By Dave Lindorff
Washington has been raiding the SS Trust Fund to pay for war (
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Some on the left are writing hopefully these days that perhaps President Obama has finally realized he needs to back off on his warlike posture on drones and the War on Terror. They are seeing his talk about scaling back the use of drone killing machines and of reconsidering or "investigating" recent Justice Department attacks on the press and its use of leaks by government whistle-blowers, as a sign that he is perhaps regaining his constitutional senses and perhaps even "moving" to the left to rebuild support he has been losing in droves.
Put aside for a moment the fact that so far it's all been just talk. We know the drones are still flying and killing people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere (and there's no talk of not opening a new drone piloting base in my home county of Montgomery, PA this October). But the big test, I submit, of whether this president is actually moving away from his prior five years as president of selling out his liberal, working-class and poverty-struck base to stand instead for traditional liberal and progressive ideals will be Social Security.
On Friday the Social Security Administration will announce that the Trust Fund of money collected through the FICA payroll tax from working Americans will reach $2.8 trillion, up from $2.7 trillion at the end end of 2011. The SSA will further report that this fund will continue to grow, as taxes collected remain greater than the funds being paid out as Social Security benefit checks, until about 2020, seven years from now, when they will reach $3.3 trillion. At that point, with increasing numbers of Baby Boomers -- that wave of people born between 1946 and 1964 who began hitting retirement age in 2011 -- beginning to really pile into retirement, the fund will start to shrink as planned. But even with the unprecedented number of retirees, the report will state that the system should be able to pay promised benefits in full -- that's in full without any changes in the way inflation is factored into benefit amounts -- until 2038. And even after that, if no changes were made at all to increase revenues, current taxes paid in by workers at that point would be able to fund 75% of promised benefits indefinitely into the future.
Hmmmm. In 2038, as a 1949 Baby Boomer, I will be 89 -- assuming I live well beyond my expected life expectancy of 76. I would, in fact, be at the age that both of my parents died. Maybe I'll be lucky, but statistically speaking it's unlikely I, or most of my cohort, male and female, born before 1960, will be around at that point. Get that? This is a point nobody in the kill Social Security crowd likes to mention, but the truth is that by the time Social Security runs out the Trust Fund, the population it was created to try to anticipate will have basically lived on their benefits and passed on to that great beyond where Social Security checks aren't needed anymore...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent three-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/