Fiscally Imperiled Social Security?

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


More articles by:

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

March 21, 2018
Paul Street
Time is Running Out: Who Will Protect Our Wrecked Democracy from the American Oligarchy?
Mel Goodman
The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”
Chris Floyd
Stumbling Blocks: Tim Kaine and the Bipartisan Abettors of Atrocity
Eric Draitser
The Political Repression of the Radical Left in Crimea
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Threatens Wider War Against the Kurds
John Steppling
It is Us
Thomas Knapp
Death Penalty for Drug Dealers? Be Careful What You Wish for, President Trump
Manuel García, Jr.
Why I Am Leftist (Vietnam War)
Isaac Christiansen
A Left Critique of Russiagate
Howard Gregory
The Unemployment Rate is an Inadequate Reporter of U.S. Economic Health
Ramzy Baroud
Who Wants to Kill Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah?
Roy Morrison
Trouble Ahead: The Trump Administration at Home and Abroad
Roger Hayden
Too Many Dead Grizzlies
George Wuerthner
The Lessons of the Battle to Save the Ancient Forests of French Pete
Binoy Kampmark
Fictional Free Trade and Permanent Protectionism: Donald Trump’s Economic Orthodoxy
Rivera Sun
Think Outside the Protest Box
March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
John Pilger
Skripal Case: a Carefully-Constructed Drama?
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography