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August 10, 2010

Is It A Social Security OR A Deficit Commission?

-- by Dave Johnson

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Ever since President Obama set up the Deficit Commission all the talk has been about Social Security? Why?

Social Security is separate from the rest of the US budget, is separately funded, has a huge trust fund and, most important: Social. Security. Does. Not. Contribute. To. The. Deficit. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said it best at Netroots Nation last month, calling it "apples and oranges,"

To change Social Security in order to balance the budget, they aren't the same thing in my view," the Democrat said today at the Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas. "When you talk about reducing the deficit and Social Security, you're talking about apples and oranges."

So is it a DEFICIT commission or is it a SOCIAL SECURITY commission? If it is a deficit commission, then stop all of this talk about cutting Social Security, please, and start talking about the deficit. Everyone knows the deficit was caused by tax cuts for the rich and the huge increases in military spending that occurred under Reagan and then again under Bush II. (Note - there is no more Soviet Union.)

If you want to fix the deficit then get the money from where the money went. If you decide that it IS a deficit commission, it isn't hard to know what to do. (Please, click through, it's not hard.)

But instead, every day now, there is another round of attacks on Social Security. For example, this just in: Social Security, the trust fund and funny money, in today's Washington Post, talks about the Social Security Trust Fund as "funny money." The Trust Fund is all T-Bills. I would worry that the Chinese, Japanese and other major T-Bill holders are very, very nervous about talk like this. The Social Security T-Bills are the same T-Bills as theirs.

And this just in: Opposing view on retirement income: Let's upend Social Security, in today's USA Today by Dick Armey, who was one of the corporate-funded astroturf organizers of the Tea Party "movement." Let's take a closer look at some of Armey's arguments. He writes,

The nation's largest entitlement program is officially in the red.

No it is not. Not if you count the huge trust fund and the interest it receives from that. It is not "in the red" officially or even when you just make things up.

In less than 20 years, just two workers will be forced to pay the benefits of every one retiree.

This is not how Social Security works, and has nothing to do with anything. It's one of those made-up arguments that is designed to bamboozle people.

President Obama's deficit commission is considering an increase in both the retirement age and payroll taxes to "fix" the compulsory Social Security system.

True. But why? Social. Security. Does. Not. Contribute. To. The. Deficit.

Americans should ask, if Social Security is such a great program, why is it mandatory?

Because otherwise too many people wouldn't put anything away and would have to live on welfare, which the rest of us pay, instead of a good program that people pay into themselves.

Workers should have the choice about whether they want to remain in the current system or invest in a personal saving retirement account, which would allow them to have complete control over their retirements funds and pass the remaining balance to family members.

Because then you would have to know in advance how long you will live, which no one can do, in order to know how much to pay yourself each month from your savings. And, the money from people who die is used to give more to the people who live. Anyway, everyone already has the option to save outside of the Social Security program.

Anyway, it goes on like that, with trick after smooth trick being used to try to bamboozle people. Slick Wall Street salespeople like Dick Armey, Pete Peterson, and the rest are after our savings, and are using every trick in the book to fool us.

Here is the root of the attacks on Social Security: Social Security is the primary symbol of government of, by and, mostly, for the people. This is because it is a government program that works, works well, is solid, and has helped a lot of people! People who don't like government really, really don't like Social Security -- because it works.

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Posted by Dave Johnson at August 10, 2010 5:12 PM


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