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Social Security and Government Accounting

I'm a centrist - a social liberal and fiscal conservative. That's why I view the newest Republican Social Security measure (described here) with mixed emotions.

I agree with the concept of separating the social security tax receipts from the rest of the federal tax receipts. They should have been that way from the start. For one, it would make social security less of a pork barrel funding source and political football. For another, our retirement funds could not be used to mask the size of the ballooning federal deficit, which is how they are used now. Also, it would budgetarily match social security revenues with expenses, without the fudging and shell game that congress has used for years as an excuse to raise the taxes and cut benefits. No more funding blocked by IOUs and interest payments that the government takes the money to make. Cleaner books, a better idea of costs and investment income to the fund - just like real accounts are required to have.

But when they tie it in with "privatization" and other corporate giveaways, I doubt the effectiveness of what they propose. Then it looks like just proposing a new shell game to replace the old. That doesn't fly. I don't want a private account administered by the goverment. Any private accounts I have will be 401(k)s or IRAs that I decide the investment mix on. I don't want the government investing money in their pet pork barrel corporations in my name, and conveniently losing it all after they've pocketed the lobbyists payola. If I make investments in private companies, I want it to be my decision, my risk, and not paid for without my consent.

How, then to make those funds grow? Simple: the government becomes a lender, not a borrower. It's got the best collections racket around, so the default risk would be lower and the rates could be really attractive for both the borrower, and the recipients of the interest (the taxpayer.) It would require the borrower, even if it were the government itself, to show the means for repaying the loan and interest in a reasonable amount of time - a revenue stream, real assets, or both. No more interest only loans to uncle sam.

Maybe I'm an idealist: I want to see this country live up to the promise of the Constitution and the New Deal. The middle class, and it's education and buying power is what has made this country great. To me, part of what I find so disgusting about the Neo-Cons is that they are waging war on the very foundation of our economic might - the middle class. They don't get it - the corporations aren't the source of our technological and productivity advances - the middle class is. The corporations are actually beneficiaries of the New Deal, and the educational, investment and innovation opportunities that it encouraged.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
spaghettisquash
Jun. 24th, 2005 12:30 am (UTC)
I believe that they are actually waging war on the poor. Most middle class will have enough saved up so that they can retire when their health is poor enough that they can't work. We all know that most people can't survive on Social Security payouts.

Besides, the solution is obvious. Inflation.
jemyl
Jun. 24th, 2005 05:27 am (UTC)
Sadly, those of us who were middle-class all of our working, middle and young adult lives are now finding ourselves poor senior citizens as our savings are eroded or eliminated by the skyrocketing medical costs we now face. Medicine has come far in finding solutions to let us live longer. It is just that those solutions cost about five times what they did in our working years. Seven hundred dollars a month for out-of-pocket medical expenses and medicines is not unusual, even with Medicare, Major Medical, Medigap and Prescription insurance. Now our Prescription insurer wants us to sign over our Medicare prescription rights to them so that they are our ONLY choice of provider. I say NO WAY, Jose! That insurer has quadrupled the out-of-pocket cost of prescriptions over the last two years. Furthermore, if one doesn't want to use generics, the benefit drops to almost nothing.

My mother has Medicare and a supplement, for which she pays about $265 a month. She must still pay a Medicare deductible of $110 for her first doctor visit of the year, plus a $300 deductible for her supplement which then will pay 80 percent of what medicare doesn't pay. A non-formulary medication is minimum $60 for a three month supply or 35 percent of the regular price.
jemyl
Jun. 24th, 2005 05:32 am (UTC)
Well said, Ravan! I agree completely. If congress would pay back all the interest they took from our Social Security fudn, there would be no shortage! The real solution is still to make all Congressmen be part of Social Security. They are good at not denying themselves benefits!

(Gma is counting the days until your arrival. So is your mother I think.)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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