Social Security Surplus
"The only time to use Social Security money is in times of war, times of recession, or times of severe emergency." --George Bush, five days prior to 9/11
A quote to hold in mind as you consider the Bush administration's use of the Social Security surplus. It was said as the economy was heading for the toilet, in a time when he was giving taxcuts to the richest Americans.
As he said to me in mid-September, "Lucky me. I hit the trifecta." --Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels relating what Mr Bush said to him post-9/11
Mr Bush and his administration are using the Social Security surplus to pad his budget. Social Security payroll taxes are being used to make the Bush taxcut for the rich economy look less bleak; 164 billion dollars are being taken to pay down the deficit this fiscal year alone. Without this financial shot-in-the-arm the deficit would be at around 639 billion dollars, reaching for the record deficit as percentage of GDP (6 percent) set under Mr Reagan in 1983. Remember, Mr Bush hit the trifecta...
People making over 87,900 dollars don't pay into Social Security. It seems that they should, especially in light of how Social Security funds are being used.
The average 2004 tax cut for the richest 1 percent--$59,292--is more than five times greater than the average retired worker's Social Security benefit.
The Trust Fund was intiated in 1983 to prepare the system for the projected retirement needs of the "baby boomer" generation who will cut the ratio of workers to retirees. The surplus payroll taxes taken in go to the Treasury Department which gives Social Security US treasury securities to cash in when needed in the future to keep the system afloat by slowly spending down the fund.
Where will the treasury get these spent trillions? Some people in government will have you believe these funds don't exist. Like Mr Bush's Social Security Commission.
When Social Security runs surpluses, it doesn't get any credit because it's just part of the government. But when it runs deficits, Social Security is on its own. This twisted logic in effect expropriates all of the extra money workers have paid into the system since 1983, when Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, among others, pushed through an increase in payroll taxes ? an increase whose purpose was to build up the trust fund that the commission, co-chaired by Mr. Moynihan, now says isn't real.
Now why would government officials talk out of both sides of their mouths?
Follow the money. For instance, two of John Kerry's biggest supporters, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley stand to
reap a huge windfall should Social Security be privatized. And each firm has given 4 times as much money to the Bush campaign. Citigroup has given Bush twice as much.
Allen Greenspan counsels that Social Security benefits should be cut to trim the deficit. But he is behind the Bush tax cuts.
While the retirement funds of people making under 87,900 dollars are paying taxcuts for the rich and you see the 160 million surplus fund the attack and occupation of Iraq know things are getting better. In 1982 there were only 12 billionaires listed in the Forbes 400- the last one had 587, up from 476 the year prior. Like the President says in his speeches, things are looking up.
If you are interested in Equatorial Guinea ( as I continue to be), rent-a-battalion mercenary groups and oil stop by Hobsons Choice. He then introduces us to Kathryn Cramer (James has pertinent links listed) who offers sources pulling together Dick Cheney, Halliburton, Brown and Root, mercenaries and covert US military support:
But oil is just one reason for West Africa's growing demand for guns for hire. The US, for instance, is now more engaged in West Africa. But with troops tied down in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, it's increasingly hiring private security firms to represent it.
In a recent speech, Theresa Whelan, a top official for Africa at the US Department of Defense, put it this way: "The use of contractors in Africa ... means that the US can be supportive in trying to ameliorate regional crises without necessarily having to put US troops on the ground, which is often times a very difficult political decision."
Your tax dollars at work.
The Squawkbox free comment box system put me in a funny place. After a year of using it, without warning, it became a pay system. Thing is, they had me by the, well, mmm, comments- to change the system is to lose a years worth of input from you, the community that supports my efforts with your continued presence.
I will not fold to these comment highjackers. I have refused their offer of the sites comments being freed up, after I pay for what was a free service that they had proffered a year ago- getting me "hooked" for free and then extorting a years worth of memories- and have gone with Haloscan; a free service that I see being used throughout the blogosphere (thanx skippy). Squawkbox stole Estimated Prophet's comments. Don't let the jerks take yours. The money involved is negligible. But doing business with a company that operates in what I see as an underhanded manner is unconscionable. A dollar is a vote in a capitalist society, whether a vote of confidence as in this case or a vote for some control on the national stage in the case of politicians taking gifts from lobbyists or campaign contributions.
Your comments have added a great deal to the blogging experience for me. Losing the last years was a difficult decision, a decision made easier when a fellow blogger pointed out that Squawkbox posts the commentors IP address, which being more computer savvy now than a year ago I realize has me looking like a thoughtless host.
Thanks for coming by and being part of Estimated Prophet.