ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Postponing the Day of Reckoning - BOOMSDAY!

Investor's Business Daily has a good editorial lambasting the Washington Media establishment for their complacence in allowing politicians (and the AARP) to downplay the looming Social Security Crisis.

The Washington Post, New York Times and Associated Press all led off their stories on the latest Social Security and Medicare trustees' projections by pointing out that Social Security isn't expected to deplete its trust fund reserves until 2041. This supports the contention of Democratic politicians and the AARP that the day of reckoning is more than three decades away, so reform is not an urgent need,
The reality of situation is more dire. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. It cannot continue forever under its current incantation. It must either raise taxes on the young, cut benefits on the old (or worse, on the young through diminished social services) or borrow money (pushing the problem further down the road).
"While current trust fund reserves provide the authority to cover the first $2 trillion of this funding shortfall before being depleted, Treasury must still come up with this amount in future cash," wrote John Palmer, a Democrat, and Thomas Saving, a Republican.
In other words, the trust fund "reserves" are not reserves at all. How do goverments raise cash? Raising taxes. Or doing away with their previous obligations.

Which brings me to one of the most recent books I read, Boomsday! by Christopher Buckley. It's a hilarious illustration of a very near future when Baby Boomer retirees are living in gated communities, as the youth of America faced with increasing taxes on their livelihood while they watch Boomers ride around on their segways and playing golf, effectively riot.

Buckley accurately describes the incest that goes on in modern day Washington. At one point in the book, a "voluntary transitioning" bill to---ahem, "move"---Boomers off of the Social Security roles, gets loaded with extra Boomer pork. Free healthcare, free Segway maintenance, etc completely ignoring the problem the legislation was supposed to solve, and in fact making things worse.

Highly recommended.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Comments (2)
St Wendeler said...

Just starting Boomsday (expect to finish it later this week while traveling), but so far I have to echo Brian's sentiments.

One thing that I'm amazed about with regard to the Soshsecurity nightmare is that people are just unwilling to look at the facts.

Stephen Colbert idiotically called for us to grow our way out of the impending social security doomsday - although, it's difficult to determine whether this was a policy prescription that he believed in or whether it was him impersonating Bill "I'm a Pinhead" O'Reilly.

Even people who are supposed to be intelligent critics of our society and public policy don't "get" the problem. We can't grow our way out because soshsecurity is indexed to wage growth. So, as the economy grows, so grows the payments to each retiree. As the retiree base grows, so grows the overall drain on the federal budget. And as the retirement payments grow, so grow the political futures of those "protecting soshsecurity."

Saving Soshsecurity was a popular topic for me, back in the day when W was being courageous and jumping up & down on the 3rd rail. Remember when my 3 year old (now 5) told me that Soshsecurity is for suckers?

St Wendeler said...

Tagged Social Security Posts here...

Need to add a section where tagged topics can be accessed easier.