I have become more and more interested in politics in the last few years. I bore all my friends with political talk until I’m blue in the face or they tell me to shut the hell up and put the needle on the record. I don’t want to bore you either, but sometimes you have to press pause on the IPod and read the newspaper.
As you know, Son of a Bush delivered his State Of The Union speech a few days ago. I watched most of it (maybe 90%, a new record for me) and was amazed. The division between the Dems and Republicans was very visible. At times it looked like the parting of the Red Sea. Bush looked like he was ready to give the Dems a reaming in front of America. He didn’t get in that azz as bad as I thought he would, but it was a sight to see.
One of the things that got my attention (and several boos from Barack’s side) was the President’s statements on Social Security Reform. I could try to translate what this means to you, but you might as well hear it from the Bush’s mouth.
Taken from C-Span.com
“The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy. And so we must join together to strengthen and save Social Security.” “So here is the result: Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than the year before.
For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra $200 billion to keep the system afloat — and by 2033, the annual shortfall would be more than $300 billion. By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt. If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be dramatically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs.
Fixing Social Security permanently will require an open, candid review of the options. Some have suggested limiting benefits for wealthy retirees. Former Congressman Tim Penny has raised the possibility of indexing benefits to prices rather than wages. During the 1990s, my predecessor, President Clinton, spoke of increasing the retirement age. Former Senator John Breaux suggested discouraging early collection of Social Security benefits. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended changing the way benefits are calculated. All these ideas are on the table. I know that none of these reforms would be easy.
But we have to move ahead with courage and honesty, because our children’s retirement security is more important than partisan politics. (Applause.)
I will work with members of Congress to find the most effective combination of reforms. I will listen to anyone who has a good idea to offer. (Applause.)
We must, however, be guided by some basic principles. We must make Social Security permanently sound, not leave that task for another day. We must not jeopardize our economic strength by increasing payroll taxes. We must ensure that lower-income Americans get the help they need to have dignity and peace of mind in their retirement. We must guarantee there is no change for those now retired or nearing retirement.
And we must take care that any changes in the system are gradual, so younger workers have years to prepare and plan for their future. As we fix Social Security, we also have the responsibility to make the system a better deal for younger workers. And the best way to reach that goal is through voluntary personal retirement accounts. (Applause.)
Here is how the idea works. Right now, a set portion of the money you earn is taken out of your paycheck to pay for the Social Security benefits of today’s retirees. If you’re a younger worker, I believe you should be able to set aside part of that money in your own retirement account, so you can build a nest egg for your own future.
Here’s why the personal accounts are a better deal. Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver — and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security. In addition, you’ll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children and — or grandchildren. And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away. (Applause.) “ Bold type mine.
The question remains. What the hell is he talking about? Private savings accounts that the government can NEVER seize? It all sound too good and I don’t trust that m*th@f*ck@r (For all I know he’s the guy who set me up and had my buddy Angel Fernandez killed …sorry, Montana moment). So I did what all good Democrats do…Fact Checked it.
Here is the breakdown from FactCheck.org.
Bush made Social Security the centerpiece of his Feb. 3 State of the Union address. He gave more details of how he proposes to change the system — but left out facts that don’t help his case.
Social Security “Headed Toward Bankruptcy?”
The President painted a dire picture of Social Security’s finances: Bush: The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy . And so we must join together to strengthen and save Social Security. “Bankruptcy” is a scary term that Democrats have used too, when it suited them, but it could easily give the wrong idea. Nobody is predicting that Social Security will go out of business the way a bankrupt business does. It would continue to pay benefits — just not as many.
The President was a little more specific about that later in his address, while repeating the word “bankrupt”: Bush: By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt . If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be dramatically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs. But how severe would those benefit cuts be?
In fact there are two official projections — one by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and a somewhat less pessimistic projection by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The President referred to the SSA projection, which calculates that the system’s trust fund will be depleted in 2042. After that, the system would have legal authority to pay only 73 percent of currently promised benefits — and that figure would decline each year after, reaching 68 percent in the year 2075.
So there is the other side. I will need time to digest all this and give my 2 cents. Just wanted to share that with you party people.