06 April 2010

Social Security - The Conventional Wisdom is All Wrong!

Reporting from the Annual Convention of the Alliance for Retired Americans in Las Vegas, NV

Linking Social Security to deficit reduction is wrong.  We have a deficit, following Clinton's budget surplus, due to unregulated Wall Street greed and avarice which spawned an unprecedented recession, two wars fought on a credit card, and Bush's tax give-away to his wealthy cronies.  Social Security is not the problem!

Yet, somehow there has evolved some sort of collective conventional wisdom fed by lies from the radical and irrational right-wing which would have you to believe otherwise.

They say:  Social Security will soon go bankrupt.  No.  Even if Congress does nothing at all, Social Security is projected to deliver full guaranteed benefits until at least 2037.  And even after 2037, if no changes are made, the fund will continue to pay out at 75% of guarantee.

They say:  America can't afford Social Security.  No., What America can't afford is a return to a time when old age or disability guaranteed poverty!

They say:  The Social Security Trust Fund is filled with worthless IOUs. No.  Social Security's surplus is invested in American government bonds and have the full faith and credit of the United States.

They say: America needs to cut Social Security.  No.  Right now the average pay-out is only $1200 per month.  That's around $14,000 per year and in two-thirds of the cases the only thing standing between a recipient and poverty.

They say:  Social Security is a burden on our grandchildren.  No.  Right now, as a proportion of the Gross National Product, Social Security costs are only 5% and after some ups and downs of 1% or less, by 2050 will only be at 5.8%. 

They say:  The baby-boomers will have too few workers supporting too many recipients.  No, we figured how to handle other boomer "bulge" challenges.  We built their schools, and we built housing to meet their needs.  We will, as we have always, find a way to accommodate this challenge.

Social Security is in very good shape.  The questions one should be asking is why the lies, and who are the liars?  And, why aren't we improving and increasing benefits during these harsh economic time?

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