[saymaListserv] Fwd: Re: [afmdiscussion] The New York Times Opinion Editorial About Social Security "Shortfall"

Janet Minshall jhminshall at comcast.net
Fri Mar 25 20:27:36 JEST 2005

Hi Roy and Atlanta and SAYMA Friends, This has 
been a topic of discussion on the Jewish Friends 
List. You might find the following two messages 

>Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 21:46:11 -0500
>To: jewishfriends at topica.com
>From: Janet  Minshall <jhminshall at comcast.net>
>Subject: Re: [JF] Concern Over Federal Budget
>Hi Joy and Jewish Friends, Thanks so much, Joy, 
>for posting that info on the march in 
>Washington.  I feel better knowing that SOMEONE 
>feels strongly enough about the budget and 
>related issues of faith to get out and protest. 
>I would have been there had I been well enough 
>and known about it in time. As it is I'm "all 
>stove up" and living precariously on SS 
>Disability and wondering if people just don't 
>understand what the attacks on Social Security 
>and the progressive income tax system that we 
>have (where the rich pay more taxes than the 
>poor) will actually achieve if they are 
>A flat tax or a value added tax system such as 
>Bush has proposed would require the poor, 
>disabled and elderly, as well as the middle 
>class to accept a larger share of the country's 
>tax burden so that the rich could be relieved of 
>the onerous weight of helping to maintain an 
>equitable society. Even some of the very rich, 
>such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, have 
>spoken out against implementing such a tax plan. 
>(I guess they had to have some smarts to make 
>all that money in the first place.)  And trying 
>to put our Social Security safety net into 
>private accounts, so that individuals without 
>enough information on investing could be blamed 
>when there wasn't enough money in their accounts 
>to get them through disability or retirement, is 
>just plain malevolent.
>As many of you know, I write from time to time 
>on political economics. When George Bush was 
>first elected and immediately came out with a 
>tax cut for the wealthy, I and many other 
>economists thought that what he was after was 
>spending down the federal budget to the point 
>where Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid 
>could not be maintained.
>The way we got to where we are is that Congress, 
>for many years, failed to put the money 
>collected for Social Security into Social 
>Security.  Instead, each year, the money was 
>called a "surplus" and was spent for both 
>general budget and "pork barrel" line items. 
>Now, when Social Security needs that money, it 
>has already been spent and suddenly Bush tell us 
>there is a "crisis" in Social Security, and (by 
>the way) in Medicare and Medicaid too. There 
>isn't any crisis in Social Security.  We are 
>just facing the point where Congress should be 
>made to admit its past mistakes and restore 
>funds to the Social Security Trust Fund that 
>they have squandered over the years.
>In his first term there were estimates from 
>economists that by rescinding just 50% of Bush's 
>huge tax cuts all those bad decisons by Congress 
>concerning the Social Security Trust Fund could 
>be remedied. Now Bush wants the huge tax cuts to 
>be made permanent, Social Security to be 
>privatized, and Medicaid to be "rethought". Need 
>I say that there is no Social Security crisis -- 
>there is a Bush crisis.  He isn't representing 
>ordinary people.  He is crudely representing the 
>wealthy and what he construes to be the best 
>interest of corporations. Interestingly, 
>however, many spokespersons for corporate 
>interests see his plans as devastating to US 
>society.  Even many corporate types on Wall 
>Street are unsupportive of his plan to put 
>Social Security funds in their laps.
>I've gotten away from issues of faith, but not 
>really.  Taking the part of the poor, the 
>disabled and the elderly and maintaining an 
>equitable and just society are the aims of both 
>Jews and Christians as stated in their holy 

