Saturday, March 12, 2005

Letter to Editor on Social Security "crisis"- follow the money to see who profits!

Astute Harvard Business School student George W. Bush, daydreaming about the day 30 years hence when he can explain his Social Security reform plan to select, hand picked, gullible audiences

"I want that dumb public money coming across my desk." Gleeful stock broker contemplating the future if President Bush's privatization proposal becomes law.

Dear Editor,

The average person might believe President Bush when he says that the status of the Social Security Trust Fund is a present day "crisis" because, based on current projections, by the year 2042, the fund will be "bankrupt." What President Bush doesn't say, because it would defeat his proposal- the specifics of which is still a secret he won't share- is that in his dictionary, if the Trust Fund can only pay you 99 percent of what it owes you, then the system is "bankrupt." Of course, the "crisis" could easily be fixed simply by removing the current $87,000 cap on income taxed for Social Security and by requiring the superwealthy living off their interest and capital gains to pay their fair share of taxes. Currently, a billionaire who doesn't work a minute a year and who annually earns $100 million in interest or capital gains will not pay a penny in Social Security taxes. (As a sidenote, if President Bush gets his way, they also won't pay a penny in Federal income taxes.) In stark contrast, a manual laborer who works 50- 60 hours a week and earns $40,000 a year, will pay over $6,000 a year into Social Security. Should the laborer die before his 65th birthday, he will never get back a dime of the tens of thousands of dollars he contributed to the system.

If you are wondering why the President thinks that Social Security is a "crisis" needing fixing because in 38 years it may not be able to pay back 100 cents on every dollar owed, but he has no plans to resolve either Medicaid or Medicare spending (Medicare's trust fund will really be broke in less than 15 years) or the current federal budget shortfall of over $400 billion every year, you only have to talk to investment bankers and CEO's who hold stock options from their publicly traded companies. Here's two quotes, courtesy of "The Cunning Realist" website (, from President Bush's financial backers who are the real motivating factor behind his push for Social Security "reform:"

"I want that dumb public money coming across my desk."

"This executive sees one shining beacon in the fog of increasingly strict accounting standards and a difficult business environment: The prospect of Social Security reform. He told me that he and many of this colleagues at other companies favor the creation of private accounts, because a new source of demand for his stock will help compensate for the increasing unattractiveness of his company from an investment perspective."

Now, if you still think the President has your best interests at heart when he says private accounts is the best solution to the "crisis," ask him where he plans on getting the money to make up the immediate shortfall in Social Security taxes if his privatization proposal (whatever it is) is put into effect. Answer: the government will have to borrow the hundreds of billions of dollars needed to pay its current obligations to Social Security recipients, increasing our dangerous budget deficit to even higher levels.


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