The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Let the politicians keep their filthy hands off Social Security!

Feb 21, 2005

Bush is touring the country, whipping up fears that Social Security is in "crisis." At one stop, he declared: "I want you to think about a Social Security system that will be flat bust, bankrupt." The fateful day when this happens, according to Bush, is in 2042.

It's as big a lie as Bush's claims about weapons of mass destruction.

Social Security will NOT run out of money in 2042. Even the Bush administration's own projections show that. In 2042, Social Security would simply need a small subsidy from the regular government budget to keep paying everyone at the regular level – much smaller than the amount Bush says he will need to fund individual private accounts.

And why shouldn't the government subsidize Social Security for a few years? It has borrowed from Social Security for decades to cover the deficits it created by wars and tax cuts for the wealthy.

And those projections themselves are wrong. Just one example: They greatly understate the number of immigrants who will be brought into the country to fill in the workforce as more older workers retire – paying money into the Social Security system.

One administration after another has been predicting Social Security would run out of money for decades – and it still hasn't happened! That's because there was NO Social Security crisis. And there is NONE. In the past, there was only propaganda aimed at convincing us to let them increase Social Security taxes so they could use the surplus to cover part of the deficit the government ran up subsidizing corporate profits.

Today the talk about a "crisis" in Social Security is aimed at convincing us to let them gut the program – reducing our benefits so they can take our retirement to pay for still more handouts to the corporations.

This country already offers much less Social Security protection than other countries do. We retire much later. France, for example, lets people take a full retirement at age 60, not 66 or 67 as it is here now. We get a smaller portion of our wages back in Social Security than other countries do. And we get much less medical coverage than do retirees in any other industrial country.

The people who talk about a "crisis" want us to believe that this country, the richest in the world, cannot afford what other countries afford. They pretend that the wealthiest country in the world cannot provide a decent retirement for all the people who put in so many years working.

That is the biggest lie of all!

The real crisis coming in Social Security is the one the politicians are trying their damnedest to create. The Bush administration has already written a proposal that would make us work longer; that would cut benefits for future retirees by over 40%; and that would severely cut inflation protection for current retirees.

Every politician who today talks about a Social Security "crisis" is just laying the groundwork for these cuts.

But remember this: The politicians must be afraid of what the population might do if they cut Social Security. Otherwise they wouldn't have to carry out such a big campaign of lies.

It's possible for the population to make things too hot for the politicians. It's possible to back them off. That depends on us, not on them.