Despite what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the Republicans, and the misleading media reports from Fox News will have you believe, Social Security is not some social “charity” program, it is not going broke, and it absolutely should not be privatized. It is an insurance program that people pay into all of their working lives and that Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are out to get rid of.
Social Security remains solvent and will remain that way in the foreseeable future, according to several analyses. In The Social Security trustees report, it was disclosed that without any future adjustments, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits only until 2033 and about 75 percent of scheduled benefits after that.
“Social Security’s annual tax revenue has slipped below the benefits it pays each year,” said Robert Greenstein, president of Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington-based nonpartisan research and policy institute. “That was long expected to happen in the latter half of this decade, but the weak economy has taken a toll on Social Security, as on many other parts of the budget. Greenstein went on to say, “That imbalance, however, does not jeopardize Social Security benefits (and ought not to worry recipients), because Social Security can draw on its trust fund – which stands at nearly $2.7 trillion and will keep growing until 2020 – to enable it to continue paying full benefits for some years to come.”
It’s baffling how many millions of voters would support Romney and Ryan and their proposed plan that would mean draconian cuts of more than 40% for working people. Moreover, any American that would support privatizing Social Security and putting the retirement savings of seniors at the mercy of a highly volatile stock market managed by Wall Street fund managers- in light of what just happened on Wall Street- is stupid and reckless. Can you imagine the state of Social Security now if George Bush’s idea of private accounts had been implemented? Leaving the safety net of the elderly in the hands of some morally bankrupt fund managers to gamble with is not a good idea.
We don’t need to privatize Social Security. It has been working fine for over 70 years and won’t go broke unless politicians want it to. The Social Security program is one of the great success stories in our history. It has lifted tens of millions of retirees and their families out of poverty and provided disability insurance to those who needed it – and it still does. The amount of fraud in the system is minimal, and the administrative costs are less than one 20th as large as the costs of private-sector insurers. Moreover, Social Security benefits are more necessary now than ever given the financial meltdown and stock market crash has wiped out the savings of baby boomers and depleted many stock accounts and 401(k)s. The collapse of the housing bubble destroyed much of the equity in the homes of middle-class families across America.
Americans really need to ask themselves why Romney and Ryan are arguing in favor of privatization when the program still demonstrates a great deal of vitality. With modest adjustments Social Security could continue to provide security and stability for seniors for decades in the future. This nonsense about Social Security going broke is a talking point of those on the right who have enjoyed Social Security for years but now suddenly are trying to persuade the baby boomers and the young that it won’t be there for them? It’s true that government needs some modifications as well as behavioral changes to sustain the system long-term. A good start would be to stop dipping (and perhaps even make it illegal) into the Social Security Trust Fund to fund programs that the plan wasn’t meant to cover like involving ourselves militarily across the world, nation building, or building more battleships and submarines. How about eliminating addional tax cuts for the rich that they don’t need, tax loopholes for big corporations, and tax subsidies for big oil. Even lifting the cap on the payroll tax but exempting middle-class Americans if need be.
Currently the largest chunk of our national debt is owed to the Social Security Trust Fund and federal pension system, a little under $5 trillion. It’s interesting to note that Romney and Ryan’s tax cuts that would primarily benefit the very wealthy and corporations would cost over $5 trillion not accounting for the added interest costs over 10 years. You do the math.