Sunday, January 12, 2014

An interesting book

Ronald Reagan and the Great Social Security Heist,
by Dr. Allen W. Smith, Ironwood Publications, 177 pages, $???

In 1983, the United States Congress passed legislation to fund Social Security through a payroll tax. This special tax was to flow into an untouchable fund to ensure the baby boomers would have some income when they retire.
Ronald Reagan, when he was president, broke the law and dipped into that fund to pay for other government programs. George Herbert Walker Bush did the same, but took more money. Bill Clinton also took from the fund, albeit less money and for only part of the time he was president. George W. Bush took all that was left.
Smith calls this theft, embezzlement, fraud and about every nasty name short of profanity. What’s gone is $2.7 trillion, which is how much money Americans will need to find to fund Social Security obligations for the next 20 to 30 years.
And that’s all you need to know about this book which says it again and again for more than 170 pages. But then, again, it appears that Americans, especially Republicans, still don’t get it.
This is totally unlike the Canada Pension Plan, which is protected and invested. And no Canadian seriously doubts that the federal government won’t be able to pay Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplements, although retirement age will be postponed.
Where did the U.S. money go? Smith says most went in tax breaks skewed to the richest Americans. Therefore, he argues, the rich ought to be taxed to replenish the fund.
However, the Republicans absolutely refuse to allow any tax increases and they’re in control of tax increases. Nor will they allow borrowing to pay seniors, so it seems they’ll soon be cut off.

And then what? Who knows when it’s the Excited States?