Thursday, April 17, 2008

Not So Straight Talk On Social Security

In John McCain's speech about economics at Carnegie-Mellon University, we had the biannual Repub attack on government programs that work.

Senator McCain actually said this, and without visibly crossing his fingers:

It will be American workers and their children who are left with worthless promises and trillion-dollar debts. We cannot let that happen. And you have my pledge: as president I will work with every member of Congress — Republican, Democrat, and Independent — who shares my commitment to reforming and protecting Medicare and Social Security.....

You're confused, Senator McCain. It's the national debt (artificially reduced by stealing from the Social Security trust fund) which stands at $9,202,319,223,752.84 as of 4/17/08. That's nine trillion dollars and....

As for Social Security, President Bush claims "in the year 2018, for the first time ever, Social Security will pay out more in benefits than the government collects in payroll taxes."

However, reported MSNBC's chief economics correspondent in January, 2005:

In 14 of the past 47 years, including 1975 to 1983, Social Security paid out more in benefits than the government collected in payroll, with the gap reaching $10 billion in 1983. So the projected 'crossover' point in 2018 is a relatively meaningless milestone, say opponents of Bush’s privatization plans.... Further, the emphasis on 2018 by Bush and other officials relies on “either an implication or very often an explicit statement” that the Social Security trust funds have no real assets (said Bob Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).

Try telling that to the Social Security trustees, including Treasury Secretary John Snow, who offer a detailed list of government securities they hold, paying up to 9.25
percent interest and totaling more than $1.6 trillion.

So the "trillion-dollar debts," Senator, are not for the Social Security trust fund, but the national debt, thanks largely to George W. Bush and the ex-president of whom you continually proclaimed "I was a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution." And the worthless promises are yours- when you claim an interest in "protecting" Social Security, true to form for the mythical and ironically named "Straight Talk Express."

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