>I'd march for that!                 Janet Minshall
>>Friends, I don't usually post political things 
>>(except this week!), but when I read this, I 
>>thought it might be worth sharing.
>>People of Faith Declare Proposed 2006 Federal Budget Immoral
>>Hundreds Attend March 14 Rally at United States Capitol Building
>>Washington, D.C., March 14, 2005 - As the U.S. 
>>Senate began debating the 2006 fiscal year 
>>budget resolution yesterday, more than 300 
>>people of faith participated in a rally on 
>>Capitol Hill to declare that the federal budget 
>>that has been proposed by the Bush 
>>Administration does not reflect their values.
>>In the rally, sponsored by the National Council 
>>of Churches USA (NCC) and The Interfaith 
>>Alliance (TIA), people of faith from across the 
>>country gathered at the United Methodist 
>>Building, located at 100 Maryland Ave., NE, and 
>>marched to the West front of the U.S. Capitol 
>>to speak out against the proposed budget, which 
>>favors military spending and tax breaks for the 
>>wealthy and corporations and largely ignores 
>>the needs of the poor, children, the elderly, 
>>families and communities.
>>The rally came on the heels of the 2005 
>>Ecumenical Advocacy Days event, which drew 
>>close to 900 Christian pastors, ministers and 
>>church leaders from across the country and 
>>worldwide. The event began on Friday, March 11 
>>and ended yesterday with participants visiting 
>>their representatives in Congress and 
>>participating in the rally.
>>The Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, NCC General Secretary, 
>>encouraged rally participants to remind their 
>>representatives in Congress that "this budget 
>>is immoral and does not reflect the values we 
>>hold as people of faith. The proposed budget 
>>spends about half on defense and the deficit 
>>but very little on addressing the needs of the 
>>poor, the dispossessed, children and those who 
>>are most in need."
>>Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for 
>>Reform Judaism, the largest American Jewish 
>>congregation, said, "We are here today to say 
>>that when we look at this budget, we see that 
>>American politics right now are fundamentally 
>>broken - corrupted by abuse, world 
>>indifference, and politicians who spend their 
>>days dialing for dollars."
>>He went on to say that the task of people of 
>>faith is to share their bread with the hungry 
>>and "to send a message to our President and to 
>>leaders of both parties that despite squalor 
>>for the poor and gated communities for the 
>>rich, the great majority of Americans have not 
>>given up on 'We, the People.'"
>>According to Arun Gandhi, grandson of the 
>>founder of the nonviolence movement, Mohandas 
>>Gandhi, and founder/president of the M.K. 
>>Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence as well as a 
>>member of the Board of Directors of The 
>>Interfaith Alliance, "The 2006 budget is 
>>immoral because while it cuts programs that 
>>help the poor and the needy it showers presents 
>>on the rich. Clearly, this budget seeks to make 
>>the rich richer while reducing the poor to 
>>Believing that the budget is a moral document, 
>>those gathered offered an alternative vision of 
>>the federal budget - one that rather than 
>>further burden the poor, families, and 
>>communities would provide them with the tools 
>>to meet their basic needs such as access to 
>>nutritious food and quality child care, 
>>accessible and affordable housing, 
>>comprehensive and affordable health care, high 
>>quality education at every stage of life, a 
>>fair and just tax system, job creation and a 
>>livable income to sustain their future.
>>Rev. Dr. Welton Gaddy, President of The 
>>Interfaith Alliance, led participants in a 
>>litany that declared, "Fairness, compassion, 
>>integrity, and justice are the moral principles 
>>that should drive the crafting of the federal 
>>budget. As a moral document, the federal budget 
>>should not, and cannot, be built on the backs 
>>of the poor, the elderly and future 
>>Three Members of Congress also joined the rally 
>>and offered remarks, Congresswomen Lynn 
>>Woolsey, (CA-6th), Lois Capps (CA-23rd) and 
>>Donna M. Christensen (D-U.S. Virgin Islands). 
>>Rep. Woolsey, who conducted a workshop on SMART 
>>Security (Sensible, Multilateral American 
>>Response to Terrorism) at the 2005 Ecumenical 
>>Advocacy Days, spoke of a time in her life when 
>>she was on welfare although she is educated and 
>>in good health. She thanked the rally 
>>participants for speaking out and urged those 
>>gathered to continue to advocate for a budget 
>>that helped those living in poverty.
>>"Don't think for a minute that you aren't being 
>>heard. If they (Members of Congress) think 
>>they'll lose their jobs over this, they will 
>>listen," she said.
>>Rep. Christensen encouraged participants to say 
>>no to the tax cuts for the wealthy that have 
>>been proposed by the Bush Administration. 
>>"Giving the richest people in the country more 
>>money takes away from educating our children. 
>>It robs our people, our families and 
>>communities of the opportunity to compete on a 
>>fair playing field. It takes safe, strong roofs 
>>from over our heads, and leaves us at salaries 
>>below a living wage or without any job at all," 
>>she said.
>>Quoting President Bush's 2005 State of the 
>>Union address in which he said that society is 
>>measured by how it treats the weak and 
>>vulnerable, the Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, 
>>NCC Associate General Secretary for Justice and 
>>Advocacy, asked, "The President said he wants 
>>to 'pass along freedom'but how can we 
>>experience freedom when the basic values of our 
>>society are mocked by a budget that makes so 
>>many morally indefensible choices?"

