Mary Pitt: More Republican Double-Talk
More Republican Double-Talk
by Mary Pitt
Hurrah! Hurrah! The Republican geniuses in the House of Representatives have discovered a way to spend the same money twice! You know, the Social Security "surplus" which has ever since Eisenhower been diverted to the General Fund in order to mask the amounts of the current deficits? Well, these smart guys are going to use it to shore up the system by investing in "personal accounts" that can be inherited!
Of course, they don't tell us about the down side. If they take away this money that has been used for current government expenses in order to avoid raising taxes, won't they have to raise taxes to make up for the loss in the General Fund, or is the deficit so huge that the loss of $68 billion will not be noticed? Not at all! According to a fine analysis by the Washington Post, "Congress will borrow that money to fund other programs and then send $69 billion worth of Federal Treasury bonds to the Social Security Administration. These bonds would be cashed to finance benefits once the system slips into deficit".
Well, pardon me, but aren't those steps the same ones they are taking now? Will it not be as necessary to increase taxes to pay back the funds when needed as it will be now to pay back the amounts that have already been taken from the "surplus"? Where is the new money that is going to fund these "personal accounts" which, taken analytically, will amount to but a drop in the bucket by retirement time and will be reclaimed by a deduction on the amounts of traditional Social Security pension that can be drawn by the holders? This may be the "catch" to the entire plan. Rather than paying into the Social Security Trust, the workers will be borrowing the amounts of these Treasury bonds from the government to be paid back by old folks who will be in desperate need of the money which will be deducted from their monthly checks in order to pay for the "lump sum" pittance. The main difference between that and the current situation is that those who retire in the future will be the ones who pay back the "borrowed" money. Rather than retiring into a safe and secure old age, they will be reitring into a debt they didn't reaize that they were making!
Again, we are being manipulated by Bushian misunderstimation of our intelligence by a deliberate and devilish twisting of semantics which tries to convince us, first, that Social Security is on its death bed and, second, that it can be salvaged without the addition of any funds or its protection from the voracious fiscal appetites of Congress and a war-mongering President. Do not be deceived by this manipulation, for it is only another in a long succession of card tricks and shell games to which we will be exposed for the duration of the current power system in the country as they pursue their real objective, the total and irrevocable destruction of every social program of the last century and the loss of power by any but the chosen few. There are only two things which can stymie this plan. First, we must encourage the Democrats in Congress to hold the line and not to be taken in by the complaints of "obstructionism" and lack of vision, and secondly, we must do whatever it takes to change the power structure of Congress and the White House in the 2008 elections, and then to attempt to rebuild whatever we have left.
Perhaps in the Congress that exists after 2006, the Democrats can suggest a program of their own, the only one that makes fiscal sense, is the infusion of additiional funds by increasing the cap on the deductions for Social Security from all paychecks to an amount somewhat in excess of the current $90,000 per year. It would seem that tying this cap, on a floating basis, to the amounts paid to Congressmen or the President so that continuing adjustments would be automatic instead of subjecting the working people of the United States to these "death throes" every few years, would be an ideal solution which would reflect the economic condition of our society. In addition, perhaps they could erect a "stone wall" between the Social Security funds and the General Fund to stop the recurrent raids by a Congress that wants to spend the taxpayers' money without having the taxpayers know it.
This would be a giant step toward making our own government the kind of "honest and transparent" government which Mr. Bush is trying to force on the rest of the world.
Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who is
self-employed and active in the political arena. Her
concerns are her four-generation family and the continuance
of the United States as a democracy with a government "of
the people, by the people, and for the people". Comments and
criticism may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org