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Preserving U.S. Social Security a Matter of Priority

  • Published: 2011-07-29 : Author: Schwartzapfel Partners P.C.
  • Synopsis: U.S. Social Security program is in peril however Social Security can certainly be saved it is just a matter of priorities.

Main Document

It is no secret that the nation's Social Security program is in peril. However, many people do not understand that Social Security can certainly be saved; it is just a matter of priority.

Recent reports regarding the future of the Social Security program have been grim, including one recently released by the Social Security and Medicare Board of the Trustees projecting Social Security Trust Funds to fully exhaust in 2036. In response to these projections - received in this time of heightened financial awareness - many politicians have concluded that Social Security benefits are no longer affordable and the program will have to privatize or perish.

This mindset betrays past generations of Americans who didn't quit when things got tough, they rolled up their sleeves and found a way to get it done. In fact, the precarious status of the nation's Social Security funding has much more to do with fiscal irresponsibility in Washington than the government running a deficit by paying out more benefits than it collects from taxes.

In the most glaring reason for the uncertain status of the Social Security program's future, some 'political leaders' continue to push their partisan agendas; favoring the wealthy over the middle class by labeling Social Security as a contributing cause to the nation's deficit. This shallow-minded ideology does more than just distort the truth about the nation's largest welfare program; it also threatens to quickly kill off one of the strongest contributions that earlier generations provided to America.

Social Security at its Core

Social Security is an investment in the middle class of America. Those who work to represent the powerful and wealthy want to do away with Social Security benefits, so that the rich can get richer at the expense of the average American working class. It's really about changing the priorities of our nation: effectively eliminating the program America birthed in 1935 and subsequently built through some of the U.S.' finest eras.

These politicians are using the nation's budget deficit, recent recession, and aging baby-boomer population to scare people into thinking that Social Security is no longer a viable option for America. In truth, the survival of Social Security is about prioritizing what's more important: tax breaks for the rich or the preservation of Social Security for the middle class.

Fortunately, some legislators fully understand the vital role that Social Security plays in the wellbeing of America and continue to fight for its preservation. One such advocated, Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern, explains, "As Chairman of the Veterans and Seniors Committee of the Suffolk County Legislature, I understand the importance of providing fiscal responsibility during these challenging times. However, these decisions must be made responsibly and must not unduly harm the most vulnerable: our seniors, people with disabilities, and middle class workers who have paid Social Security taxes their entire working lives. The Social Security program is and must remain a viable source of support for our families, friends and neighbors. For our great nation, it is a solemn promise that must be honored for generations to come."

The Social Security Trust Fund

As the recent report indicates, the Social Security benefit funds will exhaust in 2036. However the Social Security Trust Fund never contains any money, it is little more than an accounting system that the U.S. Treasury maintains. In fact, in a year when the Treasury collects more in Social Security payroll taxes (through FICA) than it pays out in Social Security benefits, no actual amount is deposited into the Trust Fund.

Instead, the government issues an IOU for the surplus amount and uses it on discretionary expenditures such as military spending or funding the construction of new roadways. In years such as 2003, when the government collected $138 billion more in Social Security taxes than it paid out, the surplus money isn't safely preserved for future years and generations. A hypothetical government payout of the IOU would likely be measured against the nation's 'ability' to pay it back (the U.S. budget deficit is currently at $1.5 trillion). In other words, Social Security is sustainable, but government keeps using it as a 'piggy bank' and making a worthless IOU on the funds it takes from the Social Security Trust.

Get the Facts Out

The survival and preservation of Social Security will depend upon voters and their representatives. Share the truths about Social Security with your friends and families and demand that government representatives carry out your wishes and continue to support the strength of America, the middle class.

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