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View Diary: Social Security: Don't buy the Fear Factor! (202 comments)

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  •  Trust funds (4.00)
    Congressman, thanks for posting here.  I worked for the Congress in the 1980's, on the 1983 Social Security Amendments - I know that was before you were on Ways and Means, but the Republicans are following a line of attack on the trust fund buildup that Democrats in Congress need to counter, I think.  The argument is that "the trust funds don't exist" because they're held as US treasuries - this is how Rove can say even eliminating the wage base tax cap won't solve the problem.

    The deal in 1983 was explicit, as far as the members were concerned - and you can talk to Charlie Rangel about this, as he was there at the time.  They knew a big surplus was going to be built up, and they wanted to do that explicitly to advance fund the baby boom generation's demands on the system.  The obligations were treated as real, and I think need to continue to be stressed as real.  It was part of the bargain - the baby boom generation would pay more in payroll taxes than necessary to fund current benefits, in order to build up a cushion to fund its own retirement.  There would be no problem honoring the trust fund obligations when they have to start to be cashed in beginning late in the next decade, were it not for the Bush tax cuts which have destroyed any chance for paying down the debt and building capacity for additional general taxes, if then necessary, to pay the trust fund obligations.

    You are exactly right that Bush simply wants to eliminate Social Security - I heard a Ways and Means member say, back in 1983, that Reagan had told him, privately "Yes, but you know, some day we just have to get rid of this program."  I think they will try to get Democrats to compromise and say they'll drop private accounts within SS, in return for switching to price indexing to "save" the system.  Don't do it!!!

    Thanks for your stalwart protection of ordinary people - we're glad you're there.

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