Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Left's Social Security Time Bomb

President Bush, from the moment he came into office, set as a priority for his domestic agenda fixing the time bomb of our entitlement programs, Medicare and Social Security - as, at some point, they will completely overwhelm the budget. That agenda was consumed by 9-11 in his first term. He trotted out Social Security reform in his second term, first arguing for privitization, then opening up the floor, saying he was willing to consider all Democratic suggestions. With Harry Reid leading the way, Democrats utterly refused to cooperate in the process, arguing that there was no crisis. Ultimately, they won through an absolute blitz in the MSM. And indeed, you can see these perfidious people applauding their victory during President Bush's State of the Union speech in 2006.

(H/T Gateway Pundit)

What in essence the left did yet again was lie to the American people (either lie or again adopt as reality whatever they wanted it to be) in order to try to extend their own political power. This 2005 article from the NYT spells out their motivation explicity:

[T]he war over Social Security is a war of words, with the White House trying to convince Americans that the system is in crisis and Democrats trying to convince them that it is not. If Mr. Bush prevails and persuades the nation that the cure is private investment accounts, Democrats will have ceded one of their core issues to Republicans - and with it a core constituency, the elderly, who are already voting Republican in bigger numbers than ever.

"If we let the president successfully convince people there's a crisis in Social Security, when in fact there is no crisis at all, then shame on us," said Senator Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, who as chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee presided over Friday's hearing. "We've got to fight on this issue, and we've got to wage an aggressive fight."

On that score, Democrats have been getting some help from Republicans, who are hardly united over the White House plan. Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who is in charge of getting more Democrats elected to the Senate in 2006, says he hopes to exploit those divisions all the way to the polls.

"I think the feeling among Democrats," Mr. Schumer said, "is we've been handed a gift."

A gift, eh? Once again, as with the war in Iraq, the left was willing to sacrifice a critical interest of the nation in order to get political power.

Well, reality is upon us. Social Security has been run since the start of the Clinton Administration as a ponzi scheme, and like all such schemes, its going broke. The date on which it occurs has been moved up a few years by our current fiscal crisis and, according to Ed Morrisey, is not merely seven years away, but upon us now. According to Ed:

In February, as the Treasury’s own website makes clear, we took in $54.5 billion and paid out $55.7 billion, for a deficit of $1.25 billion. In March that recovered to gain a $2.7 billion profit, but the first red ink has already been spilled, and it’s not going to stay black again for very long.

This from Plum Bob Blog puts it into historical perspective:

Social Security starts being a net negative to the federal budget within 7 years. Medicare is already a net negative to the budget, and will be broke within 8 years. Oh, and that “giant trust fund” they mention? It doesn’t help anything; it’s pretty much nothing but federal T-bonds, not real assets (basically, the government holds a big IOU to itself,) which means that when Social Security starts eating it 7 years from now, the government will have to start paying down it’s debt to Social Security out of the general revenues.

Keep in mind that about half of the famous surpluses of the Clinton years were due to a simple shift in how the government counted Social Security revenues. Before Clinton, they were kept separate from the budget, and Congress borrowed from it on the record. Starting I think in 1993, Social Security revenues were considered part of the general revenue, for which reason Congress didn’t have to borrow it in order to spend it. The great excess of receipts over expenditures in the Social Security system, which was never counted as revenue to the government before 1993 (and never should have been,) is roughly half of the reason for those nice-looking surpluses. This is one of the reasons I think of President Clinton as a sham and a failure; he had an opportunity to fix Social Security, and he chose instead to use it for a smoke-and-mirrors game to enhance his own image. . . .

Do read the whole post. He also cites to a paper by the Heritage Foundation from 1988 that warns of precisely the scenario in which we find ourselves now.

Let's see. The left is at the heart of the current fiscal crisis. They are at the heart of the crisis in entitlements. They came with an inch of handing victory to al Qaeda and Iran in Iraq. Is there a single thing that they have done that is of benefit to our nation over the past three decades?


MK said...

"....then opening up the floor, saying he was willing to consider all Democratic suggestions."

Was that his first mistake?

suek said...

"Is there a single thing that they have done that is of benefit to our nation over the past three decades?"

I take it you haven't read Ann Coulter's book "Treason"? If not, you should. I don't find her writing style particularly enjoyable, but she's certainly witty at times and has definitely done the research.

Unfortunately, it may also make you feel like going hunting for anyone who belongs to the Democrat party...!!