Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Michael Laybourn: Keep your filthy hands off our money

In Aw, ya selfish greedy bastards ya, Social Security on January 11, 2011 at 6:45 am

From MICHAEL LAYBOURN
Hopland

I just listened to Ross Murray on KZYX  rake the polititians and media over the coals while explaining why Social Security has nothing to do with the national deficit. Very well done Ross, glad you are in there still getting enraged about the state of American politricks.

The “National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform”consists of 6 Republicans; 6 Democrats and 3 CEOs …. has been dubbed as the “Catfood Commission” because its goal appears to be cutting benefits so drastically that retirees will only be able to afford to eat pet food.

The “bipartisan” deficit reduction commission — appointed by President Obama and led by millionaires — just made their ideas public recently. With ideas are simply ridiculous.  They recommend to Congress cutting Social Security benefits and raising the retirement age. (Well, naturally, this commission of millionaires didn’t focus on raising taxes on the wealthy or even raising the cap to pay into SSA.) Or getting out of wars we can’t afford.

And …the mainstream media’s is picking the chant up with warnings: Deficit, deficit deficit . CNN, Washington Post, Time Newsweek, Atlantic, Reuters, LA Times, everyone. All of a sudden everyone is talking about the deficit: We need to fix it.

Something terrible will happen if we don’t reduce the deficit. They forget that something terrible is already happening: The same people are still in control of the taxpayer money. Wall Street. The co-chairs are former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles, who is on the board of Morgan Stanley, one of the bailed-out Wall Street firms. “This debt is like a cancer,” Bowles said in a semi-sober presentation. “It is truly going to destroy the country from within.” Both Right winger Alan Simpson,, and Bowles of the this deficit commission are saying Social Security is in trouble.

Simpson said the entirety of the nation’s current discretionary spending is consumed by the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs. Senator Simpson has spent decades prattling against the Social Security and Medicare benefits upon which most retirees depend and have paid into all of their working lives. Neither one of these fools has any right to push for cutting or eliminating Social Security and Medicare. And, they should not be selling their agenda on the taxpayers’ nickel. Why are they getting paid for this horse puckey?

In the massive campaign to educate us to the perils of the federal debt, we have been repeatedly warned that the debt is disastrously large; that when foreign lenders decide to pull the plug on it, the US will have to declare bankruptcy; and that all this is the fault of the citizenry for borrowing and spending too much, yadayadayada

But the math doesn’t add up, and their hostility isn’t really about dollars and cents. Instead, it’s about ideology and posturing. What’s really going on here? Right wingers hate Social Security for ideological reasons: its success. They are trapped in their own rhetoric.

Let’s get real. These people are economically stupid.

A “fiscal” commission that doesn’t grasp the very basic idea that the health care system is the major part of the cost problem, and not the individual consumers within it, isn’t qualified to make policy on the issue. Or note that corporate and individual tax breaks are a big part of the deficit. Or don’t consider the costs of useless wars. These bozos are trying to privatize Social Security. That is their game and the media and Americans are falling for it.

People who squeal about a deficit and then push for tax breaks for the rich are hypocritical liars. As Nyhan Prize winner and political reporter William Greider notes: Obama’s initiative rests on two falsehoods spread by Peterson’s propaganda—the notion that Social Security somehow contributes to the swollen federal deficits and that cutting benefits will address this problem. Obama and his advisers do not say this in so many words, but their rhetoric implies that Social Security is a big source of the deficit problem. Major media promote the same falsehoods. Here is what the media don’t tell you: Social Security has accumulated a massive surplus—$2.5 trillion now, rising to $4.3 trillion by 2023. This vast wealth was collected over many years from workers under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) to pay in advance for baby boom retirements. The money will cover all benefits until the 2040s—unless Congress double-crosses workers by changing the rules. This nest egg does not belong to the government; it belongs to the people who paid for it. FICA is not a tax but involuntary savings

Common sense economists like Greider understand that this deficit squeaking is a deceit: “In other words, targeting Social Security is a smokescreen designed to reassure foreign creditors and avoid confronting the true sources of US indebtedness. The politicians might instead address the cost of fighting two wars on borrowed money or the tax cuts for the rich and corporations or the deregulation that led to the recent financial catastrophe and destroyed vast wealth. But those and other sources of deficits involve very powerful interests. Instead of taking them on, the thinking in Washington goes, let’s whack the old folks while they’re not watching.

Most reporters, with few exceptions, assume the respectables are telling the truth about Social Security, when it is really propaganda. What elites are saying is deeply misleading, and they deliberately are distorting the story. But reporters think they are smart people and must know what they are talking about….

There are simple facts that should be reported: 1) Social Security never contributed a dime to the deficit; 2) Social Security softened the impact of the Reagan deficits by building up a surplus; 3) the federal government borrowed the money and spent it on other things; 4) the federal government has to pay this money back because it really belongs to the working people who paid their FICA deductions every pay day. The elites in both parties know the day is approaching when the federal government has to come up with the trillions it borrowed from the workers. That is the crisis the politicians don’t want to deal with, so they create a phony argument that slyly blames working people for their problem. That’s the propaganda they want the public to believe.

Bottom Line: Americans are getting conned. By the politicians, by the mainstream media, by the Cat Food Commission and by President Obama. There is nothing wrong with Social Security. Social Security hasn’t anything to do with the deficit and hasn’t contributed a nickel to the deficit. Social Security is your money and you paid for it.
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  1. Way to go Michael!

  2. Just yesterday I looked at my Social Security Account report and nowhere on that report says anything about any “gummit” money being put in my account.

    Quite the contrary. It showed my and my past employers deposits. I have been self employed most of his adult life so I have had the privilege of putting nearly 15% of my profits into a Social Security account (Yes, they are accounts, that should suggest something to us all). 2/3s of my SSI funding has come from my own pocket. When I did receive a paycheck form others, I paid 7.2% and they paid that amount in as well. That money they paid was paid for me, not for the president, not for congress and not for shyster private money managers.

    How long will the American public let the powers that be rob them. First it was their private pensions, now their public pensions and very soon our personal SSI savings accounts?

    You bet your ass its our money and I’ll fight like hell to keep it. So should you. Join AARP. LOL but true.

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