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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail