Poor John Boehner, being demonized by President Obama. How will we ever achieve a bipartisan solution on deficit reduction with that kind of rhetoric? The "Eye for an Eye" editorial Aug. 21 addressed this unfortunate circumstance and chastised the Democrats for demagoguery and called Boehner "demonized" by Obama, who was warning the nation of the movements afoot to "reform " Social Security.
The piece went on to say that if Social Security is to be "returned to fiscal solvency that benefits will have to be cut possibly by raising the retirement age." A thought totally in line with Republican thinking and favored by billionaire GOP benefactors Warren Buffett (Fox News/Wall Street Journal), the Koch brothers (John Birch Society and tea party sponsors), the Wyly brothers (noted for swift boat financing) and Bill Gross (PIMCO chief executive). It may be that few in the GOP, according to The Sun News, want to cut Social Security benefits, but if one of them is John Boehner then they will cut them. They will go wherever he goes. They vote in lockstep.
Social Security is not insolvent and doesn't need these so-called reforms. Social Security has a $2.5 trillion surplus and will last for decades and in fact can be extended even further by simply raising the income cap on contributions.
Peter Peterson, another billionaire (former Lehman Brothers chief executive), claims the fund is insolvent because of its reliance on government bonds. It's not quite that way. Because the federal government disguises its real deficit by combining the Social Security surplus with the federal deficit, the overall deficit seems smaller. The bonds are to fund the net deficit due to overspending and undertaxing. People like Peterson spend a lot of money, including tea party funding, creating a different scenario. They want to only look at annual expenditures by the government. Then it looks like Social Security and Medicare are the cause of the deficit because they take up 40 percent of annual expenses. Overlooked by The Sun News, the GOP and their rich benefactors is that Medicare and Social Security are funded by separate streams of revenue and on their own are very healthy when compared to the national debt from the rest of government.
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The real problem is overspending and undertaxing. There are lots of overspending candidates ... congressmen with staffs of 40 people, a military that has one officer for every five enlisted men (three of whom are supervisor types), a large disjointed Homeland Security agency, and an intelligence agency that has many redundant functions because everybody has to have their own pipeline. Then of course there are the looming tax cut expirations that only account for 25 percent of the deficit but are due to expire at the end of this year. Thus the high frequency high screaming from the Financial Right. Their argument that those tax cuts would provide jobs stimulus or continuing prosperity has been disproved for a long time. At the same time Republicans did not when in power or now propose ideas that would mend this terrible gap.
Seniors rely on Social Security simply to get by in their retirement time and don't need any of the reforms. Republicans have disliked Social Security and Medicare since their inception and constantly work to undo it as they will with health care. Ronald Reagan equated Medicare with the loss of freedom, and John Boehner called the passage of the health care reform an act of Armageddon. Obama is right to stand against that even if it takes a little demonizing of John Boehner. Boehner and his wealthy sponsors want tax cuts for themselves and apparently plan to pay for them by raising our children's retirement age to 70 or 80.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.