Here’s how Hillary Clinton feels about Social Security:

“I do not believe it is in a crisis.”

That’s true and that’s all such a non-issue is worth, but Barack Obama wants to be President so bad he’ll take Social Security and Hillary Clinton down to get the job done. So that’s why he’s pimping a fake Social Security crisis:

Barack Obama in Des Moines on Saturday accused Hillary Clinton of blatantly avoiding the nation’s looming Social Security crisis . . .

Barack and all you right-wing Democrats, I’ve got news for you: there is no Social Security crisis. The projections say the system may run a little short of money about 45 years from now. So why are you pimping a crisis where there is none? Looking to pick up donations from Richard Mellon Scaife or the Cato Institute, which have been lying about a Social Security crisis for decades (cuz they hate Social Security and are willing to say anything to get rid of it)?

The idiot reporter goes on:

The government collects money from people’s paychecks on earnings up to $97,500 a year for Social Security retirement benefits.

As the nation’s baby boomer generation retires at increasing rates, some projections have showed Social Security paying out more than it will collect in about 10 years. Those projections are what have driven the conversation about government retirement benefit reform.

Yeah moron, and those projections are why we’ve been paying WAY MORE than the system has been paying out for the last 4-5 decades! There are huge Social Security reserves that retirees can collect for the next four decades even if the economy grows at an anemic 1.5% a year.
The reporter continues (emphasis added):

Some, as Obama did today, suggest that raising or eliminating that cap could bring in more money to prevent benefit cuts for future retirees. Other candidates such as former North Carolina senator John Edwards have suggested similar fixes to Social Security by suggesting higher taxes on wealthy Americans. …

Obama, himself, did not specifically outline a plan although he did say he was opposed to cutting benefits, privatizing Social Security or increasing the age to begin drawing retirement payments. He did not say if the cap should be completely lifted so that all income is taxed or if it should be raised.

Obama previously this year said everything was on the table when it came to Social Security, including raising retirement age.

Here is the truth about Social Security, from expert Dean Baker:

The program is … fundamentally sound, with the most recent projections from the Congressional Budget Office showing that it can pay all scheduled benefits for the next 40 years with no changes whatsoever.

… While we may have to make changes to the program in the distant future, there is no need to undertake such changes now, especially at a time when the public has been badly misled about the financial health of the program.

If that’s not enough, here’s the common sense detail about Social Security (emphasis added and the quoted passages at start from the Congressional Budget Office):

“[Social Security] is financed largely by a tax on workers’ wages (a payroll tax). The revenues from that tax are credited to two accounts (“trust funds”) in the federal budget, one for each of the program’s two parts: Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance.

Those trust funds, which are maintained in the U.S. Treasury, function mainly as accounting mechanisms to track Social Security’s revenues and spending and to monitor whether the program’s designated sources of revenue are producing enough money to cover expected benefits.

The program’s benefits, administrative costs, and other authorized expenditures are paid from those funds. Balances in the funds are held in the form of special interest-bearing Treasury securities.

Nothing about this procedure changed between the Clinton and Bush administrations. All Social Security revenue has continued to be credited to the trust funds. And as shown in this chart from the Social Security Administration trust fund assets have risen from around $1 trillion when Bush took office to better than $2 trillion now.

This brisk accumulation is occuring because, for now, Social Security is running big surpluses, taking in a lot more money than it pays out. That will change in the years ahead, as large numbers of baby boomers retire. In a decade or so, the program will start spending more than it brings in, which it will accomplish by redeeming those “special interest-bearing Treasury securities” in which trust fund assets are, and have always been, invested.

Some decades down the road, the trust funds will be empty. After that, if nothing is changed, the program will only be able to pay about three-quarters of promised benefits out of its then-current revenue stream.

The estimate of when this event – “trust fund exhaustion” – will occur is recalculated annually and is based on assumptions about a host of factors such as life expectancies, birth rates, economic growth, interest rates and inflation, disability patterns and more.

But today’s year-to-year budget policies – deficits or surpluses – have no effect on the estimated exhaustion dates. They change neither the resources flowing into the Trust Funds nor, in any direct way, the obligations and revenues of the program in the future.

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