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Social Security Has No Place In Budget Discussions


#1

Social Security Has No Place In Budget Discussions

Nancy Altman

As Congress and the Trump Administration begin releasing their proposed budgets for FY18, Americans will be eager to know how their elected representatives fund important programs that they deserve and have paid for with their tax dollars. They will also want to know whether their elected representatives use the budget as an excuse to go after Social Security. Social Security has no place in the general budget of the United States.


#2

Destroying Social Security and medicare has been at the top of Paul Ryan's agenda ever since he showed up in DC in 1999.

Now that he is in a powerful position he will never deviate from that mission as long as he is in DC.


#3

If this administration wants to do away with 'my' Social Security or 'my' Medicare they might as well send the Death Squads out to get me.

Cause I'll be coming for them.

In the old West, if you stole a man's horse, he was entitled to kill you.

The Grey Hairs will rain down 'Hell' on any politician stupid enough to steal what those who worked decades for.

Ryan will be the first to pay for his sins.


#5

Brava, Nancy! I get tired of writing Letters to the Editors reminding people that Social Security is not part of the federal budget. The only time that the name appears legitimately in the budget is when it shows a repayment of money "borrowed" from the trust fund by the government. And if that money had not been taken from Social Security coffers, the fund may now be much stronger. When you borrow from any kind of "set aside" fund, even if you repay it with interest, you have weakened that fund's ability to invest for greater gain. What every American who is invested in the Social Security fund needs to do is remind his/her legislators to keep their greedy hands off!


#6

Wasn't it under W that they managed to "borrow" from the Trust Fund and then throw stones about insolvency?

See @locoadele just above.


#7

Would you please explain what you mean by "reformed"? -- Reformed in what manner? -- Thanks.


#8

Thank you for making this essential point, which I've been arguing in the conversation that misuses the label "entitlement," which properly applies only to SS and Medicare.

While we're at it, we need to make it easier to get your benefits, particularly for disability. I've just gone through the 2-refusals-then-admin-law-judge-says-yes standard mill, although I had a specialist attorney representing me all along. It's taken 3+ years to get a ruling that I've been unable to work for 5 years. Along the way I've encountered neglect, downright rude inappropriateness (an Obama employee with a photo of W beaming from his cubicle tested my worthiness by making a dismissive joke about his boss), basic ignorance, documents disappearing into the "back room somewhere," and now the systems are all confused. My hearing (in a building with no on- or off-street parking) was 1/17. The ruling was issued in early March. On 3/30 I was sent official notice that SSA got the ruling. Though I've been drawing early (diminished) retirement benefits for a year and a half, on the 2nd Weds. of April I got no check at all (DC help line said call local office and say "dire need"; local office said "dire need" required appearing in person, though without an appointment — my disability is about mobility and fatigue; finally they produced). Still no sign of the back benefits. I was fortunate to have a husband who kept working into his own retirement and kept me insured. Just what happens to those suffering disability who have no safety net but this?


#9

Here's something for you to consider, which I posted the other day in response to the Sanders article, It's Time for a National $15 Minimum Wage:: The government has been slowly doing away with your Social Security for decades now, by cheating you on your cost of living adjustment.

Thinker25
The minimum wage needs to be reattached to inflation,

That's not going to solve the problem caused by government thievery, as explained below.

The federal government no longer treats Inflation as a measure of the cost of living needed to maintain a constant standard of living. The Fed's method of calculating inflation has been changed to produce a much lower number than would have been calculated by the method used in 1990 or the method used in 1980.. In this manner, the government was able to reduce the annual costs of living increases in Social Security. To my mind, this is grand theft,perpetrated by the Congress and the Executive against Social Security recipients.

This is all clearly explained at the links below, by John Williams, on his Shadow Government Statistics website.

Alternate Inflation Charts -- 2017 -- John Williams -- ShadowStats
On this page, Williams presents graphs comparing the Fed's current method of calculating inflation with the method used in 1990 and the method used in 1980. These graphs clearly indicate that, using the 1990 method, inflation is currently running at 6 percent; whereas, using the 1980 method, inflation is currently running at over 10 percent.

In other words, if our lovely government was still calculating inflation as it did in 1990 or, better yet, 1980, Social Security recipients would be receiving a much larger cost of living increase every year; and, other items tied to inflation would also be increasing or decreasing (GDP, for example) more than they currently are.

PUBLIC COMMENTARY ON UNEMPLOYMENT MEASUREMENT -- June 8, 2016 -- John Williams -- ShadowStats
This document generally outlines how the federal government is depressing its reported measure of inflation; and, how it would like to further depress the measure via Chained CPI.

It amazes me that retirees have never called the government to task over this obvious theft..


#10

The Social Security trust fund, around which the logic of this article is built, is nothing more than a fiction created to mask the true nature of Social Security from the public. This so-called trust fund consists of special treasury bonds. A bond is essentially a loan that is payable with interest when it matures. To the buyer it is an asset (+), to the issuer it is a debit (-). If some other entity than the U.S. government purchased them then they would be an asset payable with future taxes and borrowing. For the treasury bonds in the Social Security trust fund the government is both the buyer and the issuer at the same time. These two things cancel each other out. These special bonds are as worthless as an IOU to yourself.
There is no Social Security trust fund in any real sense. Both parties have been lying about this since Social Security was started in the 1930s. All Social Security payments are transfers from current taxpayers to those persons eligible to receive them. These are not pension funds and citizens do not have a legal right to them as they would a pension fund.
“the government’s brief for the Supreme Court case Flemming v. Nestor (1960) argued that a current or prospective Social Security beneficiary does not acquire an interest in the Trust Fund—that is, a property right to its assets—and that the belief that Social Security benefits are “fully accrued property rights” is “wholly erroneous.” The Court concurred”
https://fee.org/articles/the-myth-of-the-social-security-trust-fund/


#11

What they will really do is go after SS for those who are not collecting it yet. That way they think the gray hairs won't object. But in reality when Bush tried to do that by going after SS for those under 50, the gray hairs objected strongly against his attempts to privatize it and he had to drop it. So I think they will be surprised at the reaction when they try again.


#12

I am not a lawyer, and I haven't tried to read the lawyerly accounts, but it doesn't look to me as though Flemming v. Nestor was about the actual structure of the Trust Fund. I.e., you're trying another distraction from the topic.


#13

Skip, All they will end up doing is 'trying.'

The Gray Hairs and the White Hairs are the ones who vote in large numbers.

Piss them off and like at the ballpark, 'You're Out!'


#14

The basic fact is that there is nothing of value in this so-called trust fund. You cannot spend all the money then issue yourself an i.o.u. and call that i.o.u. an asset. It is just as preposterous as if you spent $20 then wrote yourself an i.o.u and claimed that you still had the value of the $20.


#15

I hope so. They keep trying, so it is possible that at some point they will succeed. They are trying again with their damn health 'care' bill, though the senate still has to pass it and I haven't seen what the reaction from the senate is this time around. It's been crickets from them. But they need only 51 for this, unlike the budget bill. That means they don't need any democrats to help them. And that means, it is quite possible they will screw a large number of people including gray hairs who need health insurance.


#16

Doesn't matter, really. The federal government is unlike any other fiduciary body, because they're the only ones who can create more money. The point still stands that SS has no place in budget discussions, as it is one of 2 actual "entitlement" cash transfers to citizens. No matter who tries how to taint that word as a "handout," it's not. It's an involuntary deal with the fed.


#17

This comment is late but I wish to underscore a fact pointed out by others.
There is $2.8 trillion as at Dec 2016 held in the SS Trust fund. The US govt has borrowed nearly all of it and in its place is nearly $2.8 trillion in US govt bonds. If the govt fails to resolve its budget problems annually, payment of SS benefits may become problematic because repayment of SS debt including interest is part of the budget.*

To repeat, the US govt has borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund. It has replaced cash with debt certificates. The fund remains solvent as long as the govt is good to its word that it will honor its debt. While the US has never defaulted on its debt (yet), there is a long history of governments around the world of having done so.

Good luck to us (the U.S.)!
* New users cannot add in links. See Forbes article: in 2011 What Happened to the $2.6 Trillion Social Security Trust Fund? ) Try bit.ly / 2qhbvI3 (no spaces).


#18

For one thing, that's kind of how trust funds work. Think "It's a Wonderful Life." But the federal government is the one place that never need default because they print the money. I'm not saying it isn't a worry, but the government is meant to operate at a deficit. We owe much more to private citizens and to foreign entities than we do to the SSTF. It is not a business.