Action Alert #17 — No Social Security Crisis!

Social Security is not going broke. See the facts.
There has been a lot in the news recently about how our government is going to have to make big changes in Social Security to fix the deficit.  Social Security is not connected to the deficit and it is not going broke. The Social Security Trust Fund is invested in U.S. bonds in the amount of at least $2.3 Trillion dollars and unless the U.S. Government is ready to default on its U.S. bonds, the Trust Fund is NOT going broke.  If the public truly believes that Social Security is about to fail, there is very little chance that we can get support for repeal of the WEP and the GPO which, it is estimated, would add $8-10 billion, less than 2% to SS retirement benefits’ yearly pay out.
Please send this information out to your friends. Many people don’t know this! We need your help to dispel this myth.
  1. Excerpts from a letter sent by the California Alliance for Retired Americans and other groups that support older Americans:
    The current discussion is supposed to be about US deficits and debt. Social Security has nothing to do with the national deficit or debt. It is totally financed by employee and employer contributions and currently has a $2.5 Trillion surplus, which will grow to $4.3 Trillion in 2024. In 75 years, it has never been in debt, never taken money from the government, and never missed a payment. It can continue to make full payments for another 27 years and 75% payments after that, even if nothing were done. If high-earners paid the payroll taxes we pay, Social Security could pay full benefits indefinitely. Social Security is not in crisis, and has no place in a discussion of deficits or debt.
    Social Security’s $2.5 Trillion surplus is invested in the safest investment possible, US Treasury bonds, which the US is obligated to repay in full, just like US Treasury bonds that China and Japan hold. The government wasted the money Social Security lent it, on oil wars, tax cuts to the rich, and bank bailouts, and now business leaders and their politicians don’t want to pay Social Security back. But they have to. That’s the crisis.
  2. If you want to go to the source, here is the Social Security Administration’s lengthy and detailed report:
    This report shows that Old Age and Survivors’ Insurance income for last year was $698 billion and the outgo was $564 billion. In 2010 the outgo will be more than the income, however, there are about 2.3 trillion dollars in the trust fund as a backup.
  3. Here are some excerpts from an opinion piece by Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent/Vermont
    For the whole article go to:
    Hands off Social Security By: Sen. Bernie Sanders, September 1, 2010
    The White House deficit commission is reportedly considering deep benefit cuts for Social Security, including a steep rise in the retirement age. We cannot let that happen.
    The deficit and our $13 trillion national debt are serious problems that must be addressed. But we can — and must — address them without punishing America’s workers, senior citizens, the disabled, widows and orphans.
    First, let’s be clear: Despite all the right-wing rhetoric, Social Security is not going bankrupt. That’s a lie!
    The truth is that the Social Security Trust Fund has run surpluses for the last quarter century. Today’s $2.5 trillion cushion is projected to grow to $4 trillion in 2023. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, experts in this area, say Social Security will be able to pay every nickel owed to every eligible beneficiary until 2039.
    Got that? In case you don’t, let me repeat it. The people who have studied this issue most thoroughly and have no political bias report that Social Security will be able to pay out all benefits to every eligible beneficiary for the next 29 years.
    It is true that by 2039, if nothing is changed, Social Security will be able to pay out only about 80 percent of benefits. That is why it is important that Congress act soon to make sure Social Security is as strong in the future as it is today.
    While the critics profess concern about Social Security’s financial future, their fuzzy math ignores the fact that this highly successful program has not added a dime to our deficit. Social Security has more than paid for itself from the day when the first check landed in the Ludlow, Vt., mailbox of retired legal secretary Ida May Fuller on Jan. 31, 1940.
    There are some really dangerous ideas out there with regard to the future of Social Security — In the midst of all of the destructive rhetoric and ideas out there, there is one proposal that is simple, sensible and would keep Social Security strong and solvent in a fair and just way. Under the law today, the Social Security payroll tax is levied only on earnings up to $106,800 a year. That means millionaires and billionaires get off scot free on all of their income above that amount. In other words, an individual who earns $106,800 pays the same Social Security tax as a multimillionaire. That’s wrong. *******
    According to CBO (Congressional budget Office), applying the tax to all income would provide all the revenue that Social Security needs for the foreseeable future — for our kids and grandchildren and great grandchildren.] Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) serves on the Senate Budget Committee.
  4. Strengthen Social Security campaign, July 2010 meeting.
    Sixty national and state labor and other organizations, including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, National Organization of Women, NAACP, SEIU, and the Alliance for Retired Americans are working to preserve Social Security.  Hear the strong words of the NEA President, Dennis Roekel at their Washington, D.C. meeting: