for that fiscal year. I’m not really sure how to make that easier to understand.

    Also, on the site that I linked, there are some charts showing how, thanks to Bush’s tax cuts, we’ve been getting less government revenue every year, even though the economy has been growing. Now, theoretically, you could make the argument that economic growth has been spurred by decreased taxes, however, a) I doubt this. It was growing faster under Clinton and b) it’s still been detrimental to government revenue, which is bad. The federal government doesn’t have enough money to pay for all of its programs, so they get foisted off on state governments, which in turn foist it off on local. My home city, Pittsburgh, is in serious trouble right now, partly because of all of this.

    Oh, by the way, I don’t want to invest my social security money. I am a financial idiot. I’ve got the checking account and monthly bill stuff down, and I muddled through the student loan process okay, but I do not know how to invest in the stock market. How easy is it going to be for me to screw up royally and spend my golden years eating cat food?

  14. Kevin says:

    “How easy is it going to be for me to screw up royally and spend my golden years eating cat food?”

    Investing isn’t for everyone; that’s why it should be an option. I invest in a several different things (the proper term escapes me at this time), and I have done fine so far. Before I decided to invest, I didn’t know a portfolio from my left arm. But, after careful research and advice from people who know what they are doing, I decided to go for it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Don’t get me wrong; I am a prude when it comes to risking money. I rarely gamble (I’ve played the Texas Lottery twice in 2 years, and I haven’t been to Lake Charles, LA to gamble in 6 years. Vegas? Went once, won’t cry if I never go back).

    So, if it’s something you would like to pursue, you’ll do your homework. That goes for anything you take on. Always know what you’re getting into before you get into it.

    There are no guarentees in investing; the best approach is a sensible approach: Do your homework, start small, get familiar with all the intricacies– and a little luck never hurts.

    Okay, enough of that. You mentinon the Clinton economy… my take on that is he was the benefactor of the dot-com boom. I know you remember the sudden (at least it seemed that way to me) explosion of dot-com this’s and dot-com that’s. It was as if everyone and their mother had a website that was making them a fortune. But, as with every new phoenomena, the guests began to wear out their welcomes. Slowly but surely, the ‘inferior’ products were weeded out, leaving millions broke. Let me say, at this time, that I don’t think Clinton’s only glory (as far as the economy) was the dot-com boom. The guy DID make some good financial and economical decisions; credit given where credit is due. That said, I think that he DEFINITELY benefitted from the rise in internet business. Hell, just about everybody did.

    Now, on to Peregrin:
    ““Dying a slow death” has got to be one of the most useless phrases there is.” I am sorry you feel that way, but I’m afraid that phrase is here to stay. Since we’re on the subject of useless phrases, I could do without the following:

    Kudos to you! You know? Don’t go there! Who’s your daddy/mama?

    Okay, Peregrin, for the sake of arguing, let’s say Social Security is starting to feel a bit fuzzy in the head and a tad scratchy in the throat. Do we let it ride out the cold, or do we give it some medicine- maybe even send it to a doctor, perhaps?

    J.Matthew: The fact that Social Security is down to 3.3 people for every 1 recipient, down from 17(?) to 1 tells me something is wrong. Call me crazy, but that’s not good for the long-term if a decline continues.

    As for roads, I didn’t know the road system was in bad shape. If that’s the case, it’s probably due to road construction in Houston. I swear, this city is a Weapon of Mass (Road) Construction. The road building/road repair never ends. Never. By the time a road project is completed, it’s already outdated and has to be updated; bu only after the utility companies have dug the thing up to repair underground pipes, wires, bomb shelters, massage parlors, etc.

    I’m waiting for the day when the Jetsons-style hover mobiles are introduced.

  15. random42 says:

    Okay, well, I want to keep my money in the old system. I like it. What’s going to happen to me?

    I know full well that Clinton had the benefit of the dot-com boom. I just don’t think that the economic growth that we have seen over the past few years is spurred by anything, especially not tax cuts that are shown to be detrimental. The economy has tended to grow, whether being helped along by the government or not.

    Generally, if my family is feeling a bit peckish, I don’t shoot them in the head.

  16. Kevin says:

    “Generally, if my family is feeling a bit peckish, I don’t shoot them in the head.”

    Ooops! Guess I have some explaining to do to some cops…

    I think what will happen to you is, from my understanding, the investment option is, well, an option, so, you can opt out of it if you choose. Or, rather, I can opt IN to investment. I think the default will be the ‘old’ system. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  17. random42 says:

    Then what the hell is the point? I was so afraid that you would say that, Kevin. If things are bad now, what’s going to happen when even less money is getting paid into the system?

  18. Peregrin Wood says:

    Kevin, random42 has got it right. The Bush solution is not a cure for the small financial shortfall in the Social Security fund.

    1. Bush is taking away benefits from the majority of working Americans almost immediately, not 40 or 50 years in the future.
    2. Bush’s investment scheme to re-route our money to his campaign donors on Wall Street creates a 2 trillion dollar shortfall very quickly – 2 trillion dollars lost to current recipients that would be absolutely secure if we just left things as they are.

    Bush has refused to explain how he would work his way out of this mess. He plain refuses to provide the details of how he would make that big 2 trillion dollar deficit in Social Security his plan creates go away. The man has had 4 years, with the help of a huge team of aides, to help him figure this out. We deserve the details now, not after Bush’s public relations campaign. If Bush doesn’t have a plan for avoiding immediate Social Security bankruptcy, he ought to tell us now, or put his Social Security scheme in the can.

  19. Kevin says:

    When even less money is being paid into the system? Wha??? What’s being paid into the system will STILL cause a 27% reduction in benefits to EVERYONE. Why not have a way to make up that difference?

    Peregrin: Both the Social Security Administration and the Congressional Budget Office project benefits cuts; SSA projects a cut of 27% in 2042, and the CBO projects a benefits cut of 22% in 2052. These are the two main sources for S.S. information, and BOTH predict budget cuts, albeit many years down the road.

    The point is this: When the two groups responsible for projections and what-not both predict shortfalls, does it not stand to reason to do something about it? Golly, if this were cancer we’d sure as heck do something about it right away, wouldn’t we? It makes no sense to “pass the buck” because it ain’t gonna get bad for at least four decades; that’s absurd.

    To be fair, here are some facts I uncovered at http://www.factcheck.org:

    * “Bankruptcy” is a scary term that Democrats have used too, when it suited them, but it could easily give the wrong idea. Nobody is predicting that Social Security will go out of business the way a bankrupt business does. It would continue to pay benefits — just not as many… either way, even a “bankrupt” system would continue to provide most of what’s promised currently.”

    * The administration projects it will borrow $754 billion (including interest) through 2015 to finance the initial phase-in of the accounts, and much more thereafter. The liberal (notice the political bent) Center on Budget and Policy Priorities — which opposes Bush’s proposal — projected that $4.5 trillion (with a “t”) would be required to finance the first 20 years of the accounts after they start to be phased in in 2009.

    *

  20. Kevin says:

    Ooops. Pressed ‘say it!’ too early.

    * Private accounts a ‘sure thing?’ History suggests that the President is correct — the stock market has averaged a 6.8 percent “real” rate of return (adjusted for inflation) over the past two centuries, according to Jeremy Siegel, professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. The administration says a conservative mix of stocks, corporate bonds and government bonds would return 4.6 percent, even after inflation and administrative costs. And the administration also figures that private accounts would need to generate only a 3 percent rate of return to beat what Social Security provides.

    But there’s no guarantee that history will repeat itself. Markets are inherently unpredictable and volatile. At present, for example, all major stock-market indexes are still well below where they were five years ago.

    * Benefits Offsets: The President made no mention of one crucial aspect of the proposed accounts — anyone choosing one would also have to give up an offsetting portion of their future guaranteed retirement benefits. If their investments in private accounts returned more than 3 percent annually over the years, they would end up better off than under the current formula. But if those investments did worse, they wouldn’t make up for the portion of benefits that were given up, and the owner of an account would end up worse off. The President didn’t explain that trade-off. (Understandable; that’s the nature of the beast when playing the stock market.)

    * The Money Is Yours? the owners of personal accounts wouldn’t be able to touch the money while they are working, not even to borrow. The money would remain in the hands of the federal government, which would administer the personal accounts for a fee which the official said would be about 30 cents per year for every $100 invested.

    And even at retirement, the government would control what becomes of the money. First, the government would automatically take back a portion of the money at retirment and convert it to a guaranteed stream of payments for life — an annuity. The amount taken back — called the “clawback,” descriptively enough — would depend on the amount of money the retiree requires to remain above the official poverty guideline. That’s currently $12,490 for a couple or $9,310 for a single person. Only after the combination of traditional Social Security benefits and the mandatory annuity payments from the private account equal the poverty level would any remaining portion in the account be “yours.”

    http://www.factcheck.org/article305.html

    After reading that, maybe I won’t toot the miracle of this proposal- and don’t forget that it is still just a PROPOSAL. But, it IS an idea, which is more than a lot of people have proposed lately.