>List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:afmdiscussion-unsubscribe at yahoogroups.com>
>Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2005 11:20:58 -0500
>Subject: Re: [afmdiscussion] The New York Times 
>Opinion  Editorial About Social Security 
>None of the current reports speak to the issue that we have used SS funds
>throughout the years to finance any number of budget shortfall programs of
>the federal government and if that money was still in the system we would
>have much less of a problem today (or 2041).
>>  Hi,
>>  Good Number Cruching story from today's New York Times.
>>  Social Security NOT in danger of going bankrupt.
>>  Just in danger of being used as a distraction from other goings on in the
>>  country and world.
>>  Free
>  >
>>  2005 <http://www.nytco.com/>The New York Times Company
>>  March 24, 2005
>>  About That Number
>>  t
>>  he Social Security trustees issued their annual report yesterday and said
>>  that by one measure, the shortfall in Social Security's finances jumped
>>  from $10.4 trillion last year to about $11 trillion this year. Eleven
>>  trillion dollars! The trustees, in service to President Bush's alarmist
>>  warnings about the need to do something drastic about Social Security, are
>>  dishing up some misleading numbers.
>>  It's bad enough that the trustees began some of their calculations with
>>  that $10.4 trillion figure. It's arrived at by projecting the system's
>>  shortfall over infinity, rather than the usual 75-year time frame - as if
>>  the system's finances 10,000 years from now are a legitimate policy
>>  concern. Moreover, no less an authority than the American Academy of
>>  Actuaries is already on record debunking infinite projections as conveying
>>  "little if any useful information about the program's long-range finances"
>>  and "likely to mislead anyone lacking technical expertise ... into
>>  believing that the program is in far worse financial condition than is
>>  actually indicated."
>>  Compounding the subterfuge is that the difference between this year's $11
>>  trillion eyepopper and last year's number - $600 billion - is being used
>>  as
>>  evidence of a scary deterioration in Social Security's finances. That's
>>  just wrong. The two monster numbers are actually the same quantity -
>>  different ways of expressing an unchanging level of debt at two different
>>  points in time. If you owe someone $1,000 in 10 years, for instance, you
>>  could retire the debt now with $500, or next year with $530. Your level of
>>  debt doesn't change, just the time point.
>>  Some people who interpret the numbers as a deterioration appear to be
>>  confused. But others, like President Bush, are being deliberately
>>  alarmist.
>>  Mr. Bush's persistent misstatements on Social Security leave little doubt
>>  that he wants Americans to believe that the system is irretrievably broken
>>  so that they will buy into his unnecessary privatization plan.
>  >
>>  Fortunately, the unpoliticized numbers in yesterday's report are not
>>  overly
>>  dire. Using a 75-year time horizon, the trustees project that the system
>>  will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, at which time it will be
>>  able
>>  to pay 74 percent of the promised benefits, falling to 68 percent by 2079.
>>  That works out to a gap of $4 trillion, which could be bridged with modest
>>  tax increases and benefit cuts, phased in over the next few decades. If
>>  people try to tell you different, they need to be set straight.
>>  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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