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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What’s behind the anti-Social Security vitriol? Gene Lyons writes in his new column, “The War On Social Security”:

Now and then, George W. Bush told the unvarnished truth — most often in jest. Consider the GOP presidential nominee’s Oct. 20, 2000, speech at a high-society, $800-a-plate fundraiser at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria. Resplendent in a black tailcoat, waistcoat and white bowtie, Bush greeted the swells with evident satisfaction.

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  • kurt.lorentzen

    There’s no question that Social Security is in trouble. The fund is now paying out more than it is taking in. So what’s Obama’s solution? Cut Social Security taxes. The point is not that the rich pay low taxes – they don’t. Could they pay more? Sure. Should they pay more? Maybe. But it won’t help all that much. Take note of the stats you continue to cite instead of just taking them in isolation. Those rich represent how much of the pooulation? 1% was it? I don’t believe 1% can possibly finance the deficit in social programs we’re now experiencing. Now those folks shouldn’t be getting Social Security, I’m with you there. But if SS is the de facto retirement fund for 99% of Americans, then we 99% shouldn’t quibble about having to invest 7.5% of our income to finance OUR retirements, should we? And we certainly shouldn’t be cutting by 1/2 the tax revenues that are funding the bulk of that red-ink fund should we? As you write these articles, have you done the math? Do you understand that 80% of our federal revenues go to social programs (mostly Social Security and Medicare)? Do you seriously believe that taxing the wealthy can make so much as a tournequet for that kind of bleeding? I’m all for severing the ties between money and politics and permitting the average joe the opportunity for success espoused in the Declaration of Independence. But you can neither have nor eat your cake if you’re going to give it away twice as fast as you can bake the next one. At some point, either reason will prevail or we’ll collapse into depression and anarchy. I’m in favor of the former.

  • alternativer

    Social Security was established to help people have an income after they reached a certain age and no longer were considered employable, or were not needed in the workforce.

    It was not considered or set up as a gift. It was set up as a tax based revenue system and continues to be one today. To suddenly tell people that have paid into it all of their lives that the funds are not there any longer is not only wrong, it is inhumane.

    You may think that taking away the tax loopholes and tax relief for the wealthiest 3% (and it is 3%, not 1%) of the United States is not going to help Social Security, but you are wrong.
    It is a major factor, and would not only be a tourniquet. It would help to begin to even the field of incomes and taxes across the country.

    Equal taxation is commonplace in many European countries and many of them have what we do not, socialized medicine and healthcare.

    There are European countries that have major financial problems, but most of these are all related to the banking industries and the outsourcing of production to countries that have lower wage scales. Sound familiar? And guess who is doing the outsourcing? The top 3% and the major corporations of those countries. Still sounds familiar.

    To keep the richest minority happy we give them more of what they like MONEY. And we take more from the poor and the middle class and call this a good thing. Now you want us to strip the last element of dignity away from the 97% of the American populace by removing their rightful cushion of Social Security and Medicare. What an inhumane thought and more grievous action if it happens.

    It is already nearly impossible for a retiree to survive on Social Security with dignity. The amount of money that they receive is pittance to what they earned when they were employed. If you rob them, and it would be theft, of what they paid into the system you would create a much bigger problem. Where would they be housed? Where would they find sustenance and healthy living conditions?

    I have been paying into a Social Security System for all of my working life and now you want to take some of it away from me? This is what you will encounter. And all you can say is that taxing the rich for their share of the burden is not an answer?

    If the richest people had been taxed equally all along this could have been averted, or at least it would have been a much smaller and containable problem than it is today.

    If you really wanted to do right by the elderly and the majority of Americans you would retroactively back tax the wealthiest people for all of those years that they got away without paying their share. Not place the burden upon those who are already suffering the most.

  • dawnowens

    I believe the Constitution states the government should ‘protect and defend’ the people of the United States.

    How about less ‘defense’ (actually offense, but why quibble, it’s only trillions we’re talking about) and a little more ‘protect’?

  • kurt.lorentzen

    Actually I got a couple of things wrong. Together Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid account for about 41% of the federal budget, not 80%. Defense is another 20%, and disaster relief about 14% (Source: It’s a bit more as these stats are current only through 2009. No one believes that people who were promised (and paid for) Social Security benefits should be denied those benefits, I certainly do not. I just bellieve it is the system of favors for money in politics that drives the 3%/97% disparity, not wealth itself. If you work your butt off and earn $500K once or twice in your lifetime, is the govermnent entitled to half or more of it? I’m all for increasing taxes on corporations who pay none and market profiteers who’s income is based on capital gains at a much lower rate. I’m also for totally eliminating the ceiling on Social Security contributions (it’s one of those regressive policies that keep taxes lower on the rich). I’m NOT in favor of de-funding an already insolvent program. At 41% of the budget (that’s over 1.5 TRILLION dollars), no other federal programs (except defense and disaster relief) come close to being the drain that SS/MC represent. I agree that our military should focus more on defense of the US, but I also understand what is meant by “strategic interests” and “national security interests” – mostly code for energy availability. Like I’ve said in many past posts, we need both cuts and tax increases. We need to foster business and manufacturing in America. We need to stop catering to foreign interests so they will keep loaning us more money. We need a balanced budget amendment that includes debt repayment.