They Are Coming For Your Social Security
February 28, 2018Share:
The following post is informed with facts and figures that appeared in a Letter to the Editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light by an Ellis County Democrat. He has kindly permitted us to ride on his coattails and get his info out to the world via our blog. The Editors
TL; DR - What is the deal with Social Security? Who is in it? How does it work? Is it going away?
WHO IS THE “BAD HOMBRE” THAT WANTS TO HARM YOU? Paul Ryan has thirsted for the end of Social Security his entire life, ever since he found his lifetime, teenage love (albeit unrequited) in Ayn Rand. The most recent – and possibly the most damaging - tactic he and the other Republicans have latched onto is “Entitlement Reform” because, you know, the deficit…
HOW WILL HE DO IT? We know the game. Produce big indebtedness and deficits and then tell the country that they MUST act. Ryan did it with malice aforethought by borrowing 1.5 trillion dollars (in our name). That is the crux of the scam. Give that to the rich, throw a temporary paycheck-withholding-reduction-bone to those that will have to pay that bill (the bottom 80% of taxpayers), and then take an ax to social programs. Any social spending is on the block. Any spending that benefits the average American is on the block. And most assuredly Social Security is on the block.
WHO BENEFITS FROM SOCIAL SECURITY? The short answer is you…
- 171 million workers are covered by Social Security.
- Over 62 million Americans will receive $995 billion in benefits in 2017.
- Retired workers account for 71% of benefits paid; Disabled worker and survivors comprise the remainder.
- Approximately 90% of workers are protected in the event of a long-term disability.
- Roughly 96% of those aged 20 to 49 have survivor’s insurance protection (that’s how Paul Ryan went to college).
- 61% of seniors rely on Social Security for half of their income.
- 43% of unmarried seniors are almost wholly reliant on Social Security.
- The average 65 year old will live about 20 years.
- 31% of workers report having no money set aside for retirement.
SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT IN CRISIS
Paul Ryan and the Republican caucus pretend that Social Security is a cause of indebtedness of our country. Quite the opposite. American workers are the lien-holders! Social Security funds collected from we employees and our employers are invested in Treasury bonds. These are considered the safest investments in the world, and in fact, the bonds that SS invest in have additional provisions, for instance our short term investments receive the same interest rate as the longer term bonds (i.e. a higher rate).
The Federal government uses the influx of capital from Social Security bond purchases to, in a deficit budget, reduce its borrowing from private sources. Currently Social Security runs a surplus – taking in more in payroll taxes than it pays out in benefits. Based upon the current payroll tax rate it is projected that the Social Security trust fund will continue to run annual surpluses until 2022. The interest income that the trust funds earn on their bonds, as well as the proceeds the trust funds will receive when their bonds are redeemed, will enable Social Security to keep paying full benefits until 2034 and then about 75% after that if no changes are made.
Similar to what Congress enacted in 1983 (signed into law by Reagan in 1984) there needs to be an adjustment made in the payroll tax to increase revenue for the future. The change in 1984 has provided annual surpluses since then and will for a total of 38 years. Currently, the simplest and fairest proposed fix is to remove the cap on Social Security-taxable earnings, currently set at about $128,000 per year. At that point, those high earners don’t see any more FICA deductions to their paychecks for the rest of the year. But for the rest of us, about 80% of American workers, we pay the tax on ALL our earnings. Why shouldn’t the top 20% be subject to the same level playing field?
AS USUAL, REPUBLICANS PLAY THE FEAR CARD Claims of a crisis in Social Security are simply scare-mongering by conservatives that HATE any successful government program. Their “self-reliant” philosophy suffers when social programs prove what an empty philosophy that is. Their claim that this is some unfunded government handout, an “entitlement”, is insulting to the more than 170 million Americans who contribute into the program with every paycheck.
Their dastardly plan is to force a crisis. They want to cut benefits to weaken workers’ trust in the system. They actually want to gut a program that has been a rousing success for over a third of our country’s existence. The first step appears to be a “renaming” of Social Security, with rule changes coming behind that. Their usual 3-card Monte approach to governance. Take from the, well, everybody in the bottom 80%, and give to the rich. DOOH NIBOR. Reverse ROBIN HOOD.
One of their goals for their manufactured crisis is to force a change in the law and permit the Social Security trust fund to invest on Wall Street, a 2.8 trillion dollar windfall for their donors. How’d you like to have had your old-age insurance go the way of the 14 trillion dollars of “evaporated” wealth in GWB’s stock market crash of 2008?
WHAT SHOULD WE DO? JUST ROLLOVER? We must stand against the Republican scare tactics. YOU must contact your Congressional Representative or Senator to voice your concerns; don’t rename or cut Social Security but strengthen it. This is too important to not get involved.
A phone call is the most effective way to get their attention. Find your representatives’ phone numbers here.
- Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy
- Brookings Institute
- Center for American Progress
- 12 Facts the Social Security Administration Wants You to Know
- US Social Security Press Office
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