They are lying to us. No, not about Chinese spy balloons/UFO’s. (Klaatu Barada Nikto. If you know, you know) Although they may be lying about that as well, that is not the focus of today’s rant. This will be my annual post about Social Security. During the State of the Union, there was a bit of a dust-up about cuts to social security. Apparently evil republicans want to eviscerate social security, leaving seniors to die on the street. No we don’t! Yes you do! No we don’t! Yes you do! Sigh. Same old tired argument.
Both sides get away with this ridiculous charade because most folks don’t understand how social security works/worked. Here’s the simplistic overview. You pay 12.4% of your annual wages into social security. 6.2% by you, 6.2% by your employer. Social security was intended to be a “pay as you go” system – collect just enough money each year to cover outlays. But those sneaky devils have been collecting more than they need from the very beginning.
Each year the government collects more in social security taxes than they need to cover payouts. That extra money is “loaned” back to the government (at varying interest rates). This is the Trust Fund (made up of both social security and disability insurance). Also known as the “Lock Box of IOU’s” that Al Gore famously referred to. The Trust Fund currently has roughly $2.9 trillion in assets. Somewhere between this year and about 5 years from now, depending on what figures you use, we will no longer be collecting a surplus in social security taxes. When that happens, we’ll have to start cashing in those notes we loaned to the government’s general fund.
All good, right? Well don’t be shocked, but those rascals in congress gobbled up that extra revenue and spent it as fast as they could go. We’ve been spending like drunken sailors on a three-day-leave for year, after year, after year… so now when the Trust Fund needs its money back – surprise, surprise, surprise! We don’t have it. So now, we’ll have borrow a second time to repay what we already borrowed.
It’s worse than a Madoff/SBF Ponzi scheme. Since we’re already spending (borrowing) about $1.3 trillion more than we take in each year, the odds of reducing federal spending enough to cover payments to social security are pretty slim. Fun times!
So let’s recap. Politicians happily collected $2.9 trillion of your dollars they didn’t need so they could spend it on whatever boondoggle they fancied. Then they kept spending billions and trillions more than they took in every year, adding up to current debt of $31.5 trillion.
Folks, to borrow the quote from the movie Full Metal Jacket – “It’s a huge shit sandwich, and we’re all going to have to take a bite”.
The point of all this to highlight what scum these politicians are. I don’t care what side of the argument they try to make. They can say “we’ll always keep our social security commitments (we’ll just borrow more). The other side might say “we’ll need to reduce benefits to keep the fund solvent”. Either way, they’re not being honest. They spent us into oblivion. They blew through the Trust Fund. They knew they were doing it and ignored the problem for years. Now you lowly peasants get to pay more (either in debt/inflation) or get less (in reduced benefits). Probably both.
The odds of my receiving much in the way of social security benefits is slim. This is despite my paying (by force) into the system my entire adult life. So, excuse me if I have nothing but vile things to say about our elected representatives. If any proposal these folks make don’t also include in the same sentence, massive cuts to discretionary spending…
Well, you can fill in the expletive yourself.