    You decide.

  21. random42 says:

    I’m sorry if I wasn’t being clear with my question. What I was asking was, if there aren’t enough people paying into the system right now to cover the people getting the checks, what’s going to happen when a bunch of those people paying the taxes decide to do the private accounts thing?

    Look, I recently got a cold. I admit, I’m a bit of a whiner when I’m sick (who isn’t?). I got some advice on how to deal with my cold, but nothing really earthshaking. You know, sleep, drink orange juice, and eat chicken noodle soup. No one is suggesting that I jump naked into the Monongehela River or something like that. Why? Because it’s stupid. It won’t help, and it will do more harm in the long run. Maybe that’s why we haven’t been getting tons of suggestions about how to fix social security- someone already gave the logical one, which is being ignored. Someone even mentioned it on this post- if Bush repeals his tax cuts on those making over $300,000 a year, the system will be fine for the foreseeable future.

  22. Kevin says:

    Social Security must have cured itself and then became sick again…

    http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/07/27/clinton.social/

  23. Kevin says:

    To attempt to answer your question, random42: My understanding is that that Social Security is paying out what it is supposed to at this time. I could be wrong, and correct me if I am, but I think it is paying out as of right now. The problem is down the road, when the number of people paying into the system per recipient is lowered.

    Gesundheit, random42.

  24. Kevin says:

    I wasn’t trying to change your mind… just presenting a different perspective from a few years ago. Some on this site claimed that Social Security was not in trouble… it is. Like a said earlier, whether or not it’s a crisis depends on your definition of “crisis,” kind of like what “is” means depends on what your definition of “is”, well, IS. (Cheap shot at Clinton, I know) You’re right; the Social Security won’t cause the destruction of the economy.

    My big problem with Social Security, and one that I mentioned before and a concern that I wish the powers-that-be would address, is that, as a teacher, I can’t collect Social Security; even if I marry a woman who works in the private sector, and if she dies before me, I get nothing, and vice versa- she would not be able to collect my teacher retirement. But the Senators and Reps in Washington get to collect whatever-the-hell-they-want, while the rest of us get either or, plain and simple. That ticks the (slang term for doo doo) out of me.

    The investment plan, according to my BeerDrinkingBuddies on another website, works like this: You get to keep whatever you earn BEYOND what goes over the “break even” point, which is defined as what you would be putting in now. In other words, if you make a profit, you keep the profit, instead of just settling for a 0 balance.

    Greedy Republicans? Geez, ALL politicians, no matter what animal they represent, are greedy. I’ll believe their claim of “I’m doing it for the betterment of the country” argument when I can poot Polo cologne.

    How’s the cold?

  25. random42 says:

    Ugh, I’m sorry, but I’ve really come to hate the “all politicians are bad” argument, probably because every time I tried to explain how awful Bush is to my on-the-fence friend back in October, she said, “But all politicians are like that”. No. I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe that anymore. There is a difference between Nixon and JFK. And this administration has been so over the top in its greed, shortsightedness, and general villainy that there is just no comparison to your everyday person with political ambition. They’ve started a war that is completely illegal, they lie constantly and with no shame, they’ve gutted basic environmental legislation, and they’re now trying to destroy a social system that, while it has its flaws, has also done a ton of good. They’ve called people who disagree with them traitors, and they reward men who have made terrible mistake after terrible mistake with high civilian honors. I still doubt that even most politicians are high-minded and going after office for the good of the country, but I really don’t think that every politician is as awful as Bush and his cronies.

    Goodness, this cold is really making me rant. I scared a couple of coworkers yesterday by going off on the social security thing. Poor guys, they’re so used to thinking of me as sweet and quiet and innocent. It’s still here, but I’ve made myself a huge pot of chicken noodle soup to live off of for the next few days, thank you. I hope y’all are fairly healthy. There seems to be some nastiness going around right now.

  26. J Clifford says:

    Here’s a blast from the past: 12 years ago, Republicans said Social Security was in “crisis”, and that unless we converted Social Security into a Wall Street investment scheme, it would soon be dead.

    Funny thing – the Republicans never succeeded in passing their Social Security destruction plans, and Social Security hasn’t fallen apart yet.

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