September 6, 2001
Is there a non-Social Security surplus? We all know that
it is gone now thanks to George Bush. But was there one to
Remember that there is the trust fund for Social Security.
Everyone agrees that until 1998 the trust fund was used to
reduce the debt that the government otherwise would owe. Debt
that we pay interest on. In short the interest we owe would
be much higher had Social Security taxes not been raised in
Currently that trust fund has $1.2 trillion. That represents
what could be called an over charge of Social Security payroll
taxpayers. In point of fact that is exactly what he called
the non-Social Security surplus and over charge to taxpayers.
t 7 % interest that trust fund represents $84 billion. At
5 % interest it represents $60 billion. The current surplus
with Social Security is either $154 billion or $159 billion.
Without Social Security it is either $1billion or -$8 billion.
Before the tax cut and the downturn the total surplus was
estimated at $225 billion. Even using the $60 billion figure
means that the general budget was a mere $11 billion in surplus.
That means that there was no non Social Security suplus as
half of the difference was the fault of the economy.
You might ask why does this matter. Think back to the tax
cut debate. The entire thrust of their argument was that the
tax cut was a rebate of overcharges to taxpayers. Literally
millions of taxpayers who pay only payroll taxes were left
out. The administration justified this by saying they paid
no taxes. In point of fact it is the multi-millionaires who
either pay a very small percentage of their income or often
none at all to Social Security taxes that paid no taxes.
In short the whole tax debate was a complete fraud. Money
collected from only wage earners was not only used to keep
the debt lower than it otherwise would have been but now it
was used to line the pockets of the wealthy. Worse it will
be used to do that for years to come.
Wage earners already paid that money. It was supposed to
pay for their retirement. Now it will pay for their CEO's
inheritance. There is a word for this. That word is theft.
To bad George Bush hadn't had an affair with Chandra Levy.
Someone might actually care.