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Not for nothing is Social Security called the “third rail” of contemporary American politics.  The political posturing, rhetorical spin, and—not to put too fine a point on it—blatant lying about the future of our system of old-age benefits, is unequaled in the history of chicanery. 

The Democrats are so afraid of admitting that their Ponzi scheme is lapsing into unsustainable bankruptcy, that they have reached a level of mendacity rivaling the old totalitarian states of Eastern Europe.  They are even running a video advert, depicting Republicans pushing “Grandma” over a cliff.

Louisville’s U.S. Representative, Jon Yarmuth (Dem., Ky. 3rd Dist.) leads the pack in the prevarication derby.  On his official web site, he asserts:  “One of the biggest challenges facing the country is the long-term solvency of Social Security…  According to the Congressional Budget Office, we have enough revenue to pay full Social Security benefits through 2052.”

Yarmuth is not alone, among Democrat truth-benders:

  • Feb. 16, 2011, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada:  “Social Security has contributed not a single penny to the deficit. So we can talk about entitlements as long as you eliminate Social Security. . . . Social Security is not part of the problem we have in America with the deficit.”
  • Feb. 20, 2011, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, on CNN’s "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley:  “Social Security, however, does not contribute one penny to the deficit and won’t until 2037.”
  • Feb. 22, 2011, President Barack Obama’s budget director, Jacob Lew, in opinion piece in USA Today claimed that Social Security "does not cause our deficits" and is "entirely self-financing"  (Even the liberal USA Today editors had to add:  "That would be nice if it were true. It’s not." The newspaper stated:  “Social Security is a cash-in/cash-out program. It went into the red last year, when payroll tax revenue came up about $37 billion short of the benefits paid to retirees.”
  • President Obama, however, has allowed himself some wiggle room.  In a recent press conference to defend his budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 (before it failed in the Senate last week on a 0-97 vote), said this when asked about cutting entitlement spending:  “Now, you talked about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The truth is Social Security is not the huge contributor to the deficit that the other two entitlements are.”

What’s the truth?  According to new projections from the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security will officially go bankrupt this year, paying out $45 billion more in benefits than it takes in.  Those are the cold, hard facts which have prompted congressional Republicans to begin offering various solutions to repair the broken Social Security system.  Meanwhile, the Democrats keep telling the American people:  “Move along, folks.  Nothing to see here.  Just move along…”

And now, the history lesson:

  • Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program.  He promised that participation in the Program would be completely voluntary.  It is no longer voluntary.
  • Roosevelt promised that the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the Program.  Now they have to pay 7.65% on the first $90,000.
  • Roosevelt promised that the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year.  The contributions are no longer tax deductible.
  • Roosevelt promised that the participants would put their money into the independent “Trust Fund” rather than into the general operating fund, and it therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program.  Under Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, the money was moved into the General Fund and spent.
  • Roosevelt promised that the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.  Under Bill Clinton, a Democrat, a law was passed, allowing up to 85% of your Social Security payments to be taxed (Vice-President Al Gore, a Democrat, cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate).
  • Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, supported and signed into law a measure that allowed immigrants who come to America to begin receiving Social Security payments at age 65; whether or not they ever paid a dime into the program.
  • Jimmy Carter, in 1977, got congress to pass a major FICA tax increase,in order to “save” Social Security. The rate would be hiked in phases from 2% to 6.15% (times two: employee and employer). He promised: "Now this legislation will guarantee that from 1980 to the year 2030, the Social Security funds will be sound."  But by 1983, the Social Security fund was technically bankrupt again, and congress passed a law that speeded up Carter's rate increases, added Congressional employees to Social Security, and delayed the age of eligibility.  

So, the next time one of your Democrat friends spouts off the talking point that Republicans are trying to destroy Social Security:  Give him a little history lesson.

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Thomas McAdam's picture

About Thomas McAdam

At various times I have been a student, a soldier, a college Political Science teacher, a political campaign treasurer, and legal adviser to Louisville's Police Department and Board of Aldermen. I now practice law and share my political opinions with anyone who will listen.

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