Social Security was put on the chopping block during the debt ceiling debacle — which seems to be ongoing much to everyone’s dismay. The drama perpetrated by Congress is only deflecting from what’s actually fact based and what is not. Social Security benefits are entirely self-financing, paid for with payroll taxes which are collected from workers and employers throughout their working lives.
Attacked by a chorus of Republicans that used the deficit as their motive, they insisted on major cuts, but it’s evident they would like to do away with the trust program altogether. Certainly Social Security has problems and changes are necessary, however, it is not a problem caused by the people paying into it. In fact, we borrow money from Social Security
The funds paid into Social Security are placed in a trust fund which basically gets looted by the government to pay other deficits.
In 2001 and 2003, Washington cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and later expanded Medicare without paying for it, then laid the blame on Social Security for our fiscal problems. This is akin to blaming you for not saving enough in your checking account because the bank screwed up and lost all depositors’ money.
USA Today reports:
When more taxes are collected than are needed to pay benefits, funds are converted to Treasury bonds — backed with the full faith and credit of the U.S. government — and are held in reserve for when revenue collected is not enough to pay the benefits due. We have just as much obligation to pay back those bonds with interest as we do to any other bondholders. The trust fund is the backbone of an important compact: that a lifetime of work will ensure dignity in retirement.
It’s questionable as to why Social Security was taken hostage in these negotiations at all — perhaps if we didn’t allow the money garnered by the people to be utilized at all, that would stop the madness — collecting revenue instead of shooting the program we borrow from would be a far greater idea, but right wing politicians are protecting the wealthy at all costs.
Rep. Keith Ellison weighed in on this issue recently:
Social Security actually is not contributing to the deficit. Social Security loans us money. So at the end of the day, all this discussion about how we’re going to cut Social Security is very distressing to me because Social Security isn’t the problem…This is inequitable and regressive…We’re asking the poorest Americans to sacrifice. When are the wealthiest Americans going to step up and do the patriotic thing, which is to contribute to deal with this budget deficit.
Think Progress reports:
The Social Security Trust Fund currently holds approximately $2.6 trillion and can pay full benefits through 2037 and close to full benefits for decades after. Very minor tweaks to the system would strengthen Social Security for future generations and bolster the program in important ways.
CBO released numbers affirming the Social Security trust fund’s solvency through 2038. Once more, why is a solvent program on the chopping block and tax cuts for the wealthiest which has been proven to be a miserable failure, protected? It’s a power grab in its cruelest form.
Dismantling Social Security would be shooting ourselves in the foot.