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Journal of No. 118

February 9th, 2005

The Great Social Security Swindle @ 07:46 pm

Current Mood: cheated
Current Music: Sex Pistols, duh
Tags: ,

From Bush's first State of the Union address, Feb 27, 2001:
"To make sure the retirement savings of America's seniors are not diverted to any other program, my budget protects all $2.6 trillion of the Social Security surplus for Social Security, and for Social Security alone."

How long does that promise last? Not very (PDF). According to the Congressional Budget Office in 2002: "Without the tax cuts, the budget would not invade the Social Security Trust Fund surplus. According to the OMB’s July estimates, the President’s $1.5 trillion tax cut of last year, plus the extra $541 billion of tax cuts proposed in July and related debt service, exceed $1.968 trillion. This is the amount of the Social Security Trust Fund that OMB acknowledges it will have to borrow and spend to run the government."

Now, in 2005, that surplus is entirely gone. Or rather, it isn't. Social Security is currently taking in more than it pays out, and is projected to do so until 2020. This surplus was intended to take care of the demographic shift towards doddering old Baby Boomers, but now all of the trust fund has already been spent, and the continuing annual surpluses are being immediately spent on non-Social Security items in the budget, rather than being stored in the now-empty trust.

Of course, one might blame these budget problems on the Republican-controlled Congress who actually pass the budget. On the other hand, W has exercized his veto power exactly zero times to eliminate wasteful spending.

I'm so comforted to hear that Bush has a plan to fix Social Security.

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?
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Date:February 10th, 2005 05:21 am (UTC)

Not just cheated, but dumbfounded as usual that the vast majority of America doesn't rise up and revolt. I'm serious, Mike! How can this be happening? I sometimes feel like I'm living in a house of alcoholics and I'm the one kicking them in the ribs as they're passed out in the hallway. Marx was right. If religion is the opiate of the masses, we've got a bunch of herione addicts running the country.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:February 10th, 2005 05:22 am (UTC)
Correction, not heroin addicts. Dope pushers.
Date:February 11th, 2005 02:33 am (UTC)
Have you heard his latest public mouthblurt? (below) He's way off the charts now...


WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: I don't really understand. How is it the new [Social Security] plan is going to fix that problem?
DUBYA: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

Journal of No. 118