More Social Security Lies from the MSMposted by Ron Beasley at 12/13/2004 01:18:00 AM
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Today it's Social Security. In this San Jose Mercury News story, from the AP, Bush faces tough Social Security battle, Leigh Strope writes a "balanced" article about the battle Great Leader faces saving seniors from the coming "shortfall." From the story:Dave continues by telling us this is not a Social Security problem but a budget problem."The system is headed toward bankruptcy down the road," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "If we do not act soon, Social Security will not be there for our children and grandchildren."
Now we here in the blogosphere all know that this is a flat-out blatant lie. It is a strategic lie, repeated over and over until people think it's true. After enough repetition of this lie, everyone will say that "we all know" Social Security is going broke. Once enough people are tricked into thinking there is a problem that must be "solved," along come Republican candidates with "solutions" -- namely the current Bush plan to phase out Social Security.
Strope writes, "Creating investment accounts alone will not fix the future shortfall. Cuts in benefits are required, and investments are expected to make up the losses." WHAT "future shortfall?" The one we all know is coming. The problem with this article is that (as I'll show below) Strope has to know this is misleading at best, and furthers the Republican plan to phase out Social Security.
Just to be clear, every one of us needs to understand that there is no Social Security "shortfall" at all until 2042. And even that is calculated using an assumption of only 1.6% economic growth until then! Very little is required to fix this. (And if there IS only 1.6% growth, putting Social security into stocks would be a disaster!)
So, is Strope writing about the 2018 "shortfall" out of ignorance? In another, more informative Strope piece from Dec. 1, Questions, answers about Social Security, Strope writes:So the problem is Bush is spending money like a drunken sailor and giving tax cuts to his wealthy benefactors at the same time. This is another case of if you tell a lie often enough people will believe it and if people believe it it's not a lie anymore.Q: Why are changes needed to Social Security?
A: Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, with current benefits funded by the 12.4 percent in payroll taxes paid by workers and employers. The large baby boom generation will strain the system, which will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in 2018, according to the Social Security Board of Trustees. Without any changes, Social Security in 2042 will be able to cover only about 73 percent of benefits owed.
What's missing here is a clear explanation to the public that this is not in any way a problem with Social Security. The government has been borrowing from Social Security and using the money to give tax cuts to the rich. In 2018 the government stops getting extra money from Social Security and has to find a way to keep paying its bills. AND it has to start paying Social Security back. Social Security has enough "saved up" to last until at least 2042 with no changes at all. The 2018 problem is a problem with the government paying its bills to all creditors. Bush is trying to get out of paying this, and only this creditor back, because the money would have to come from the tax cuts that were given to the rich.
So, repeat after me:
Social Security isn't broken it's the Bush economic policy that's broken.