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Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Which federal program took in more than it spent last year, added $95 billion to its surplus and lifted 20 million Americans of all ages out of poverty?

Why, Social Security, of course, which ended 2011 with a $2.7 trillion surplus.

That surplus is almost twice the $1.4 trillion collected in personal and corporate income taxes last year. And it is projected to go on growing until 2021, the year the youngest Baby Boomers turn 67 and qualify for full old-age benefits.

So why all the talk about Social Security “going broke?” That theme filled the news after release of the latest annual report of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds, as Social Security is formally called.

The reason is that the people who want to kill Social Security have for years worked hard to persuade the young that the Social Security taxes they pay to support today’s gray hairs will do nothing for them when their own hair turns gray.

That narrative has become the conventional wisdom because it is easily reduced to a headline or sound bite. The facts, which require more nuance and detail, show that, with a few fixes, Social Security can be safe for as long as we want.

Let’s look at how Social Security taxes have grown in the last half century — a little-known tale of tax burdens shifted off the rich and onto workers. From 1961 through 2011, the year covered in the last Social Security report, Social Security taxes exploded from 3.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product to 5.5 percent.

Income taxes went the other way. The personal income tax slipped from 7.8 percent of the economy to 7.3 percent, with most of the decline enjoyed by people in the top 1 percent of incomes. The big drop was in the corporate income tax, which fell from 4 percent of the economy to 1.2 percent. Notice that the corporate income tax fell by 2.8 percentage points, an amount almost entirely offset by a 2.4 percentage point increase in Social Security taxes.

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Copyright 2012 The National Memo
  • GPM23

    If all of this is so true, then why haven’t you and others brought to T.V. Radio and other periodicals or are you afraid of being challenged.

    • SaneJane

      The information is out there but those who try to take it mainstream get ridiculed and marginalized. If you are really interested google monetary sovereignty. A guy named Roger Mitchell has a very good website with dozens of articles about this. You should check it out. Just remember this: our debts are in dollars, payable in dollars and we control the dollars.

  • steveiii

    –The U.S. government is Monetarily Sovereign (MS), while the people, businesses and state and local governments are monetarily non-sovereign

    –Our MS government creates dollars by spending and destroys dollars by taxing. In contrast, you and I transfer dollars by spending, and never destroy dollars.

    –A MS government has the unlimited ability to pay any bills of any size at any time. Monetarily non-sovereign people and governments do not have this ability.

    –Reduced money growth has been associated with recessions.

    Social Security is one of the crown jewels of the American society, a great benefit to the individuals receiving benefits and to America as a whole .

    Contrary to popular belief, FICA does not pay for SS. The U.S., as a Monetarily Sovereign nation, which has the unlimited ability to create its sovereign dollars, neither needs nor uses dollars received from anyone.

    The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, has the unlimited ability to send instructions crediting SS beneficiaries’ checking accounts. Even if FICA were $0, and SS benefits were tripled, the federal government still would not run short of instructions to increase checking accounts and pay SS benefits.

    The federal government can pay any bill of any size at any time. It never can go bankrupt. Because the federal government can’t go bankrupt, none of its agencies can go bankrupt, and none ever has. No federal check ever has bounced.

  • jussmartenuf

    Why doesn’t anybody say the real reason industry leaders (Republican billionaires)want to kill social security? The biggest cost on almost any balance sheet is payroll. Killing social security contributions would drop an immediate 6% of payroll into the bottom line profit for the owners to split between themselves. This means the institutions and investors that hold billions in stock, virtually nothing for the small investor who owns 100 shares. All the lies about Soc Sec being bankrupt are just that, lies intended to further the goal of the Republican billionaires have been scheming to achieve for 70 years now. If they can kill medicare that is another 1.45% straight to the bottom line. When we are talking about trillions in total payroll it all adds up to more yachts, private jets and luxury for them.

    • jlelandthomas

      Just as I said earlier it needs to be shared among the ones that have paid it in in a more fair distribution system keeping the poverty in in mind to get them out of poverty first in old fashion American Webster dictionary language keep it simple stupid so every one is aware of what is really going on the Republicans want control and keep us down and them up.

