What SS Crisis???

Discussion in 'Economy' started by Bonnie, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    What Social Security crisis?
    Mark Alexander


    February 23, 2005


    In 1935, wealthy liberal do-gooder Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the most notorious violator of Constitutional federalism in the 20th Century, found a clause in that venerable document authorizing the central government to provide retirement benefits for all Americans. Apparently, 100 years earlier, that clause did not exist. So claimed another Democrat, Tennessee's Davy Crockett, who rose on the floor of Congress and chastised his colleagues for their proposal to appropriate benefits for the widow of a distinguished naval officer.

    Crockett protested: "I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we...have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity."

    Crockett was echoing the words of our Constitution's author, James Madison, who said, most eloquently, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents...." Madison further noted, "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions."

    However, those words were long lost on FDR, who eviscerated federalism in his relentless endeavor to make the central government the agent of salvation for all ills. In June of 1934, he announced to Congress one lasting example of that endeavor -- his intent to create a nationalized Social Security program, ushering the United States into the ranks of Europe's welfare democracies. The nation was in the midst of the Great Depression, and FDR was funding his political dynasty by redistributing wealth. After all, as noted by George Bernard Shaw, "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul." FDR's plan, like all unbridled populist-entitlement programs, was popular with the democratic majority -- and helped ensure his re-election to office three times.

    Social Security's first beneficiary was Ernest Ackerman of Cleveland, Ohio, who retired one day after the Social Security Act was signed into law 14 August 1935. A nickel was withheld from Ackerman's final paycheck, but he received his one-time lump-sum Social Security payment ... 17 cents.

    That 12-cent return was the beginning of unforeseen things to come. Soon, congressional amendments added benefits for spouses, minor children and survivors, and by 1950 the program assured virtually universal coverage. 1972 saw the addition of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program (AKA "welfare"), and by 1975 the addition of annual Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) assured the SS juggernaut's exponential growth. In 1977, Medicare became an independent entitlement, spun off from the Social Security system. Today, despite its humble beginnings, the Social Security system confronts our young people with the grim prospect of paying for unfunded promises made to past generations.

    Notwithstanding the "welfare reform" acts of the 1990s, when Social Security turned 65, SSI benefits covered 6,688,489 Americans at a cost of $32,165,856,000, while Social Security itself disbursed some $431,949,000,000 to 45,877,506 beneficiaries. However, those staggering numbers are mere chump change compared to what lies ahead.

    President George W. Bush's modest proposal to reform Social Security appears to be a good start at diverting this behemoth from its collision course with insolvency. Predictably, though, the latest retort from the Left is, "What insolvency? What crisis?" Indeed, these do-nothing Demos claim the Fed's IOUs in Social Security's so-called "trust fund," combined with minor tweaks to the system, will keep it solvent for generations.

    Well, not exactly. Unless Democrats plan to "tweak" the system by increasing both the retirement age and the current 12.4% SS tax, adding more government debt and reducing benefits, Social Security will not have the revenues to refund current IOUs and meet the SS revenue shortfall. IOUs? For generations, every dime forcibly taken from worker paychecks -- ostensibly to finance the non-existent SS "trust fund" -- has been taken from that fund and applied to other massive entitlement programs.

    Social Security outlays now consume 4.28 percent of GDP but will exceed 6 percent in 20 years. There are two reasons for this growth: demographics and benefits increases.

    There are 48 million Social Security beneficiaries today, but in 2030 there will be 84 million. In 1950, there were 16 SS taxpayers for every recipient. Now there are only 3.3 taxpayers for every recipient, and that will be reduced 30 percent by 2030. Additionally, when SSI was formed, life-expectancy was 61 years, which is to say, most Americans did not make it to 65. Now, however, average life expectancy is 77.

    The second reason for the SSI balloon is that benefits have not been indexed to inflation. Future retirees are being guaranteed retirement increases that grow substantially faster than inflation.

    Social Security, as currently managed, will incur an estimated unfunded liability of 27 trillion 2003 dollars over the next 75 years. To offset this jaw-slackening shortfall, President Bush has proposed the incremental privatization of some SSI taxes by allowing individuals under age 55 to invest in personal retirement accounts (PRAs). Additionally, Congress must resolve to index benefits to inflation.

