I’m not sure why today’s news on Social Security hasn’t been noticed much by the blogosphere. I don’t wonder why it isn’t in the Mainstream Media because the MSM is the “Managed Media”, and this kind of news isn’t something that the Powers That Be want us to hear. There is too much political grist to be made by freaking people out over social security, especially the perennially popular game of driving a wedge between generations by telling young people that they are being cheated by Social Security since they are paying for “all those old folks” while they themselves “will never get nothing” out of the deal.
First, it’s true, “as presently formulated”, Social Security needs more money. But — and this is what goes unsaid in the mainstream AND the sidestream media discussion of Social Security — the amount of money needed, in terms of Social Security tax increases, is very small. These folks have crunched the numbers and present their spreadsheets (“showing their work”, as my grade school math teacher used to demand), proving that all we need for the Social Security retirement fund is a series of increases of .02%/year for ten years starting in 2026. Real Social Security Fix Ver 2.0 .
The disability portion of Social Security is actually in worse shape than the retirement section, and needs an immediate tax increase of .02% in 2010, .01% in 2011, and .01% in 2039.
So between the two, for most people we are talking one or two dollars a week to keep the Social Security system solvent.
Of course, even though I am not a graduate of any respectable business school, I have my own fix for Social Security which is also a fix for the income tax problem and indeed the problem of all federal taxes AND the deficit, which is a tax on the velocity of money, but alas for the common good, implementing “Bob’s Wacky Tax Plan” would involve the financial “industry” paying a fair tax on all of its activities. These days, the financial industry has managed to keep nearly all of its activity “off the books” for most tax purposes, and thus there are quadrillions of dollars in untaxed transactions out there being subsidized by our high rates on politically defined “income”.
But my tax, even though it is fair and just and would make it possible to abolish both the income tax AND the social security tax, will never happen because Congress and the President are slavish whores to the financial industry.
So it comes to pass that these guys at the “Angry Bear” are the best chance for a workable solution for the social security problem. Yes, it involves a tax increase, but it isn’t a very big tax increase. Anyone who would begrudge a dollar or two a week to save our nation’s primary retirement plan is someone with a hidden agenda and that hidden agenda is not the common good of all. Our Catholic Worker house delivers a lot of food to elderly people whose only income is Social Security. We need to give political support to practical efforts that will ensure that the system remains solvent for a hundred years and more.
Please pass this news around a bit. I understand it isn’t as sexy a deal as some of the news these days, but it has pretty major implications for everyone that plans to grow old before they die.