SOCIAL SECURITY AIN’T BROKE: JUST THE FACTS, PLEASE

Mar 21st, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare

Tell your friends.  Tell your family.  Tell your children and grandchildren, your neighbors, strangers on the street…  SOCIAL SECURITY AIN’T BROKE!  It doesn’t need fixing.  It doesn’t need to be changed.  It works.  Period.

Let’s talk about FACTS again…

  1. The Social Security Trust Fund cannot borrow money.  
  2. Because the Trust Fund cannot borrow money, it cannot and does not contribute to the deficit.  Social Security generated millions of dollars in surplus since 1935, and the federal government (our elected senators and representatives) have chosen to borrow from the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for all kinds of programs, including funding tax cuts for very wealthy Americans.  The borrowed money purchased treasury notes, and that’s how our congress-people got their hands on our retirement money.
  3. The current Trust Fund is not exhausted until 2037 if the economy stays in the same shape it is in today.  If it improves, the 2037 date gets pushed farther into the future. 

Our Social Security program is a great demonstration of government working and serving the public. Social Security kept millions of people out of poverty over the years, and helps many of us to live independently and happily on our own.  We senior citizens know this.  Why don’t our senators and representatives in Congress? 

Here are some possible reasons why:  

  1. If they cannot change Social Security and get their hands on our retirement fund, other spending priorities won’t get the money they need to function well.  Translated, this means Congress wants to use our retirement program to gird up other programs. 
  2. Social Security is an easy target; if our benefits are reduced, revenue increases.
  3. Senior citizens tend to raise their voices less; we’ve fought most of the battles we wanted to fight in our younger years; we tire more easily; it’s easier to avoid doing anything about political issues.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) was on a morning television show recently where the topic was Social Security.  He said, “We have stolen $2.6 trillion from it. We put paper money in there. The problem is, we spent the money – we didn’t just take it, we took it and spent it.  Social Security ran about a $53 billion deficit last year – it’s projected to run a continuous deficit.  There’s no question that there’s an IOU in there, but our country’s borrowing $4 billion a day. There’s no question, if we had the money, we could wait 10 or 15 or 20 years to fix Social Security.” (emphasis added)

Dear Friends, this amounts to Congress’s efforts to fix the economy problem on the backs of senior citizens and our retirement money, money that we saved for our twilight years, that Congress now wants to steal from us and use for other things. Why did they insist on maintaining the tax cuts for the wealthy at the end of last year?  And now they want to take our retirement money by reducing our benefits??     

Shame on them, every single one of them, who supports cutting us senior citizens off at the knees.



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