    The President's three-year PRA opt-in for SSI taxpayers born after 1950 would allow them to put up to four percent of their wages in their PRAs. At retirement, those invested in PRAs would be guaranteed to receive at least what their payout would be if they only had SSI income. But those beneficiaries whose PRAs have a higher return can share in that return, which reduces the burden on the SSI fund, and the principal balance is fully inheritable.

    The PRA plan would "cost" about $664 billion in "lost" SSI revenue over the next ten years. Of course, this lost SSI revenue is merely revenue that's been moved to PRAs, and thus isn't available to "borrow" from the SSI trust fund for other entitlement programs -- and that's why the Demos are hopping mad. Still, all Americans need to understand that the PRA plan does not fully address the revenue shortfall crisis looming on the horizon. That crisis can be resolved only when Congress commits to bringing SSI benefits in line with SSI revenues. (For a comprehensive review of Social Security and the Bush Administration's proposal, see http://FederalistPatriot.US/news/ssi.asp)

    Quote of the week...

    "Personal retirement accounts should be familiar to [members of Congress], because you already have something similar, called the Thrift Savings Plan, which lets [you] deposit a portion of [your] paychecks into any of five different broadly-based investment funds. It's time to extend the same security, and choice, and ownership to young Americans."
    --President George W. Bush

    On cross-examination...

    "Social Security is simply a tax. Like all taxes, the money collected is spent immediately as general revenues to fund the federal government. The Social Security trust fund does not exist, and Social Security 'surpluses' are nothing more than an accounting ledger showing that contributions exceeded benefits paid for a given calendar year -- not that the excess was put aside. ... Allowing people to opt out of Social Security would force the federal government to admit it has been stealing money from Social Security for decades. ... No matter what politicians promise, Social Security reform will not change the fact that your money is taken from your paycheck and sent to Washington, where it will be spent."
    --Rep. Ron Paul

    Open query...

    "My financial adviser Ric Edelman...thinks the time to start educating people about money is when they are children. He's set up a retirement plan called the RIC-E-Trust that can provide retirement security. A $5,000 one-time tax-deferred investment at birth, with an average interest rate of ten percent compounded, means that a child would have $2.4 million when he or she is 65 years old. Who needs Social Security with that kind of nest egg?"
    --Cal Thomas


    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/markalexander/ma20050223.shtml
     
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  2. Fmr jarhead
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    Fmr jarhead Senior Member

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    Wow...and no one has jumped you, yet? How dare you come to the SSA party with facts!

    Don't you know that emotions should be your primary motivations and substatiation for these kind of issues (and I assume you are a woman, as well!) I cannot believe this is coming from you!
     
  3. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    I should be scourged!! LOL
     
  4. Fmr jarhead
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    Fmr jarhead Senior Member

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    Don't you know your place?

    You should collect your husband's Social Security when he passes, and live off the $960 per month the government gives you, and you should be happy.

    Don't change the system, it is fine the way it is...just have all the politicians make their campaign promises to not touch any of the monies set aside for Social Security, and all will be fine.

    Now go watch Oprah, or something!
     
  5. ScreamingEagle
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    ScreamingEagle Gold Member

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    Cool - didn't know that about Davy Crockett.

    Daaavyyy, Daaaaaaavy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier! :2guns:
    :hail:

    ps: great article Bonnie, sorry can't rep you
     
  6. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Davey was the MAN!!!
     
  7. cptpwichita
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    cptpwichita Member

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    AND THE LIBS THINK THAT SOCIAL SECURITY IS GURANTEED AND THE STOCK MARKET IS GAMBLING! :thup:
     
  8. archangel
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  9. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    archangel
    Savage is quite a debater.
    That is interesting info on Davey, You would be referring to the battle at the Alamo? He did serve in congress for three terms though I believe, and, as magistrate which is how he first got involved in politics. Probably not presidential material but still quite brave to take on the large Mexican army along side his 188 co-patriots.

    But I should let you know Im not all that enamored with he, however I do admire strong willed people who made history with that pioneer spirit. I suppose that's the parallel one could draw from the article.

    On a side note what does archangel stand for as it represents you here?
     
  10. archangel
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    archangel Guest

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    Yes I was refering to the Alamo..and archangel was an old call sign I had while in the army...refers to "Battle angel" nothing special just came to mind while registering.... :cool:
     

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