    • phantomoftheopera

      and it also explains why, barring the ability to kill it, the republicans want to ‘priviitize’, which basically means allowing the rich to make more. some things–health care insurance is another–should not be the subject of profit. profit makes money the bottom line, not people

      • jussmartenuf

        Absolutely, The financial industry would rather they get a chance to skim from the cash flow. Dubya tried to push that through for his wall street cronies but the public would have none of it.
        All this is done while positioning themselves as our benefactors. Dubya does not know the difference as he AND his father were born into this scheme that his grandfather, United States Senator Prescott Bush, was in on while FDR was trying to install safe guards such as the Glass-Steagel Act and the Social Security Act.
        Anyone who thinks Bush is a good ol boy and not part of the elite is stupid. Even his mother Barbara’s maiden name was Pierce as she was also a descendent of a U.S. President, Franklin Pierce.
        It is urgent that this information reaches the rank and file who continue to stupidly throw in with the Republicans while voting against their own self interest.

    • You are so right. But, you left off one important reason. The Republicans want to get their hands on your personal savings (that which you would put back if you did not expect to get SS.) They could then drain away huge profits from your portfolio before you ever got a chance to retire. Most individuals cannot save enough to pay themselves the same amount that they would have received from SS. All the stories that you hear about putting back (in stocks) a $100 dollars per month during your working life and having a million dollars to retire on are just plain lies. The fact is, $100 invested every month for the “last” forty years would have grown by only about 3% on average.
      Whether it’s SS, MC (healthcare,) the Post Office, or anything “not for profit,” the wealthy hate it because they can’t make money on it. They hate the government for having control of money and not allowing them to get their greedy hands on it. That is why they are out to cripple the “government” in any way they can.

      • well stated Wade. That is exactly the point. The wealthy HATE anything that they can’t make a buck off of. That is the problem. They don’t want a middle class; they want a feudal society; where only the rich HAVE & everyone else SERVES their needs & are totally dependent on them for EVERYTHING!—
        They want a society FOR THE RICH–BY THE RICH –& OF THE RICH.

    • You are so right about the small investor. We get peanuts for trusting the overpaid assholes with our money so they scarf off their workers and and investors and take huge payoffs in salary and stock awards and options for themselves.

    • JLM

      Hey, dumbass, expenses go on the income statement not the balance sheet. A balance sheet is a listing of assets and liabilities and owner’s equity.

      So other than not having a clue as to what you are talking about, what else do you have wrong?

      Social security is bankrupt because all the money has been spent in the Nation’s general fund.

      You can’t even teach stupid like you have.

  • jlelandthomas

    I always wondered why the Republicans wanted to tap in our Social Security to bail them out but they need to share it with the one’s that paid it in so they can be lifted out of poverty row and be able to live the life they were supposed to get fair share by it if they paid it in all those years and quit giving it to illegal the migrant’s and frauds my mother worked over thirty years in a pepper plant in Zolfo Springs Florida and hardly draws enough to pay her morgauge if not fore two sons helping her she would not have a home

  • epubcar

    The solution is never going to take place as long as the bankers of greed and coporate mongreals of rape are in charge.
    The gallows, guillotine and various other tools of social cleansing need to be imposed on those “in charge”…et al.

  • zipcor

    I think the top should be removed from S.S,so that we pay into it EVERY dollar earned.Maybe also eliminate the IRS as we know it and put in place a buyers tax so the more you spend the more you pay.That always seemed more fair to me,us poor people would pay less because we buy less.Thinking out loud.

  • We need to have at least some tax on all earned income with a reduced rate for all. Also a more rigid discription of “work” so that people like Romney cant say their income was not from work. The payout for top earners should be frozen and only raised by the inflation index as the money to them is just pocket change anyway.

  • well social security isn’t available to me even now. I hadf throat/neck Cancer and couldn’t get help

  • The boomer period is from 1946 to 1964. The youngest boomers will be 67 in 2031 not 2021 as you state in your article.

  • jussmartenuf

    Good ol’ JLM. Touched a real sensitive nerve there huh? Accounting semantics aside, the truth remains that social security is not broke, didn’t you read the article? Also, the money in the trust fund was loaned, not spent. It is part of the budget deficit created by the stupidity of George W. Bush and his Republican supporters. Spending and loaning are different things, kind of semantical of you wasn’t it?
    As far as your vulgar insinuations go, so very very Republican of you. ;-).

  • William Deutschlander

    But, but the Republicans do not like Social Security, they prefer poverty and lack of medical care, “JUST LET THEM DIE”!