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Demit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:30 AM
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The "Unbooked Pundit" on Social Security
The Daily Howler has a good item today, recapping the Tim Russert & company mantra on Social Security. (I don't watch anymore, so I salute those who brave their own nausea to keep me posted.) DH points out there is never a pundit on any show who counters with the true they create one. The "Unbooked Pundit" has a short and sweet answer for anyone who's hearing--or will be hearing soon, I'm sure--a friend or coworker spout that "16-to-1 worker ratio" crap:

"RUSSERT (1/9/05):Albert Hunt and Katty, the situation is, when Social Security began, there were 16 workers for every retiree. There are soon to be two workers for every retiree. We have 40 million people on Social Security now. When the baby boomers retire, there'll be 80 million. Roosevelt said eligibility 65, which was genius, because if you made it to 65, you were on Social Security for a month or two and that was it. Life expectancy's now 78, 79, 80 years old, so you have twice as many people on the program for fifteen years. The president says that's a crisis. Democrats say it's not a crisis, we'll find a way to grow our way out of this and make some changes that would tweak the system. Who's right?

THE UNBOOKED PUNDIT: But Tim, that 16-to-1 ratio is wholly irrelevant. Those were the numbers in 1935! But today, we have roughly three workers for every retiree, and the system is producing an annual surplus! We dont need those sixteen workers to finance Social Security! The question is: What will happen over the next five decades as we get closer to a 2-to-1 ratio? And no, the system isnt in crisis. Come on! According to the CBO, full benefits can be paid until 2052, and minor changes in taxes and benefit levels could make the system fully solvent for decades after that. We dont need sixteen workers for every retiree. Does somebody pay you to mention them?

OK, our Unbooked Pundit should skip that last question. But this speech is never given when Washingtons pundits gather to chat..."

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livvy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 06:52 AM
Response to Original message
1. Related articles on SS
Links to Informational Articles:

Social Security

Who Wants to Cut Social Security?
Nor is there any reason to "fix" Social Security any time soon. According to the numbers used by everyone, including the President's Commission, Social Security can pay all promised benefits for the next 38 years without any changes at all. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office just upped that estimate to 48 years. By either measure, Social Security is in better financial shape that it has been for most of its 69-year history.
Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Basic Facts on Social Security and Proposed Benefit Cuts/Privatization
Dean Baker and David Rosnick1
According to the Social Security trustees report, the standard basis for analyzing Social Security, the program can pay all benefits through the year 2042, with no changes whatsoever. Even after 2042 the program would always be able to pay retirees a higher benefit (in today's dollars) than what current retirees receive. The assessment of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is that Social Security is even stronger. It projects that Social Security can pay all benefits through the year 2052 with no changes whatsoever. By either measure, Social Security is more financially sound today than it has been throughout most of its 69-year history.

The GOPs Sabotage of Social Security by Rober Sheer
Greed perfectly meshes with ideology in the Republican Party, and the attempted sabotage of Social Security is just another example. While the followers of Milton Friedman talk about the free market in religious terms, Wall Street is slavering at the possibility of one of the biggest potential windfalls in human history if the Social Security spigot is turned its way. The attendant investment fees alone would be enormous--certainly higher than the minimal 1 percent overhead costs the current Social Security system consumes.
Link for the page to send a letter to Congress from the Campaign For Americas Future

Blog by Peter Rothberg
Bush's plans on this front are far from a done deal, and a well-organized public campaign is critical to stave off the possibility of some Democrats cutting a deal early--as they did on tax cuts (and as Ted Kennedy did on the Medicare bill).

An alternate form letter to send to Reps.
Action Alert Reject Bushs Agenda on Social Security
The program, as it stands, is extremely popular and benefits a significant portion of the US population. Propaganda aside, the cooked-up panic over Social Security isn't really about the future financial wellbeing of retirees, but rather the Republicans' effort to transfer money from a popular social program to private industry. The consequences of this privatization plan--if implemented--would be devastating for those who depend on the decades-old program.

And the latest by Krugman today:

Last week someone leaked a memo written by Peter Wehner, an
aide to Karl Rove, about how to sell Social Security
privatization. The public, says Mr. Wehner, must be
convinced that "the current system is heading for an

It's the standard Bush administration tactic: invent a fake
crisis to bully people into doing what you want. "For the
first time in six decades," the memo says, "the Social
Security battle is one we can win." One thing I haven't
seen pointed out, however, is the extent to which the White
House expects the public and the media to believe two
contradictory things.

I really think it's important to distribute the truth to as many people as possible. The spin on MSM is going to get thick! It's already starting.

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