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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press WSJ Calls Social Security Surplus a Shortfall

WSJ Calls Social Security Surplus a Shortfall

Thursday, 05 August 2010 11:41

It's super silly season in Washington. The powers that be have decided that Social Security should be cut, so now anyone can say anything they want against the program, even if it is directly contradicted by the evidence.

In this spirit the WSJ told readers: "In 2010, Social Security expenditures will exceed receipts for the first time since 1983, the last time Congress enacted major changes to the program." This is not true. As trustees report clearly shows, the program is projected to have a surplus of almost $80 billion in 2010. It is true that tax receipts will be less than projected benefits, but that is not a relevant figure for the program since it also collects interest on the bonds held by the trust fund.


Comments (10)Add Comment
Geithner quoted as saying tax revenue is less than payments
written by LJM, August 05, 2010 12:07
This story is on the CNN website. They make no reference to the money that should be in the SS trust fund that should take care of current recipients and the baby boomers who paid extra after the Reagan years for the money to be there for them. Now, it's "implied" the government will default on the debt owed the SS trust fund by the US government. They're making it sound like all SS recipients can count on are the taxes put in the fund by current workers. Keep writing on this Dean and make it clear we expect the US to apy their debt to the SS Trust Fund, even if they have to end the Bush tax cuts, all of them and stop their wars we can't afford. If they want to stiff someone holding our debt, stiff China, not SS recipients who paid into the fund for their own retirements.
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...Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.
written by izzatzo, August 05, 2010 1:13
When someone mentions climate change, they're routinely pilloried as radical alarmists advancing a hoax who misunderstand and misrepresent the massive amount of data and studies behind the claims.

But bring up Social Security and suddenly it's like the Ken and Barbie weather report:

Barbie: That's it for the news, now over to you Ken. What's happening with the weather?

Ken: Thanks Barbie. For the first time in five years, the amount of rain has exceeded the amount of sunlight for three days in a row with no end in sight. Either we're all going to die within a year from lack of sunlight to grow food, or we're going to drown to death in a week. Back to you Barbie.
written by Queen of Sheba, August 05, 2010 2:40
If the "powers that be" are concerned that the SS trust fund is not collecting enough in FICA taxes, it's time to remove the cap on income subject to the tax. We who have been working and paying into the fund since long before Reagan have already had our FICA tax increased once; it's time to share the burden with those whose incomes have outpaced this tax.

Of course none of this "reorganization" would be necessary - certainly not now - if the Wall Street Wizards weren't dead set on eventually getting their slimy hands on all those SS contributions. They just can't stand for there to be a big pile of money somewhere that they can't get into.
written by vorpal, August 06, 2010 1:46
Where's Barack on this? Is he too numerically illiterate to understand this? I bet he is. I bet he just accepts any numerical sophistry put in front of his eyes by "the powers that be." In other words, he is a pawn. Hardly a vessel of change.
written by vorpal, August 06, 2010 2:01
I must admit that I am astouned that this sort of mass deceit can still happen in this day and age. It is bizarre. Then again, Dean, I once saw a Newsweek Special Edition dedicated to the historical Jesus. As if there existed piles of documents and evidence confirming and outlining Jesus' existence, when in fact, there is none (in fact the lack thereof indicates the opposite conclusion). You would think that this would be common knowledge, but people just bobble their heads I guess.

Scientific American had an article on why even smart people get things wrong. It is due to cognitive laziness. If people are given an answer, before they have thought about something, they just accept it as "true". Both smart and dumb people are similarly vulnerable to this decisive mistake.
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written by Robin, October 16, 2010 5:39
Whazzup??? Vorpal is writing about the historical Jesus on a site that is concerned with Social Security?? There is more evidence for an historical Jesus than there is for Alexander the Great and many other ancient names. And what Social Security surplus???
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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.