If They Have to Tell You It's SAFE, It's Probably Not
June 7, 2011 - 2:34pm ET
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For George Rosenblit who worked tirelessly in the IL-10 to protect seniors and future seniors right up until his death on Saturday. George was 87 years old.
Republican House members are pushing the old Savings Account For Every American Act again. It's gone through several incarnations since first rejected in 2005. It was rejected again in 2007. House Republicans keep using the same tired name for the bill that incrementally privatizes Social Security because it spells out SAFE (actually, it spells out SAFEA Act, but anti-education Republicans don't really get whan an A is anyway).
The point is that we're supposed to want to pull our Social Security tax contributions out of really safe US Treasury investments and put them into the much more risky Wall Street market of stocks and bonds. If we susupect it's not safe to do so, and no fiduciary would tell you that it's safe to do so, Congress tells us that these investments are safe by namign this ridiculous bill SAFE.
The reason we're supposed to want to abandon a regulated and protected Social Security trust fund to an anything goes Wall Street is because the government is untrustworthy, but Wall Street financiers and bankers are. Bob Dold is all for this bill and the privatization of Social Security. Go figure.
The bill's ongoing sponsor, Pete Sessions, justified the bill to The Hill by saying that "[o]ur nation's Social Security Trust Fund is depleting at an alarming rate...."
The thing is that it's not. The Social Security Trust Fund is depleting at a rate that's only about four years off of original predictions. A lot of what caused the earlier depletion prediction has to do with low wages and joblessness that Republicans don't want to address. They pushed wealth up to a small group of already wealthy people, and those wealthy people's contribution to Social Security is capped at the low low discount price of $106,800, so there is less total contribution into the trust fund. The math is simple and the cap hasn't changed in a few years.
They could eliminate the cap and require the wealthy to pay in their fair share. They could tax the wealthy and use the funds to create jobs so the rest of us whose Social Security contribution is not capped pay in more. They don't because Republicans prefer to keep wealth at the top, cut retirement benefits to the rest of us and force us to risk the pittance that's left with their their wealthy banker friend/campaign contributors and their new and innovative investment products like...say... mortgage backed securities. That seems "SAFE" (if not safe) to me, doesn't it seem so to you?
See the Strengthen Social Security campaign website for more information about Social Security.
I'm writing a series of posts as a blogging fellow for the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, a coalition of more than 270 national and state organizations.
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