It was Ronald Reagan who said, “Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.” That was in 1983 and it’s as true today as it was thirty years ago. Social Security is a trust fund set up by the government under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration for the people by the people. It is a trust fund, folks. A trust fund today of $2.8 TRILLION in government bonds funded by you and me paying a tax, which appears on your pay stub as FICA. So, why do we allow today’s President and Congress to call it an entitlement? Why do we allow them to squawk about Social Security in the same sentence as “fiscal cliff” and “budget deficit”? The Trustees of the Social Security Trust Fund of $2.8 TRILLION recently reported Social Security can pay out 100% of benefits due through 2033 and 75% thereafter. Does Social Security need to be revamped to ensure long term solvency at 100% of benefits due beyond 2033? Yes. But, “Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.”
When Congress and the President call Social Security an entitlement and lump it into news blips about the deficit, the fiscal cliff and sequestration every one of them, Republican and Democrat alike, is misleading, confusing and causing resentment toward retirees as it makes them out to be one of the bad guys causing our fiscal mess, when nothing is further from the truth.
Back in 1983 Ronald Reagan reached out to Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill to find a solution to what was, at that time, a bonafide Social Security crisis. The trust fund was only solvent for one more year, not twenty and beyond as it is today. Both men were wise enough to recognize Social Security was not part of the general budget for running the country. They didn’t point fingers and assign blame. They didn’t talk about retirees as if they were draining the budget. They put aside ideological differences. They focused on Social Security and Social Security alone. And, with his famous statement, Ronald Reagan made it crystal clear to the American people, “Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.” So, both men wisely sat down to hammer out a deal to ensure the long term solvency of the trust fund. Their bi-partisan effort resulted in the Social Security Amendment of 1983, putting Social Security on the solid ground on which it stands today. Yes. It is on solid ground today and for the next twenty years.
Neither Obama nor Boehner have shown the leadership of Reagan and O’Neill. Not in their willingness to enlighten the American public as Reagan so specifically did. Not in their willingness to reach across party lines and hammer out a deal to rework Social Security without eroding it’s benefits to the people who funded it. Accordingly, folks, it’s become the responsibility of the American people to tell these two public servants what the public wants. No, it becomes the responsibility of the American people to DEMAND action. If you haven’t called or emailed Misters Obama and Boehner, now is the time to do so. It’s easy. Really. I’ve provided links and phone numbers below. Make your voice heard. All you have to do is remind them of Reagan and O’Neill and tell them, “Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.”
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments or (202) 456-1111
http://www.speaker.gov/contact or (202)225-0600