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

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail