My reply to June Genis:
While toeing your party line in an almost admirably stubborn way, you are wrong in nearly every claim you make.
Regarding the "broadening the base" canard, it is true enough of a real Ponzi scheme, but an absolutely false claim regarding Social Security. In the 1980's, with the reform of Social Security under the Reagan administration, the payroll tax was nearly doubled to allow baby boomers to provide for a substantial part of their own retirement as they also supported their grandparents' and parents' retirements. That is when the trust fund surplus started to swell. It is an arrangement that was well publicized and entered into with open eyes by the People of the United States, unlike a Ponzi scheme where the base is broadened surreptitiously.
That is when your Saint Ronald Reagan got legislation passed to allow him to help himself to the surplus while replacing the shortage with special Treasury notes in an effort to disguise the extent of the massive deficits that the profligately spending old reprobate was running up. This set a precedent for every president following him, and that is why the trust funds have those 2.6 trillion dollars in Treasury notes. That is what you falsely term "a worthless pile of I.O.U.'s" despite the fact that they, like all other government debt instruments, are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States of America.
The current crop of Republican robbers, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI 1), with the backing of exclusively self-interested libertarians and objectivists, intend to destroy the Social Security system, through a privatization scheme that guarantees nothing to anyone with the possible exception of the Wall Street thieves who would be skimming their share as administrators of the plan while arrogating the rest of it to themselves with market manipulations. With that accomplished in order to avoid paying back what is owed to the system, it would turn Ronald Reagan's "borrowing" into the outright theft of this or any other century, misappropriating those trillions of payroll tax dollars to purposes for which they were not intended.
The less palatable option at their disposal is to default on those obligations, destroying the faith and credit of the United States and triggering the worst worldwide financial panic in history. The reason that they would prefer to avoid that last option is that when that happened, their transnational corporate masters would not be getting paid either, and that, after all, along with several foreign held sovereign wealth funds, is who is holding most of the debt owed by the United States.
With the current surplus, the trust funds will remain solvent for a minimum of twenty-seven more years, with that result being calculated on the assumption that the United States economy will spend that entire time in its current dismal state. There are, however, measures to be taken to extend that period for an indefinitely long time into the future.
As it stands, the top fifty percent of wage earners enjoy a greater and diverging life expectancy at the time of retirement over the bottom half of wage earners. With payroll tax caps in place for salaries above $109,000, this sets up a situation where the bottom half of wage earners are subsidizing to an unwarranted degree the benefits paid to the longer lived top half of retired wage earners. That is a clear justification for the removal of payroll tax caps. This may be accomplished with the wage earners alone paying the increase, sparing their employers from matching it.