Social Security and federal finances
Republicans are not fiscal conservatives. Today, the national debt stands at $8.9 trillion. And the Republicans are responsible for almost all of it.
The debt really started getting serious when Reagan was President. Year after year, under both Reagan and George Bush, our federal government spent more than it raised.
This changed in 1994 under Clinton. A tax bill was passed that put us back on track. By the time Clinton left office, there was a 10 year projected surplus of around $6 trillion. We would have paid off the national debt in 10 years.
But George W. Bush and the Republican Congress immediately gave away the surplus in tax cuts and again we are back to massive deficits. The national debt has increased by $2.5 trillion just in the last few years.
Why does it matter
The reason it matters is because we have been using the Social Security tax, 15% of our wages, to pay for the general government expenses. Social Security was "fixed" for the baby boomers in the early 1980's. The rate was increased and the money was supposed to be set aside for our retirements. Instead, Congress raided the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. Of the $8 trillion in the national debt, approximately $2 trillion is owed to the Trust Fund (another $2 trillion is owed to foreign countries, including China).
The Republicans in Congress will not say if the Social Security Trust Fund even exists. Bush claims it doesn't. And in a few years, the payouts to Social Security will be larger than the payments in from workers.
The Republicans in Congress want to make the 2001 tax cuts permanent. They want a permanent repeal of the Paris Hilton estate tax. If this happens, Social Security will really be in trouble. As it is, the trustees project that by 2040, the trust fund will be depleted, and that the benefits will be only 70%.
Bush and most Republicans also support a privatization scheme. This will truly kill the Social Security program as we know it.
1. I support a constitutional amendment that would force the Federal Government to balance the budget. Most states already have this. It's time that politicians stopped passing on our debts to future generations.
2. I do not support making the 2001 tax cuts and estate tax repeal permanent. I do support a fair tax system that keeps in place tax cuts for working and middle class Americans. The 2001 tax cuts and the estate tax cuts mostly helped the top 1% richest Americans.
3. We should consider raising the current limit on the Social Security taxable rate. It is now at a historic low. If we raised it to $120,000, this would go a long way to fixing Social Security.