Getting it right on Social Security

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 26, 2006

To the Editor:

Jerome Yelder, Ph.D, Psy.D, M.S. of Selma could not be more wrong about Social Security.

His recent letter was alarmist in nature and echoes the propaganda of the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute.

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Workers have been paying surpluses into the Social Security System since 1983 when the Republican Senate Majority leader, Bob Dole, pushed the current legislation through the Senate.

The stated intention was to have workers build up the trust fund to insure adequate funding to pay future beneficiaries.

In fact, that law did allow the trust fund to grow, but as importantly, the surplus revenues helped to reduce the federal deficits brought about by Reagan’s “trickle down economic policy” that gave top priority to tax cuts for the rich.

Once again, a president has made tax cuts for the richest of Americans his top priority and now wants to tap into the trust fund by cutting benefits for current and future retirees.

While Bush talks of “allowing” workers to invest a portion of their payroll taxes in the volatile stock market, his real intent is to force benefit cuts so as to delay redemptions from the trust fund surpluses for the payment of benefits.

It is projected that by 2017, the surpluses will disappear, and the plan will need draw down the trust fund as planned in 1983.

The fact is simple.

When the trust fund redeems its U.S. Treasury bonds, past federal deficits financed by those bonds will be repaid through additional taxation or refinancing of the federal debt that has grown like Topsy during the Bush administration.

Small adjustments in the payroll tax today would be sufficient to insure the future viability of the Social Security system.

Raising the income cap on taxable earnings would bring in more revenue as well.

Under the current income cap, Rush Limbaugh pays off his Social Security taxes on Jan. 2 of each year.

Shouldn’t a man who has benefited by the Bush tax cuts, and who makes his living as a political propagandist, pay into the system for as long as the average working class American?

Gene W. DeVaux

B.A. Economics

Greenwood, Mo.