Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A World Away

The idea of reducing the payroll tax which funds Social Security and replacing those revenues with General Fund appropriations was first floated during the Clinton Administration.  At that time, the budget was not only in balance, but was actually running a surplus, largely thanks to a modest increase in tax rates on upper income earners.  Even then, it was a short-sighted, bad idea.

The fiscal condition of the Federal Government was in such good shape, and things were getting so giddy back then, that there were even proposals for using the surplus as seed money to establish new personal savings accounts for all Americans.  But that was before George Bush and the outrageous raid on the Treasury by the wealthy and the super-rich, as well as the unfunded and immoral war making in Iraq of that neocon administration.  And even though I am no sell-out fan of today's lame Democrats, at least in this case we have a pretty accurate text book example of the difference in philosophy between the two major parties.

But this is not Bill Clinton's world, nor even Obama's really; it remains that of the radical right.  And it is screwed up like never before.  The 2.4 trillion dollar surplus which the Social Security tax has generated over the years is invested in U.S. Treasury notes.  These have long been seen as the strongest and most reliable investment on the planet.  But today they are looked upon by the Republian/Teacan party as a significant portion of the overall 14.3 trillion dollar Federal debt which they and their free-loading super-rich supporters are desperate to repudiate, even at the risk of sending the whole world economy into free-fall.

They are dangerously close to wielding sufficient political power to do just that.  It is most unwise to put Social Security up as potential fuel for the political burnout of all that is just and right in our system for the average working person.  It is bad enough that these deadbeats see nothing immoral about walking away from the debts they have recklessly piled up, it is foolish to expect them to supply new money from the Treasury over time to keep a program they despise solvent.  We should not be playing around with this fire.

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