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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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Jim Vesely
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Jim Vesely
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Lee Moriwaki
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Lee Moriwaki
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Joni Balter
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Eric Devericks
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Lance Dickie
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Bruce Ramsey
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Kate Riley
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Lynne Varner
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Ryan Blethen
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Ryan Blethen
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December 20, 2004

Who lies about social security?

From a reader:

Bush and the GOP are flat out lying about Social Security being in trouble. They are doing this for greed, plain and simple. It is payback time to all the fat-cats on Wall Street who pumped millions of dollars into Bush's reelection. What is even more disturbing is the disgusting job done by the press, who are letting Bush and company spout unchallenged lies day after day.

Social Security won't be in trouble until 2055, and even then it will still have money to pay 81% of the promised benefit. This is a crisis!!!???

Read Paul Krugman if you want the actual truth. If you want propaganda, listen to Bush, watch FOX and bury your head in the sand.

From my reply to him:

You write with an air of authority, but it is more air than authority. This is from the Social Security Trustees Report, 2004, available at www.ssa.gov:

E. CONCLUSION
Under current law the cost of Social Security will increase faster than the program's income, because of the aging of the baby-boom generation, expected continuing low fertility, and increasing life expectancy. Based on the Trustees' best estimate, program cost will exceed tax revenues starting in 2018 and throughout the remainder of the 75-year projection period.

Social Security's combined trust funds are projected to allow full payment of benefits until they become exhausted in 2042. At that time annual tax income to the trust funds is projected to equal about 73 percent of program costs.

Separately, the OASI and DI funds are projected to have sufficient funds to pay full benefits on time until 2044 and 2029, respectively. By 2078, however, annual tax income is projected to be only about two-thirds as large as the annual cost of the OASDI program.

TO SUM UP:
SS goes cash-negative in 2018, and begins demanding the feds make good on IOUs in the so-called "trust fund." The Treasury will have to do this by borrowing, unless the federal budget is in surplus then. This money runs out in 2044, at which point the SS system is 27% short. I wouldn't say this is a "crisis," but it is definitely a problem, and one that gets more expensive the longer it is put off.

"Read Paul Krugman if you want the actual truth." Not even close. Paul Krugman is second only to Ann Coulter as the most biased columnist in the major media. Check it out at this site.

Respond to Bruce

Read his latest column

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at December 20, 2004 10:23 AM



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