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AP: Social Security Needs ‘Small Tweaks’

From a shameless Associated Press:

AP Exclusive: Social Security needs small ‘tweaks’

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER (AP) – May 18, 2010

WASHINGTON — Social Security faces a $5.3 trillion shortfall over the next 75 years, but a new congressional report says the massive gap could be erased with only modest changes to payroll taxes and benefits.

Some of the options are politically dangerous, such as increasing payroll taxes or reducing annual cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients. Others, such as gradually raising the age when retirees qualify for full benefits, wouldn’t be felt for years but would affect millions.

Can you ‘sugarcoat’ the ‘third rail’ of American politics? Such “modest changes,” when previously suggested by Republicans, were described as crimes against humanity by the AP and the rest of our one party media. But now they are just innocuous “tweaks.”

By the way, why isn’t another option to put everyone on Social Security? Isn’t that how Mr. Obama solved the problem of rising healthcare costs?

Many wouldn’t affect current recipients, according to the report by the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Sen. Herb Kohl, chairman of the committee, said small "tweaks" are all that is needed to bolster Social Security’s finances for future generations of retirees.

Currently, 53 million Americans get Social Security benefits averaging $1,067 a month. In 75 years, 122 million, or one-fourth of the population, will be drawing benefits.

On its current path, Social Security is projected to run out of money by 2037, largely because of aging baby boomers reaching retirement. For the first time since the 1980s, Social Security will pay out more money in benefits this year than it collects in payroll taxes. The longer action is delayed, the harder it will get to address the program’s finances.

"Modest changes can be made over time that will keep the program in surplus," Kohl, D-Wis., told The Associated Press. "They are not draconian, as the report points out, and they can be done and will be done."

The committee is scheduled to release its report Tuesday. The report, obtained by the Associated Press, lays out options for fixing Social Security, but doesn’t endorse any of them.

Kohl said lawmakers will probably combine several options to ease their impact.

Yes, a combination of raising taxes, lowering benefits and raising the age of retirement will definitely soften the blow.

No action is expected this year, with midterm congressional elections looming in November. Lawmakers have said they hope to take up the issue next year

Just like Mr. Obama’s ‘Deficit Reduction Panel,’ this bad news will only come out right after the November elections, giving the Democrats as much time as possible to make the voters forget before 2012.

The Social Security trust funds have built up a $2.5 trillion surplus over the past 25 years. But the federal government has borrowed that money over the years to spend on other programs. The government must now start borrowing money from public debt markets — adding to annual budget deficits — to repay Social Security…

In other words, Social Security is now really just another direct tax, since its money is really being used to run the government.

Therefore, raising the Social Security tax would violate Mr. Obama’s most solemn campaign pledge not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $200,000 a year.

Surely, the media will go after him hammer and tong, just like they did George Herbert Walker Bush.

(Just kidding. It’s only a ‘tweak.’)

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “AP: Social Security Needs ‘Small Tweaks’”

  1. Right of the People says:

    Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be worried about this “tweak” but I’ve been paying into this farce for over 40 years and I’d like to something out of it before the boy king completely screws it up.

    My wife and I have already resigned ourselves to the fact that we might never see a penny and other retirement plans. However it still pisses me off what they’re doing. Of course just about everything this clown does pisses me off.

    Is it too early in the morning for a snort?

    • JohnMG says:

      I’ve been self-employed for most of my 45-year career, RotP, paying both portions of my contribution. My monthly benefit is below the national average. Figure that one out.

      Make mine Jim Beam!

  2. proreason says:

    There is a 100% chance that the retirement age for Social Security will be increased in the near future.

    There is a 98% chance that it won’t affect current retirees or people older than a cutoff age, like 55.

    Get used to it.

    The Social Security “problem” is tiny in comparison to almost every other problem that the country has.

    The real threat to Social Security, btw, is that if the economy continues to descend toward serfdom, there simply won’t be enough money coming in to fund the retirees.

    THAT is much worthier of your time than worrying about a change to the retirement age.

  3. jrmcdonald says:

    obama will push to change Social Security retirement ages to 67 & 70, after the election…

  4. jobeth says:

    Those like myself who were born in 1944 or after have had our SS funds delayed by one year or more. I lost a year of SS funds and those behind me lose 1/4 year funds for each year after 1944. (Not sure how long this goes on but I can bet it will be utilized to push back retirement for a long time for future recipients)

    How come I can’t be this lucky in the lottery?

    • JohnMG says:

      None of this is chiseled in stone. The Social Security Administration’s actuaries and Congress can effect such changes if and when they so choose, and there is nothing (save at the ballot box, and we all know how well that has been working) that any of us can do about it.

      It’s coming.

    • jobeth says:

      Hey John,

      What I mentioned above is already in place. How long it continues is the question. I believe it stops at age 67 (increments of 1/4 of a year per birth year after 1944). but as you said nothing is in stone after this. But if Obalmy gets his way I’m sure it would continue indefinitely

  5. P. Aaron says:

    Tweak: Tweek. (Amer-slang) Democrat weasle word. A ‘tweak’ equals $20 Trillion dollars thrown this way and that without regards to managing the money, hoping it will work, or at best buy time through the next election cycle.


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