Class Warfare Blog

October 12, 2012

Martha Radditz’s One Mistake

In a near stellar performance in the very limited role of debate moderator at last night’s vice-presidential debate Martha Radditz made just one big mistake. It came in the form of this question:

“Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process . . . will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive?”

The mistake is that Social Security is not “going broke” and it doesn’t contribute in anyway to our budget woes as it is accounted completely separately from all other tax revenues and expenditures. Just for your information:

Social Security took in more than it spent last year, added $95 billion to its surplus and lifted 20 million Americans of all ages out of poverty. At the end of 2011 it had a $2.7 trillion surplus (that’s 2700 billion dollars for all y’all not in Mitt Romney’s class). The Social Security surplus is almost twice the $1.4 trillion collected in personal and corporate income taxes last year. And it is projected to go on growing until 2021, the year the youngest Baby Boomers turn 67 and qualify for full old-age benefits.

By the way, the GOP “truth machine” refers to this surplus as “IOUs” and “worthless paper.” Those IOUs and “worthless paper” are U.S. Treasury bonds. This is because the GOP voted to require the SS Administration to invest their excess funds in U.S. Treasuries. They think of them that way because they would just like to write those off and lower the national debt by $2.7 trillion, destroying millions of needy people in the process, of course, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

So why does everybody think that Social Security is going broke? This is a “meme” created by conservatives, especially Wall Street people and the conservative think tanks they help fund. Their fellow travelers at Fox News and their ilk repeat this over and over until it becomes “common knowledge.” The fact that it is false is irrelevant to them, though.

Now why would Wall Street folks want to privatize Social Security; they don’t need those retirement benefits? Could it be that if Social Security is privatized all of that money would flood into the stock market instead, making every security they own instantly much more valuable?

Gosh, could they be that venal?

1 Comment »

  1. You can sort SSA for the next century with just one sentence: Remove the cap on SSA payments.


    Comment by eideard — October 13, 2012 @ 7:59 am | Reply

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