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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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Lee Moriwaki
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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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January 13, 2005

Social Security Rhetoric

A reader writes:

Has there ever been a bald-faced liar to match George W. Bush? At yesterday's forum on Social Security, the president… lied right in their faces. Incredibly, their president told them this:

BUSH (1/11/05): As a matter of fact, by the time today's workers who are in their mid-20s begin to retire, the system will be bankrupt. So if you're 20 years old, in your mid-20s, and you're beginning to work, I want you to think about a Social Security system that will be flat bust, bankrupt, unless the United States Congress has got the willingness to act now.

Workers who are in their mid-20s will, by and large, begin to retire shortly after the year 2040. And will Social Security be "bankrupt--flat bust," as their joke-cracking president said? Sorry. According to the trustees' gloomy projections, the system will pay full benefits until 2042. It will then pay 73 percent of scheduled benefits, more than recipients get today. No, Social Security won't be "flat bust"--or anything like it--when young workers start to retire.

I replied: “You can argue what to call a 27% cut, [but people] are not going to want a 27% cut, and we owe it to them not to put them in that position…Social Security has a long-term deficit in the trillions, and one that is easier to fix the sooner we start. If we're gong to keep it, there are three basic ways to fix it: 1., raise taxes; 2. cut benefits and 3, increase the earnings of invested money. What's your solution?”

Respond to Bruce

Read his latest column

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at January 13, 2005 04:13 PM



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