[saymaListserv] Fwd: Re: [afmdiscussion] The New York Times Opinion Editorial About Social Security "Shortfall"
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,"
>>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'Šbut 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).
>> 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.
>> 2005 <http://www.nytco.com/>The New York Times Company
>> March 24, 2005
>> About That Number
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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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