FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fiscally Imperiled Social Security?

by SETH SANDRONSKY

Political fantasy, anyone? Such fantasizing is a strange brew that can involve the daily press when it comes to the finances of Social Security. President George W. Bush aims to work next year with Democrats to fix the “fiscally imperiled Social Security system,” the Washington Post reported December 20.

The 2004 Social Security Trustees Report projects a shortfall in the program’s trust fund in 2042. Yes, that is 38 years down the road for the program’s trust fund, currently running a surplus as it was designed to do during the reign of President Ronald Reagan for the baby boomers’ retirements.

During the 1980s the annual growth of the U.S. gross domestic product (the output of all goods and services) was 2.7 percent. The 2042 depletion date for the Social Security trust fund is based on the trustees’ intermediate projection of 1.8 percent annual growth of GDP.

With a 1.8 percent annual growth of GDP between 2004 and 2042, Social Security would be the least of the nation’s problems. Think about it. With 38 years of 1.8 percent growth, private investment in new hires and equipment would basically slow to a crawl.

We can see a hint of such slow growth in the recent shrinking of the national housing bubble. U.S. growth of 2.6 percent in the second quarter fell to 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2006. Spurring this drop in growth was the double-digit fall of investment in the building of new homes.

This means less employment for those who earn their wages in home construction. One immediate outcome is that they have less income to spend on goods and services. This means economic contraction.

Formerly employed construction workers spend less at retail businesses. These firms experience sluggish sales. Weakened consumer demand spreads to other sectors of the economy.

Sales slow. Investment weakens further. Now picture the U.S. with 36 years of a slowdown in GDP to an annual rate of 1.8 percent!

Back to Social Security and the 49 million Americans who receive their regular checks from the popular program. The Post and the president, apparently, are trying to convince the U.S. public that the finances of Social Security are imperiled and require a political solution. On that note for the new Democratic majority in Congress, there is no need for the party to find solutions to problems that do not exist.

There are plenty of domestic and foreign policy problems that do in fact require urgent attention from both parties. The financial solvency of Social Security is not one of them. The Washington Post is fantasizing about the future demise of Social Security.

Where is the journalistic balance? Where are the alternate news and views on the future solvency of Social Security? Why give readers political fantasy dressed up as news?

SETH SANDRONSKY is a member of Sacramento Area Peace Action and a co-editor of Because People Matter, Sacramento’s progressive paper. He can be reached at: bpmnews@nicetechnology.com

 

Seth Sandronsky is a Sacramento journalist and member of the freelancers unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild. Emailsethsandronsky@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail