Social Security is Already Bankrupt

Social Security is often called "the third rail of American politics."  It is a program which puts the federal government in the position of guaranteeing retirement money for anyone who lives 65 years.  Of course the federal government is not authorized to undertake such business, as there is nothing in the Constitution which authorizes direct payments to individuals.  Saving and investing for a comfortable retirement is the business of banks and credit unions.
The IRS started requiring Social Security numbers on tax returns in 1962.
This material came from Over the years the Social Security number has become a de facto national identification number, and may end up on your National ID Card even though everyone was assured that would never happen when Social Security numbers were first assigned.  Back then, had the public been able to foresee today's use of the Social Security number as a serial number for every worker, no doubt the program would have met with great opposition.

Quoting from CPSR:
For the first few decades that SSN cards were issued, they carried the admonition: "Not to be used for Identification." Unfortunately there was never any law passed instituting this as a policy. The Social Security Agency was apparently attempting to instill good values in the citizens, but was apparently unsuccessful in preventing government encroachment into this territory.
Today, Social Security "contributions" are withheld from the paychecks of people (like me) who are given little or no realistic hope of ever seeing that money again.  It is therefore just another federal tax.  "Guarding Social Security" is a way to buy votes, or to frighten the elderly into voting for the people who are most likely to perpetuate the system.  But the government's hollow promise of assuming responsibility for an infinite pool of retirement money is not just hard to believe — for young wage earners especially, it is beginning to look like a colossal hoax and a cruel scam.  With the recipients living longer and becoming more numerous, many people consider it one of the greatest pyramid schemes of all time.

The whole notion of retirement is a relatively new concept.  The Bible (that is, the authorized King James Version) mentions nothing about retirement — apparently we're supposed to keep working until we die.

Some of the information on this page pertains to the use and abuse of the Social Security Number as a national identifier.  More information can be found on this page.

All the information about Medicare, Medicaid, and prescription drug benefits for senior citizens is now on this page.

Note:  Federal, state and local governments spent a total of $747.1 billion on pensions in 2006.*

Social Security Won't Give You Security.  Social Security is going broke.  When this government program was set up in 1935, the average life expectancy was 60.  But you couldn't collect your first check until you reached 65.  In other words, most people didn't live long enough to receive Social Security.  And most of those who did, didn't collect it for very long.  Today, the average lifespan is 79.  So now, most people do live long enough to receive Social Security — for 10, or 20, or even 30 years.  Here's another important piece of information:  When the program started, the ratio between worker and retiree was 159 to 1.  That means for every one person drawing benefits, 159 were paying in.  Today the ratio is 2.8 to 1.  Get that?  We've gone from 159 workers supporting every retired person to fewer than three workers supporting every retiree.  And it's going down.  You don't need an advanced math degree to figure this one out:  Social Security is spending more than it's bringing in.

Is Social Security savable?  Milton Friedman once observed, "If the government ran the Sahara, in five years there would be a shortage of sand."  He was right.  The government has run Social Security for more than 80 years, and now there is a shortage of security.  At this point, the experts believe that someone who is 79 years old today is likely to outlive the system's ability to pay scheduled benefits.

Christie: Social Security, Medicare cuts are a necessary 'political risk' in today's economy.  Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said it's time to take a "political risk" and consider changes to Social Security and Medicare benefits for young people.  Changes to the programs are necessary, otherwise they could run out of money for everyone in about a decade as the country faces a rising national debt, the presidential candidate said.  "The most disgusting part of Joe Biden's State of the Union address this year was when he stood up, and he said, 'We'll all agree, right?  We're not going to do anything to Social Security?' And both sides got up and cheered," Christie said at conservative radio host Erick Erickson's conference in Atlanta on Saturday.  "[They're] a group of liars and cowards, because they know that in 10 years, Medicare will be bankrupt.  And in 11 years, Social Security will be bankrupt."

Social Security is running out of money.  Today in news that should shock no one:  Social Security is running out of money.  Yesterday was the program's 88th birthday and socialists were celebrating and promising to expand it. [...] In other words, promising to do nothing will set the entire system on a course for disaster.  There are really only two ways out of this.

Buffoon alert: WaPo staffer announces solutions for national debt crisis.  For months, the economic geniuses and budget experts at The Washington Post have worked tirelessly to come up with ways to handle our $32 trillion debt; just look at this excerpt from an article out yesterday and written by assistant editor Drew Goins:  ["]Over the past few months, the Editorial Board has been doing what lawmakers haven't:  pulling together a plan to stabilize the national debt.["]  Let's take a look at the proposals, starting with Social Security:  ["]What the board proposes is a broadening of the amount of income the Social Security tax is levied on; a gradual increase of the full retirement age to keep up with rising life expectancy; and a decrease in how much very-high-income households receive in benefits ... while increasing what low-income homes get.["]  They want to levy higher taxes against private employees and employers (maybe even the retirees?) to cover an unpayable debt, but fail to suggest that the federal employees receiving the generous pensions and healthcare benefits pay more to support the system that rewards them the most.  They suggested cutting from the top, but didn't think to cap federal pensions.

The World's Largest Ponzi Scheme.  Americans are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg of their own trillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, Social Security ("SSA").  Signed into law in 1935 by FDR during the heart of the Great Depression, workers were told that Social Security was intended to provide a safety net parallel to retirement systems that existed in Europe.  The retirement age was set at 65.  Americans were required to pay into the fund through payroll deductions their employers collected.  Most Americans were "covered" by the system, and it was later expanded to cover household workers and others who were excluded initially.  The system is structured to be a regressive income tax covering most workers' wages up to $160,200 per year, with no limit on the parallel Medicare withholding.  When FDR was garnering praise for helping the working class, the average life expectancy in the United States was only 60.7 years.  So, while most workers would pay into the system, few would live long enough to collect benefits.  In contrast, by 2020, the average American life expectancy had surged to 78.81 years.  This is just one of the problems with the SSA's structure that has brought America to the current financial cliff.

The Social Security dilemma.  There is a structural difference between the challenges implied by the debt ceiling discussion under consideration on Capitol Hill and the financial imbalances of Social Security.  The former is a matter of how much money Congress spent in the past that we didn't have, while the other is a problem of how much money the program will not spend in the future.  Typically, not spending money does not drive deficits.  So, there is a bit of sleight of hand.  The experts of today are worried that voters at some point in the future might decide to pay beneficiaries scheduled benefits regardless of the program's ability to pay them.  The politicians of today on the other hand are worried that voters won't step in, leaving a generation of voters wondering what happened to the sacred trust of which politicians are so enamored.

Some misconceptions about Social Security.  Social Security (S.S.) is not an entitlement.  Why can't anyone, including the Wall Street Journal, get it right?  Entitlement programs are paid for by U.S. taxpayers.  Those persons receiving benefits do not pay for the benefits.  Social Security is a funded program paid for by workers.  Upon retirement, they receive benefits from the program, not taxpayers.  All workers pay into Social Security (matched dollar for dollar by the employer).  Self-employed persons pay double that of an employee.

American Despotism.  According to the Social Security Board of Trustees, the program will continue to pay out more than it collects until 2034, after which it will have exhausted its asset reserves of $2.9 trillion.  The program has a present underfunding of $13.2 trillion.  It estimates up to a 21 percent across-the-board cut in benefits for existing and future retirees to sustain payouts.  Medicare funds will be exhausted by 2026.

Social Security is Running Out of Time and Money, What Do Biden and Trump Propose?  While Trump promised to not touch SS, Biden said he would protect SS "without any change".  Biden's "guarantee" is impossible, by existing law.  The pledge to not change a thing means automatic benefit cuts starting in 2033 according to the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Biden Fiddles While Social Security Burns.  The latest Social Security annual report, projecting that the Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2033, a year sooner than previously thought, politely explains that the Trustees "reassessed their expectations for the economy in light of recent developments."  What recent developments, you ask?  Rising inflation, declining output, weakened GDP forecast, and worsening labor productivity.  In other words, this is another bitter fruit from President Joe Biden's poisoned economic tree.

Social Security to become insolvent in 10 years if 'no legislative action' taken, officials warn.  Social Security trust funds are projected to become insolvent over the next decade if lawmakers don't take legislative action to preserve the health insurance program, according to the most recent report by the Social Security Board of Trustees.  If no action is taken, Social Security is set to become depleted by 2033 — one year earlier than previous estimates, according to the report.  The most recent projections come as lawmakers remain split on how to fund the welfare program, and negotiations remain stalled over next year's budget.

The Editor says...
As someone said (somewhere on the internet) recently, why is Social Security running out of money, but the welfare state isn't?  We paid into Social Security all our lives, but the shiftless freeloaders on welfare haven't contributed a thing, and most of them are too lazy to work.

Somewhat related:
Woman, 50, faces criminal trial in France after being arrested for 'publicly insulting' President Macron.  A woman has been arrested in France and faces a criminal trial for posting a slogan referring to President Emmanuel Macron as 'garbage' on social media.  The 50-year-old, who asked to be referred to by her first name of Valerie, was placed in police custody for the alleged offence.  She is accused of 'publicly insulting' the French President, who has witnessed millions take to the streets in protest to his controversial move to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a parliamentary vote.

Are Republicans Trying to Destroy Social Security?  Following his State of the Union Address, President Biden has been on the attack over the GOPs' many proposals to reform Social Security.  Before you react to the talking points, you should ask:  Is there any validity to Biden's concerns?  To even the casual observer, Biden's apprehensions concerning the GOP's Social Security reform proposals appear to ignore one basic fact — and likely the most important one.  There is not a Republican plan or even lone Republican member of Congress pushing reductions to benefits on the scale that Social Security is scheduled to reduce checks going to seniors on its own when the trust fund is exhausted.  That is zero.  In its fact sheet, the Biden administration claims that congressional Republicans have repeatedly tried to privatize Social Security.  In reality, the last time a Republican put forward a plan to privatize Social Security was more than a decade ago.

Beating Democrats on Social Security Reform.  The greatest myth sustaining the widespread popularity and legitimacy of Social Security is that recipients are simply getting back what they paid into it.  Therefore, Republicans must convert this myth into reality to change the conversation and bypass the conventional unpalatable options for saving the Trust Fund:
  •   Raising the retirement age.
  •   Raising payroll tax rates.
  •   Raising the current $160,200 maximum for payroll taxes.
  •   Raising the percentage of Social Security benefits subject to income taxation.
Each of these options is off the table because Trump, McConnell, and McCarthy know they are election-year kryptonite.

Senators are considering raising the retirement age to 70.  A group of bipartisan senators is quietly meeting to retool Social Security before funds run out in 2032.  On the table, according to Semafor, is gradually raising the retirement age to 70 and creating a $1.5 trillion sovereign wealth fund, which would invest in stocks.  That fund would be separate from the already existing Social Security Trust Fund.  If it underperformed, Social Security would be shored up by increasing the maximum taxable income and payroll taxes.

Social Security is Broke, but American Taxpayers Just Gave Ukrainian Pensioners a Double-Digit Raise.  As American taxpayers paying into Social Security today stare down the barrel toward substantial cuts to their own benefits, estimated to take place in 2034, they can at least take solace in knowing that all categories of Ukrainian pensioners will get a 20% raise in March 2023.  "As early as this March," says Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, "the government will index pensions by 20%" for about 10 million Ukrainians.  Indexing the payments "is not mandatory according to the Law of Ukraine on the State Budget for 2023," but benevolent President Zelensky has instructed them to reprice the benefits upwards anyway.  And why wouldn't he?  His government is swimming in American cash.  Americans have spent more than $100 billion on aid to Ukraine.  And, as the notoriously corrupt Ukrainian government is undoubtedly well aware, money is fungible.

Cuts Are Coming to Social Security and Medicare Whether the Politicians Want Them or Not.  Social Security and Medicare are on an "unsustainable course" and will run out of funds by 2037. That's the conclusion reached by the General Accountability Office (GAO) and the Social Security Administration.  There is no saving these programs without massive changes.  And demagoguing the issue, as Joe Biden and the Democrats are doing, only delays the day of reckoning.  To pretend these programs don't need intervention now — right now — is to play with dynamite.  The sooner we can get started, the less pain will be inflicted on senior citizens.  Pain there will be.  In order to put these programs on the path to long-term viability, it will take political courage absent from today's politicians.

Sunset Social Security or wage world war.  For those who are not in the grips of emotion, conservatives have been warning about these entitlements, or payments made to citizens instead of to an agency, since they began with the income tax in 1913.  Our forefathers back then told people that any free program becomes an alternative to the responsible way of doing things, so people shift their costs to the free program and soon demands expand toward infinity.  Infinite demand leads to Soviet-style collapse.  Since the income tax began and funded the entitlements, government spending in this sector has risen over a hundredfold and now is the major item in our budgets.  Our economy changed since 1950 from being free market to being government-directed because such a huge part of our economy consists of payments from D.C.  A quick look at our budget shows that of our $4.8[trillion] mandatory spending every year, $4[trillion] of it comprises three programs — Social Security, Medicare, and welfare — and that this swelling has caused our inflation crisis by diluting our money supply since WW II.  Fast forward a few decades and we have $32[trillion] in debt, almost all of it from entitlements.  We can repay war loans but no one can stop the slow grinding advance of the free stuff from government, and a sensible observer will note that leftism has risen along with the entitlements.  The more people who depend on the free stuff, the more people vote leftist, especially among the young.

The Perversion of Self Respect.  When the Social Security Act was created in 1935, 27 workers paid for every retiree.  By 2035, which is not that far away, that ratio could fall to 2!  And, greatly increased Social Security benefits will not be paid without help from the U.S. Treasury and/or reducing benefits to retirees.  We need our Millennials and Gen Z generation to emulate their parents, step up, and have financially productive careers.

Biden's Big Lie About Social Security and Medicare.  emocrats and the corporate media have often accused former President Donald Trump of using a propaganda strategy called the "Big Lie" to convince Americans that the 2020 election was stolen. [...] Essentially, it involves relentlessly repeating a colossal lie until the public eventually comes to believe it.  It is little wonder that the Democrats and the Fourth Estate are so familiar with this strategy — they employ it themselves every election cycle.  Their Big Lie of choice is the perennial claim that the Republicans are plotting to gut Social Security and Medicare.  President Joe Biden repeated that yarn during last week's State of the Union address:  "Republicans say if we don't cut Social Security and Medicare, they'll let America default on its debt for the first time in our history."  After being loudly booed for that whopper, he went on to say, "If anyone tries to cut Social Security ... and if anyone tries to cut Medicare, I'll stop them."  This is an ironic assertion coming from a man who, as a U.S. senator, once bragged about his own attempts to cut both programs.

Joe Biden Tried to Sunset Social Security, All Other Federal Programs as a Senator.  Joe Biden introduced legislation that would sunset all federal programs, including social security, every four years when he was a freshman United States senator in 1975.  On Tuesday night at the State of the Union, Biden stated that "some Republicans" wish to "sunset" social security and Medicare, leading to significant pushback from GOP lawmakers on the House floor while millions watched. [...] But Biden made an even more aggressive proposal when he represented Delaware in the United States Senate, seeking "to sunset all federal programs, including social security and Medicare," every four years, Fox News reported, when he introduced S. 2067 on July 19, 1975.  Biden's central argument for reviewing all programs was the rapid increase of the federal budget.

Republicans Must Take the Lead in Reforming Social Security and Medicare.  The last president to reform Social Security was Ronald Reagan.  He formed the Greenspan Commission to formulate solutions to problems the program faced.  Reagan then worked with speaker of the House Tip O'Neill to enact the solutions.  Social Security as we know it would have ended decades ago had he not been successful. [...] President Reagan was not a supporter of large government programs.  In a 1964 speech, he said, "No government ever reduces itself in size.  So government programs, once launched, never disappear.  Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth."  However, by the time Reagan became president, he understood that the program was embedded in the lives of the American people, and he would better serve them by sustaining it.  Reagan accomplished what seems improbable today.  He reached a bipartisan consensus.

This simple fix could help save Social Security.  Social Security Trust Funds have squandered billions of dollars on an antiquated investment policy.  That loss tells us a lot about the financial crisis coming to Social Security.  In 2019, Social Security lost roughly $1 billion because the system invests the excess reserves on exactly the wrong minute of the year.  Any other day or any minute early in the day, saves the program money.  It is 2023, and the beat goes on.  Over the course of 2022, Social Security redeemed more than $100 billion in high-yield debt, and lost nearly $5 billion in interest earnings in the process.  The program just gave it away.  Here is the problem: Social Security generally needs cash to pay its bills in the back half of the year.  Unfortunately, the program locks up all its loose cash on June 30.  So, starting July 1, the program needs to redeem bonds, and the Treasury Department picks the wrong bonds for redemption based on a policy that literally dates back to the era of black-and-white TV.

Kristi Noem Speaks Out After Federal Agencies Leak Her Social Security Number.  Gov. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) is demanding answers after her Social Security Number was leaked by the federal government in a document related to the House Select Committee's investigation of the Jan. 6 protests.  In a letter addressed to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Noem's lawyers condemned the security breach, asking to know how the agencies plan to combat the high-risk issue.  "Gov. Noem and her family are now at very high risk of identity theft and being personally compromised due to the failure to redact the social security numbers and make the same available to the public," the letter reads.  Noem's husband, three children, and her son-in-law's Social Security Numbers were also leaked.

Social Security Spent $250M on System It Doesn't Use.  When reviewing applications for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration consults an obsolete directory last updated in 1977, despite having spent $250 million on a newer, more relevant one.  The SSA relies on a 45-year-old job titles database, filled with jobs like "Document Preparer, Microfilming," "Telephone Quotation Clerk" and "Nut Sorter" to deny thousands of claims a year, The Washington Post reported.  When disabled Americans apply for SSA disability benefits, they can have their applications denied if the agency finds that they can still work in a job title listed in their directory.  But many of those jobs don't exist anymore or exist in far fewer numbers as work has become more automated, The Post reported.  Jobs like sorting nuts, inspecting dowels, and processing eggs are done by machines, yet those jobs are still listed in the old directory and used to reject claims.  And that's after the SSA spent $250 million since 2012 to build a new directory of 21st century jobs, with the cost expected to reach $300 million.

Fact check: Biden's midterms message includes false and misleading claims.  [For example,] Biden said at a Democratic fundraiser in Pennsylvania last week:  "On our watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are going to get the biggest increase in their Social Security checks they've gotten."  He has also touted the 2023 increase in Social Security payments at other recent events.  But Biden's boasts leave out such critical context that they are highly misleading.  He hasn't explained that the increase in Social Security payments for 2023, 8.7%, is unusually big simply because the inflation rate has been unusually big.  A law passed in the 1970s says that Social Security payments must be increased by the same percentage that a certain measure of inflation has increased.  It's called a cost-of-living adjustment. [...] Biden said at a Democratic rally in Florida on Tuesday: "And on my watch, for the first time in 10 years, seniors are getting an increase in their Social Security checks."  The claim that the 2023 increase to Social Security payments is the first in 10 years is false.  In reality, there has been a cost-of-living increase every year from 2017 onward.

White House deletes 'flagged' tweet crediting Biden for Social Security pay increase.  On Wednesday, the White House was humiliated once again when it was forced to delete a tweet that had credited "President Biden's leadership" for the bump in Social Security payments after being flagged by Twitter as being inaccurate.  The increase in Social Security checks is actually due to a 40-year high in inflation, which ironically, Biden is responsible for.  "Seniors are getting the biggest increase in their Social Security checks in 10 years through President Biden's leadership," the White House fibbed on Twitter Tuesday.  The original tweet was flagged on Twitter noting that many readers were adding "context" to it.  The White House did not say why the tweet was deleted but it was definitely noticed.

Joe Biden Is Lying To Americans About Medicare And Social Security's Insolvency.  A dozen years ago, Democrats faced a dilemma.  A long-term care entitlement known as the CLASS Act that they added to what became Obamacare faced serious solvency concerns.  But after Scott Brown, R-Mass., won a shock Senate victory for Republicans in a January 2010 special election, ending Democrats' filibuster-proof majority, Democrats didn't have the votes to alter the CLASS Act or remove it from Obamacare.  What did Democrats do?  The Obama administration suppressed the internal documents showing that the CLASS Act wouldn't work.

Social Security Will Allow People to Select Their 'Gender Identity' Going Forward.  The Social Security Administration announced this week that people will now be able to select the sex that most aligns with their "gender identity" in records going forward.  According to a press release from the SSA, the policy was created to be more inclusive to "transgender" and "gender diverse" Americans.  "The Social Security Administration's Equity Action Plan includes a commitment to decrease administrative burdens and ensure people who identify as gender diverse or transgender have options in the Social Security Number card application process," said Acting Commissioner Kijakazi in a statement.  "This new policy allows people to self-select their sex in our records without needing to provide documentation of their sex designation."

Social Security's 8.7% COLA Will Protect Retirees From Inflation, but Will Hasten Program's Insolvency.  The Social Security Administration announced Thursday that beneficiaries will receive an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment next year.  That's good news for seniors today who — like all other Americans — are struggling with rising costs, but it comes at the expense of a diminished Social Security system for current and future retirees.  Social Security is funded by current workers' payroll taxes, but since the average worker's wages increased only 4.1% over the past year, that means Social Security's revenues have increased at less than half the rate of its newly announced expenditure increase.  Add in the fact that there are 2.8 million fewer people working today compared with the pre-pandemic employment-to-population ratio, and Social Security's revenues are almost certainly below trend while its costs are above trend.  Even before this large COLA increase, Social Security was projected to run out of money to pay scheduled benefits in 2034.  Absent reform, that means that anyone who is 55 or younger today won't receive a single full Social Security benefit.

Social Security Announces Cost of Living Adjustment for 2023.  The Social Security Administration announced on Thursday that the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2023 will be 8.7%, the biggest increase in 40 years.  Seniors will begin seeing the increase in January.  The average increase in benefits will be $140, according to SSA.

Social Security COLA update expected to be boosted significantly due to inflation.  News reports say the upcoming cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security could be "huge," but the Senior Citizens League says it will still be unfair to seniors and not enough to compensate for their actual increased expenses.  "My COLA estimate has dropped to 8.7% almost a full percentage point from the 9.6% that I forecast last month.  That was a significant drop, but the Consumer Price Index, CPI-W, the index that Social Security benefits are based on, has decreased even [more] — by 1.10 percentage point year over year to 8.7%," noted Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare analyst for the League.

WaPo gives Sen. Patty Murray 'Four Pinocchios' for saying Republicans plan to 'end' Social Security, Medicare.  The Washington Post handed down four "Pinocchios" to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., for her claim warning of the "end" Social Security and Medicare if Republicans take control of Congress.  Murray, who is fighting in a tightening reelection battle against GOP challenger Tiffany Smiley, tweeted on Sunday, "Republicans plan to end Social Security and Medicare if they take back the Senate."  Glenn Kessler, the Post's fact-checker, characterized Murray's tweet as a "'Mediscare' attack" to win over senior voters.

Student loans and the decline of Social Security.  Last month, the Biden administration announced that it would wipe out an estimated $1 trillion owed to the county.  No vote, nor authorization from Congress.  The money simply appeared as if by magic.  While the administration's decision is limited to student loans, the existence of magic money is apt to cause problems for the broader government.  Specifically, it is likely going to be a problem for Social Security and those who depend upon the program.  In the case of Social Security, the program's finances have deteriorated over decades primarily because Congress has been unable to build any consensus on a suitable mix of higher taxes and benefits reductions.  As difficult as it has been to find that middle ground in the past, compromise will only become more elusive as voters seek to add more magic and less sacrifice.

Ever wonder how big Joe Biden's Social Security check is?  According to President Biden's tax return for last year, the first couple received a whopping $4,555 a month in Social Security benefits alone which put them well above what the average retired American brings home each month.  And that doesn't include all of their other streams of income.  Social Security just celebrated its 87th birthday.  It was signed into law in August 1935 and payouts began on Jan. 1, 1940.  It has become the safety net for more than 48 million retired Americans and many depend on a monthly check from the agency to survive.  The average Social Security check is $1,670.95, according to The Motley Fool.  A Gallup poll reports that 89 percent of surveyed retirees count on Social Security as a "major" or "minor" source of income.  That means only one in 10 Americans aren't reliant on Social Security income to get by during retirement.  The Bidens are in that group.

The average Social Security monthly check for retired people is $1,666.49.  [Thread reader]  Skyrocketing inflation has made it extremely difficult for many seniors to afford food or gas, and I'm starting to hear some very sad stories.  These past few years have been so difficult on people, but it has been extra hard for our grandparent's generation.  Not only were they more vulnerable to complications or death from Covid, w/ most in nursing homes being forced to be shut in alone or even die alone, now the broken economy and high inflation is taking a serious toll on many senior's ability to afford their basic needs to survive.  SS was never meant to fully pay for retired people's living expenses, but many senior citizens depend completely on their SS checks.  Our grandparents are from a proud generation raised in a different time and many won't ask for help even if they desperately need it.

Inflation has eroded 40% of Social Security's purchasing power since 2000.  Inflation is rapidly eroding the buying power of Social Security benefits, according to new research published this week.  The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan group that focuses on issues relating to older Americans, estimated on Wednesday that Social Security recipients have lost 40% of their buying power since 2000.  "That's the deepest loss in buying power since the beginning of this study in 2010," said Mary Johnson, a policy analyst at the Senior Citizens League who conducted the research.  Although Social Security benefits have climbed by 64% since 2000 thanks to cost-of-living adjustments, typical senior expenses through March 2022 have actually grown by more than double that rate — 130% — as consumer prices soar.

Anderson Cooper floats withholding Social Security from unvaxxed, fact-checkers lib-splain.  Social media exploded after a clip of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper appearing to suggest that the vaccine-hesitant could be denied Social Security was posted on Christmas Eve and drew a fierce response from Twitter users worried about the lengths to which the government might go to enforce compliance.  But don't be mad.  He didn't really mean what he said as an endorsement.  Outlets like AP have jumped to lib-splain his question as "only a question."  Thanks for clearing that up, guys!

Social Security COLA largest in decades as inflation jumps.  Millions of retirees on Social Security will get a 5.9% boost in benefits for 2022.  The biggest cost-of-living adjustment in 39 years follows a burst in inflation as the economy struggles to shake off the drag of the coronavirus pandemic.

Combined Social Security Trust Fund only 13 years away from insolvency, trustees report.  The national debt is around $123 trillion (more than four times what the Treasury Department reports) when accounting for factors like amounts owed in unfunded Social Security and Medicare benefits, Truth in Accounting argues.  The combined Social Security Trust Fund is only 13 years away from insolvency, according to the latest annual report published by its trustees, because of large, rising imbalances and deteriorating finances, among other factors.  Created by FDR's New Deal, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund — the nation's largest social welfare program — will deplete its reserves by 2033, while the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) trust fund will become insolvent by 2057.  These two funds combined are expected to exhaust their reserves by 2034, when individuals currently age 54 will reach their full retirement age.

What happens when the Social Security trust fund hits zero?  This week the Board of Trustees of the Social Security program released its annual report on the program's finances, finding that its trust fund is set to become insolvent in 2034, a year earlier than had been previously estimated.  But what does that mean?  What happens when the trust fund reaches zero?  The short answer is, "Nobody knows."  The slightly longer answer is, "It is up to Congress."  The most likely answer is, "Nothing."  Created in 1939, the Social Security trust fund is largely an accounting fiction.  Until 2010, the Social Security system took in more payroll tax revenue every year than it paid out in Social Security benefits.  This annual surplus was then "invested" in special issue U.S. Treasury bonds.  These paper IOUs are not real assets.  They cannot be traded on any market and can only be redeemed by the federal government.  In reality, the excess payroll tax revenue from the Social Security system has always just helped reduce the overall amount of debt the federal government has had to borrow from the public.

Social Security recipients may get biggest cost-of-living bump in almost 40 years.  The 69 million Americans who collect Social Security are on track to get the biggest cost-of-living hike since 1983, with one advocacy group for senior citizens projecting a 6.1% increase to benefits due to surging inflation.  The bad news:  Recipients will have to wait for that bump because the Social Security Administration adjusts its payments only once a year, starting with December benefits that are paid in January.  That means seniors and other Social Security beneficiaries wouldn't receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) until January 2022.

Biden Stimulus Delayed for Many Americans on Social Security.  Americans struggling to survive on federal benefits have waited weeks for word on their share of the $1.9 trillion stimulus.  Some of the country's most vulnerable citizens have been waiting weeks for the next round of promised financial aid from President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion "American Rescue Plan" coronavirus relief package, with no indication of when it would come.  Chief among those are the millions of elderly Americans who depend on federal assistance to survive.

Social Security Is A Mess:  There Are 6 Million Active Accounts Of People Aged 112+.  Our friends at Open The Books continue to expose government waste — and fraud — and in their latest investigation, they have shone the spotlight on one of the largest wastes in the US government: the Social Security Administration.  What they have uncovered is that last year alone, Social Security admitted to $8 billion in improper and mistaken payments.  The punchline:  when they dug deeper, they found that there are six million active social security numbers of people aged 112 and older... even though only 40 or less or those people exist in the world.  The root cause of this collosal abuse: failure to verify death.  And yet while you won't read about it in the papers, the four-year total sum to US taxpayers is roughly $2.8 billion, which in today's numbers when trillions are thrown around may not sound like much, but add up all the other areas of government waste, and soon you end up with far greater numbers.

The Socialism of Social Security.  Contrary to popular opinion, especially among seniors, Social Security is not a retirement program.  No one "contributes" into a Social Security retirement fund, which then earns interest, and then is later available during one's retirement years.  Moreover, there are no individual lockboxes at Fort Knox with each person's name on them containing his Social Security "contributions."  Social Security is nothing more than a socialist program, no different from food stamps and public housing.  It uses government to forcibly take money from people to whom it belongs and gives it to people to whom it does not belong.  That's classic socialism, in that it embodies the Marxian principle "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

Woman kept dead grandma in freezer for 15 years so she could continue collecting her Social Security.  Some people will do anything for money, it has been said, and judging by the behavior of many, no doubt that's true.  That includes keeping a dead relative 'on ice' for years to continue collecting their Social Security payments.  The UK's Daily Mail reported that Cynthia Carolyn Black, 61, of Pennsylvania, allegedly stored her deceased grandmother in a freezer from 2004 to 2019 just so she could continue to receive her benefits.  The gruesome discovery of Glenora Delahay's corpse was made by a pair of women who walked into a foreclosed home they were looking to buy a year ago in February.

New Numbers Confirm Social Security's Dismal Fiscal Outlook.  The Social Security Administration just released the annual report on the program's finances, so I went to to Table VI.G9 of the "Supplemental Single-Year Tables" to peruse the yearly projections for future revenue and spending (which are adjusted for inflation so we have a more accurate method for comparisons).  The bad news is that an ever-increasing amount of our income is going to be grabbed by payroll taxes.  The worse news is that Social Security's spending burden will climb at an even-faster rate.

Social Security recipients to automatically get stimulus checks.  The Treasury Department now says that Americans on Social Security will not be required to file a "simple tax return" to receive a stimulus check from the U.S. government.  The announcement reversed an earlier statement from the Internal Revenue Service that participants in the federal retirement program would need to file such a return to get the funds.

Coronavirus stimulus cash:  What Social Security recipients need to know.  As the federal government prepares to process and send out cash to many American households, individuals have been wondering if they have to take any action in order to get their checks from the IRS.  For most people that answer is no — including Social Security beneficiaries.  The IRS issued guidance on Wednesday to Social Security recipients specifically, notifying them that they would automatically receive the economic impact payments.

The Editor says...
I'd feel better if they hadn't announced it on April 1st.

Social Security Reforms Progressives Will Resist.  On January 28, the Congressional Budget Office released "The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2020 to 2030," and it projected annual trillion-dollar budget deficits for the entire decade.  The largest expenditure of the federal government is for social programs, the biggest of which is Social Security.  Some progressives in Congress, however, contend that Social Security should not be a part of any effort to balance the budget.  But if Congress is ever again to get control over the budget, reform of the social programs must be a part of the solution.

Money and Debt without Limits.  Democrat politicians and their proxies in the establishment media have blathered on and on for years about the possibility of the federal government's "default."  But default is when you can't service your debt, that is, pay the interest on your loans, and pay your loans off when they mature.  Default is not indicated by government shutdowns, where the feds, say, close national parks.  If the feds were really strapped and cut or lowered Social Security benefits, would that constitute a default?  In fact, Social Security could be repealed, and contributors would have no basis for a suit based on nonpayment of a debt, as SS benefits aren't contractual (see Flemming v. Nestor).  It is only when actual debt obligations can't be met that it can be said that a borrower is in default.

Detroit's comeback is a myth.  The Social Security office in Detroit is a dispiriting place done up in industrial grays.  It is filled with the long, glum faces of those who molder in the bowels of the federal bureaucracy waiting for some faceless bureaucrat to help them.  Take a number.  Sit down.  No loud noises.  No food.  No phones.

Unexpectedly: Medicare and Social Security Circling the Drain.  Seven years, at most, is all we have.  Remember the last time Republicans tried to address the looming entitlement crisis?  Do you recall how the Democrats responded?  Did they propose common-sense reforms?  Raising the eligibility ages of recipients?  Something, anything to attack the imminent crisis?  Uhm, no.  You got it.  They aired nonstop commericals of Paul Ryan — then a key Republican helping George W. Bush try to reform these programs — pushing Granny off a cliff.  Here's the bottom line.  This crisis is entirely on the Democrats' hands.

Politicians Care More About Illegal Immigrants and Elections than Disabled Veterans.  James Di Napoli, a disabled Iraq War veteran, says illegal immigration has ruined his life.  In 1968, Di Napoli's father, a former university professor from Mexico, married under false pretenses his mother, a U.S. citizen, while remaining married to another woman in Mexico.  When Di Napoli was just two years old, his father stole his original Social Security card, and starting in 1988, his father began to sell Di Napoli's Social Security number to illegal immigrants, who then used the number to obtain employment and other government benefits.  Di Napoli's father continued to facilitate the sale of his Social Security card until his death in 2009.  Since 1994, Di Napoli says he has faced countless audits from the Internal Revenue Service, which has on numerous occasions investigated Di Napoli because his Social Security number is routinely flagged for unpaid taxes, which have come from illegal aliens using the Social Security number to work.

Illegal immigrants cited in theft of 39 million Social Security numbers.  Nearly 40 million Social Security numbers have been stolen and used by illegal immigrants and others to get work, according to agency records obtained by an immigration reform group.  The Immigration Reform Law Institute said that from 2012 to 2016 there were "39 million instances where names and Social Security numbers on W-2 tax forms did not match the corresponding Social Security records."  The group said that there is a "thriving black market" used by illegal immigrants to get Social Security numbers needed to get a job.

Rubio's proposal:  Get paid family leave in exchange for reducing Social Security benefits.  A new bill from a key Republican senator would provide paid family leave — in return for giving up Social Security benefits.  The legislation, from Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who unsuccessfully sought his party's presidential nomination, is notable both for demonstrating broader interest in the concept of paid family leave as well as the idea of drawing from Social Security.  Under Rubio's proposal, dubbed the Economic Security for New Parents Act, parents could apply for at least two months of leave across their household.  His office calculates the benefit is large enough that many families will be able to finance at least three months of leave.

Marco Rubio's Plan To Suck Social Security Dry Faster With Family Leave Isn't Pro-Family.  Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has introduced legislation that would allow parents to cash in a portion of their future Social Security benefits early to finance family leave.  He's billing the proposal as pro-family, but it would actually hurt families by worsening the program's already dire financial problems.  Rubio's bill would give new parents the option to take at least two months of paid leave, in exchange for delaying their Social Security benefits for three to six months after they retire.  Rubio's passion for providing paid family leave is admirable, but his proposed solution is fundamentally flawed.  The Social Security system is currently not financially stable, and allowing more benefits to be drawn from the trust fund will only quicken its existing death spiral towards bankruptcy.

The bad news on entitlements piles up.  The trustees for the Social Security and Medicare trust funds released their annual reports last week.  And the takeaway?  Despite a strong economy, both programs have large and growing financial deficits.  Unfortunately, the gap between spending and revenue for these programs is likely even larger than the official projections show because of assumed but unrealistic cuts in medical care payment rates and the persistently low birth rates of recent years.

Don't Wait For Social Security's Crisis — It's Here.  For the first time in 36 years, Social Security will take money out of its "trust fund" — an accounting fiction that would get you jailed for fraud in the private sector — to pay retirees.  The truth is, Social Security is for all intents and purposes bankrupt.  Since 2010, Social Security has been spending more than it took in, making up the difference by tapping into the interest paid on a $2.9 trillion government bond fund.  That "interest" is really your tax dollars.  Congress, you see, spent the actual money that came in through your payroll taxes and left IOUs.  Now, even the interest on those entitlement IOUs is no longer enough.

Social Security now running a deficit; insolvency set at 2034.  Social Security will spend more than it collects this year, the program's trustees said Tuesday [6/5/2018], marking the first time in more than 35 years that it will run an annual deficit as it slides toward insolvency by 2034.  Medicare's main trust fund is in even worse shape, scheduled to hit insolvency in 2026 — three years earlier than last year's estimate, the trustees said.  The twin warnings add even more pressure to a budget already strained by last year's tax cuts and this year's deal to boost spending on defense and basic domestic needs, leaving few bright spots in the federal fiscal picture.

Social Security's Death Knell Is Ringing.  Can You Hear It?  Social Security is, barring an immediate and massive overhaul in how benefits are paid to the back-end of the Baby Boomer generation and beyond, on its deathbed.  There can be no mistaking that fact. [...] The 2010 mark for this cash-flow deficit didn't occur willy-nilly.  It could be argued that our government hastened, or at the very least exacerbated, this cash-flow deficit with its "payroll tax holiday," a bipartisan effort instituted in late 2009 that persisted until 2013.  This political maneuver slashed payroll taxes by roughly one third, from 6.2% to 4.2%.  The uncollected 2% (not peanuts in a country the size of ours) happens to coincide with the moment in time in which the government's payroll tax receipts couldn't cover its Social Security liabilities.  The cost of this "payroll tax holiday" is estimated to be $240 billion in tax revenue, some of which, at least, would have otherwise gone to pay out Social Security's beneficiaries.

Start Saving Now, Because Social Security Is Screwed.  The single largest government program in the United States will soon have an annual budget of $1 trillion a year.  Yet even that amount isn't sufficient to fulfill the promises it has made.  If Congress doesn't address its insolvency issues, payouts will need to be slashed by a quarter starting in fewer than 20 years.  The program is Social Security, and our national pastime seems to be turning a blind eye to its dysfunctions.  The problems with this entitlement aren't unique.  Obamacare is also a mess, while cumulative government spending on Medicare and Medicaid is growing at a faster rate than Social Security is, and eventually will consume a larger share of the economy.  But that's no reason to ignore the serious fiscal issues with America's main retirement program.  Since 2010, it has been running a cash-flow deficit — meaning that the Social Security payroll taxes the government collects aren't enough to cover the benefits it's obliged to pay out.  That should have been a signal that the time had come to look at reform.  Instead, we've spent the last seven years ignoring the problem.  To get by, the program started tapping into the assets set aside beginning in the 1980s for rainy days.

Social Security Beneficiaries Hit Record 61,859,250.  The number of Social Security beneficiaries hit a record 61,859,250 in November, according to data released by the Social Security Administration.  At the same time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with unemployment at the lowest rate since 2000 (4.1 percent), there were 126,827,000 full-time workers in the United States (including government workers).  Yet that equaled only 2.05 full-time workers for each person receiving Social Security benefits.

Senators push to ditch Social Security numbers in light of Equifax hack.  SSN is bad.  This would be worse.  Every proposed replacement moves us directly into the realm of mandatory electronic national ID systems and cards, which if implemented in our toxic political and law enforcement environments will inevitably lead to tyranny.  Yes, it is technically possible to improve this system without moving in that direction.  But we will be incapable of doing it correctly and safely, [...]

Let's allow our kids to use some of their future Social Security earnings to pay off their student loans.  I'm one of about 45 million Americans collectively paying back more than $1.4 trillion in college student loan debt.  The average student borrower owes more than $31,000 and some owe a lot more — a huge burden for young people just starting their careers or going on to graduate school, where their debt will only increase.  Unfortunately, Congress — where I am privileged to serve — has shown very little urgency to address this growing problem, which has reached crisis proportions.  If Congress fails to take substantive steps to change course by offering actionable solutions to disentangle millions of Americans from the crushing burden of student loan debt, the consequences to our nation will be severe.

Opposing viewpoint:
Craziest Idea of 2017: Let Students Pay Down Their College Loans by Delaying Their Social Security Benefits.  Representative Tom Garrett (R-Va.) turns 46 in March and is still paying off his student loans.  In less than 20 years he'll qualify to retire under present Social Security rules.  He put two-and-two together and came up with the Student Security Act (SSA):  Pay down some of his student loans by pushing back his retirement age.  Specifically, Garrett's bill (H.R.4584, which has four co-sponsors so far) would forgive $550 in student loan debt for each month the student pushes back his or her retirement age.  There is a limit:  A student could trade a maximum of $40,150 in debt by delaying benefits for six years and a month.  Never mind that the Social Security "trust funds" are filled with IOUs and that the students have not put the money into Social Seurity that they would be using to pay down their student loan debts.

California woman cashed dead mom's Social Security checks for 24 years.  A California woman who cashed nearly $300,000 worth of her dead mother's Social Security checks for 24 years, financing her own car payments, airline tickets and hotel stays along the way, was sentenced Tuesday [12/12/2017] to 13 months in prison.  Federal prosecutors said Emma Carter-Alexander, 66, began taking care of her mother, Dorothy Griffin, around April 1991.  Soon, Carter-Alexander was approved by the government to receive — and cash — Griffin's Social Security checks, something Carter-Alexander, of Vallejo, Calif., did every month.  And when her mom died in 1993, Carter-Alexander didn't stop.

Kentucky lawyer wanted for massive Social Security fraud captured in Honduras, officials say.  A prominent Kentucky disability attorney at the center of a more than $500 million Social Security fraud case, who became the subject of a massive manhunt after he vanished months ago, has been captured in Honduras, officials announced Monday [12/4/2017].  Eric Conn was captured by a SWAT team as he came out of a restaurant in the coastal city of La Ceiba, the Honduras public magistrate's office said in a news release.  The office added that the arrest was "the product of arduous intelligence, surveillance and tailing by the agents."  U.S. federal agents spent months tracking Conn, who cut off his electronic monitor in June.

Social Security Administration Spending Tops $1 Trillion for the First Time.  In fiscal 2017, real Social Security Administration spending topped $1 trillion for the first time, according data published in the Monthly Treasury Statement.  The Social Security Administration spent a total $1,000,812,000,000 in fiscal 2017, according to the Treasury.  That was about 37 times as much as the Department of State spent during the year ($27,061,000,000), 32 times as much as the Department of Justice ($30,977,000,000), and 20 times as much as the Department of Homeland Security ($50,502,000,000).

Psychologist in massive Social Security fraud case gets 25-year sentence.  The psychologist who helped pull off the biggest Social Security fraud in U.S. history was sentenced Friday [9/22/2017] to 25 years in prison.  Alfred Bradley Adkins was part of the fraud ring orchestrated by Eric C. Conn, one of the country's most prominent disability lawyers, and David B. Daugherty, a Social Security judge who rubber-stamped at least 1,700 bogus applications for benefits.  All told, the scam would have cost the government at least $600 million in fraudulent lifetime benefits, according to the government's conservative estimate.  Some $93 million was already paid out before the scam was stopped, the government said.

Social Security pays millions to people VA says are dead.  The Department of Veterans Affairs knew they were dead, but the Social Security Administration kept paying benefits to hundreds of people anyway, according to a new agency audit released Friday [9/1/2017] that says at least $37 million in bogus payments were made.  Investigators compared the VA's record to Social Security rolls and found nearly 4,000 people who were listed as dead by the VA, but were still getting checks.  Some of those people listed as dead were in fact still alive, but others were deceased — and their checks never should have been paid, the Social Security inspector general said.

SSA gave $1.3 million in benefits to criminals.  The Social Security Administration gave $1.3 million in benefits to criminals, including individuals who had already defrauded the government, according to a new audit.  The inspector general for the agency found that just over 50 representative payees who were felons received benefits even though they should have been barred from receiving payments.  Representative payees are individuals who are responsible for administering benefits for someone who cannot manage payments themselves, such as their children or a disabled family member.

5 Social Security myths, debunked.  Don't let anyone tell you that Social Security is broke.  In fact, Social Security has $2.85 trillion in reserves and ran a $35 billion surplus in 2016.  What's more, the surplus is expected to continue to build the reserves for another five years.  After 2021, the picture is not so rosy.  Thanks to the retirement of the baby boomer generation and longer life expectancies, Social Security is expected to swing to a deficit, which will continue for the foreseeable future.  In 2034, the Social Security trust funds are expected to be completely depleted.

The Editor says...
Social Security may not be insolvent today, but it will be inevitably — and soon.  Don't let anyone tell you that Social Security ISN'T broke./p>

Social Security And Medicare Are In Worse Shape Than You Think.  The Social Security report finds that the "trust fund" will run out of money in just 17 years.  The news only gets worse from there.  The program's unfunded liability over the next 75 years is now $12.5 trillion, which is up from $11.4 trillion last year and $4.7 trillion a decade ago.  In other words, Social Security's long-term unfunded liability has increased by 166% in the span of 10 years.

Social Security unfunded liabilities rise to $12.5 trillion, according to trustees report.  Social Security's unfunded liabilities total $12.5 trillion in present-dollar terms over a 75-year timeframe, the administration's trustees reported Thursday, an increase of $1.2 trillion from last year's estimate.  The trustees report showed that Social Security's combined trust fund can only pay scheduled benefits through 2034, a projected date that is unchanged from a year ago.  Medicare's trust fund, though, is in better shape than previously estimated and will run out a year later than previously anticipated, in 2029.  At those dates, beneficiaries would face the prospect of an immediate cut in benefits unless policy were changed in some way to avoid that outcome.  Social Security beneficiaries would see a cut of about a quarter in their checks, which average about $1,360 a month at the end of 2016 for retirees.

Social Security Trust Funds to Be Depleted in 17 Years.  The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds will be depleted in the next 17 years, according to the Social Security Administration's trustees report.  By 2034 the combined asset reserves of both funds are expected to be insolvent.  Alone, the Disability Insurance Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2028.  According to the report, the trust funds have a total asset reserves of $2.85 trillion.  Even though the trust fund reserves are growing, the cost of the program will outweigh the revenue by 2022.

The Great American Rip-Off.  Ask a politician how he wants to balance the budget and, nine times out of ten, he'll give you a politician's answer:  cutting "waste, fraud, and abuse."  Normally, the correct response to this is contempt and mockery:  What drives federal spending isn't office supplies walking out the back door with a rogue secretary at the Merit Systems Protection Board — what drives federal spending is Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  And you know where there's a lot of waste, fraud, and abuse?  Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Identifying small-ball efficiencies at obscure federal agencies would not do very much to get federal spending under control, but getting a grip on the shenanigans that plague the major entitlements — especially the health-care entitlements — could mean substantial savings, "substantial" here meaning hundreds of billions of dollars.

IRS Report:  Illegal Aliens Using Stolen Social Security Numbers of 1.4 Million Americans To Pay Taxes.  An Internal Revenue Service report noted that roughly 1.4 million illegal aliens are working and paying taxes using stolen Social Security numbers.  It also noted that the IRS isn't the best at catching this fraud. either To make things more maddening, they're not allowed to work with the Department of Homeland Security on finding the identities of people using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, which are doled out to immigrants that are not authorized to work in the U.S.

1.4 million illegals working under stolen Social Security numbers:  Audit.  Most illegal immigrants who pay taxes have stolen someone else's legal identity, and the IRS doesn't do a very good job of letting those American citizens and legal immigrants know they're being impersonated, the tax agency's inspector general said in a new report released Thursday [6/22/2017].  The theft creates major problems for the American citizens and legal foreign workers whose identities are stolen, and who have to deal with explaining money they never earned.  But the IRS only manages to identify half of the potentially 1.4 million people likely affected by the fraud in 2015, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said in its report.

Lawyer who ran $550 million Social Security fraud scam cuts monitoring device, goes on run.  Eric C. Conn pleaded guilty just months ago to bilking the government out of potentially $550 million in bogus Social Security disability cases.  He had been free on a $1.25 million bond since 2016, and had insisted to a federal judge that he was not a flight risk, even though authorities said he had repeatedly told his employees he had money stashed overseas and would flee to Ecuador or Cuba if he ever ended up legal trouble.

Judge pleads guilty in massive Social Security fraud case.  An administrative judge involved in one of the biggest Social Security frauds in history pleaded guilty Friday, admitting that he helped scam the federal government out of potentially more than half a billion dollars in bogus disability payments.  David B. Daugherty, a former administrative law judge, approved at least 3,149 disability cases filed by a single lawyer in eastern Kentucky.  More than 1,700 of those have been deemed fraudulent by government investigators, obligating the government to pay out more than $550 million in lifetime benefits.  Daugherty pleaded guilty to two counts of receiving illegal gratuities.  The charge is similar to bribery, though the payoff is made after the fact, not before.

Social Security Not Keeping up With Seniors' Rising Costs.  For the fifth year in a row, the 60 million people who depend on Social Security have had to settle for historically low increases.  For the average recipient the adjustment adds up to a monthly increase of less than $4 a month.

Guilty plea in huge Social Security disability fraud case.  Nothing quite brings out the genius in criminals like schemes that look to bilk the American taxpayer.  A lawyer in Tennessee signed a guilty plea in one of the biggest Social Security disability fraud cases in history.  Eric C. Conn acknowledged that he was the ringleader in a conspiracy to defraud the federal government of hundreds of millions of dollars in disability benefits.  Here's a crook who covered all the bases.

This is the Cloward-Piven strategy in action:
Feds and UN Dumping "Unvetted, Diseased Refugee Men" on Taxpayer.  A Missouri woman who has attended official meetings on resettling migrants is blowing the whistle on United Nations and federal schemes that she says are quietly flying in huge numbers of unvetted, diseased "refugees" from across Africa and the Middle East — many of whom do not even have a known name — and immediately handing them passports, Social Security numbers, and a vast array of tax-funded benefits.  Noting that the overwhelming majority of the migrants she observed were men, she suggested the schemes were an "intentional device" to "invade the United States of America."  Adding insult to injury, said the woman with knowledge of the program, is the fact that state officials and those involved with processing the new arrivals are being encouraged at official meetings to classify as many of the newcomers as possible as being permanently disabled — especially as having chronic headaches and lower back pain.  The purpose of this, she was told, was so the "refugees" could qualify for Social Security long-term disability, allowing them to collect taxpayer money for the rest of their lives despite never having contributed to the already-strained system on its way to bankruptcy.

'Mr. Social Security' Pleads Guilty for Involvement in Widespread Disability Fraud Scheme.  A Kentucky lawyer involved in a half-a-billion-dollar Social Security disability fraud scheme has pleaded guilty.  Eric C. Conn, a flashy lawyer in the mold of the Breaking Bad character Saul Goodman, worked with an administrative judge and doctors to approve sham disability claims.  The scheme resulted in fraudulent claims that cost the government $550 million, with Conn himself earning over $5.7 million.  The Department of Justice announced Conn pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government money and one count of payment of gratuities on Friday [3/24/2017].

These Government Agencies Receive the Most Money.  The Office of Management and Budget provides government outlay data from 1962 to 2021.  If an agency was established after 1962, the office lists spending attributable to predecessor agencies.  Note that all figures are inflation adjusted to the 2009 value of the dollar, the year the Office of Management and Budget uses as its framework.  Remarkably, approximately half of all government outlays go to just two agencies:  the Social Security Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Feds Paid $1 Billion in Social Security Benefits to Individuals Without a SSN.  The Social Security Administration paid $1 billion in benefits to individuals who did not have a Social Security Number (SSN), according to a new audit.  The agency's inspector general found errors in the government's documentation for representative payees, otherwise known as individuals who receive retirement or disability payments on behalf of another person who is incapable of managing the benefits themselves.  The audit released Friday found thousands of cases where there was no SSN on file.  Over the last decade, the agency paid $1 billion to 22,426 representative payees who "did not have an SSN, and SSA had not followed its policy to retain the paper application."

The Social Security Shell Game.  To make heads or tails of the Social Security debate requires an understanding about what Social Security truly is.  But that understanding is exceedingly difficult to attain, given that both sides of the debate are prone to making misleading, or altogether false, statements about the nature of the program.

Congress Mulls Overturning Obama's Social Security 'Back-Door Gun Grab'.  Congressional lawmakers will review a final rule issued by President Obama in December that stomps on the Second Amendment rights of Social Security beneficiaries.  According to the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, Obama's Social Security rule qualifies SSI and disability insurance recipients as "mental defectives," and therefore incapable of legally owning firearms.

The Editor says...
Reviewing and "mulling" should not be confused with effective action.

Social Security has a looming $11 trillion shortfall.  President-elect Donald Trump has said he will preserve Social Security, though if he and Congress do nothing to fix the funding, the financial reckoning will be huge — as much as $11.4 trillion down the road.  The last time Congress changed Social Security in a significant way with a series of benefit cuts and payroll tax increases was in 1983 under President Ronald Reagan.  Back then, the federal government needed to fill a funding gap of about 1 percent of taxable workers' wages.  By the time Social Security's trust funds are projected to run out in the early 2030s, the federal government will have to plug a hole of more than 3 percent, according to estimates by Charles Blahous, a senior research fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center.

Obama Administration Yanks Second Amendment Rights from SSI Recipients.  Last week, the Obama administration put the finishing touches on a new policy that would deprive recipients of disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) of their Second Amendment rights.  The administration will now characterize those citizens as "mental defectives," thereby having their ability to own a firearm subject to the federal Gun Control Act.  Supplemental Security Income helps blind, disabled, and elderly people with little to no income.  Previously, it was understood that "mentally defective" referred to one's mental health.  Citizens who have been institutionalized against their will are restricted from owning a firearm.  The new definition of "mentally defective" has nothing to do with being mentally ill.

Grandma Got Run Over By Obama:  Social Security Finalizes New Gun Prohibition Rule.  On Monday [12/19/2016], Barack Obama's Social Security Administration (SSA) issued the final version of a rule that will doom tens of thousands of law-abiding (and vulnerable) disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients to a loss of Second Amendment rights under the guise of re-characterizing them as "mental defectives."  The SSA, for the first time in its history, will be coopted into the federal government's gun control apparatus, effectively requiring Social Security applicants to weigh their need for benefits against their fundamental rights when applying for assistance based on mental health problems.

At Last:  A New Social Security Reform Plan.  Social Security has been a quiet subject for Republicans since the collapse of President Bush's reform efforts in 2005. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Republican Members of Congress were seemingly lining up to present new plans to fix Social Security's long-term funding shortfall, currently estimated at over $11 trillion.  Since Bush's plan failed to pass even a Republican-led Congress, however, many in the GOP have left the field to progressives who seek to expand Social Security benefits, even at the cost of the program's solvency.  Today [12/8/2016], however, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), the chairman of the House Social Security subcommittee, has introduced a Social Security plan that would address solvency concerns while also taking steps to make the program work better for participants.  It's a complex plan, so it might be easiest to explain by breaking it down into its functional components. [...]

Hillary Clinton's big ideas for tanking the US economy.  [#5] Increase Social Security benefits.  Hillary wants to fatten benefits to certain senior citizens and raise the Social Security tax to "pay for it." Really?  The system is already tens of trillions of dollars in the red, according to the Social Security Administration's actuaries.  Now we are going to increase the outflow and make even bigger benefit promises?  She would also apply the payroll tax of 12.4 percent on wages of up to $250,000 (up from about $110,000 today), which would be one of the biggest tax hikes of all time.

House asks feds to stop mailing postcards with Social Security numbers on them.  The House passed legislation Monday [9/26/2016] aimed at stopping the federal government from mailing letters to people that include their Social Security numbers — including in envelops that have these vital numbers printed on the outside where anyone can see them.  Lawmakers passed the bill, from Rep.  David Valadao, R-Calif., in an easy voice vote Monday afternoon.  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, noted that Valadao offered the bill when one of his constituents complained that her Social Security number could be seen in a letter she got from the Social Security Administration.

This Loophole Ends the Privacy of Social Security Numbers.  Federal law is supposed to protect the privacy of your Social Security number from government inquiries — but apparently that doesn't extend to a check on whether you've paid back taxes and child support.  In a decision with worrying implications for those who oppose a single national identification number, a divided federal appeals court has rejected a lawyer's refusal to submit his Social Security number along with his renewal of Maryland bar membership.  The state says it needs Social Security numbers to make sure lawyers' child support and taxes are up to date.  The court's majority said that was enough to fit the Social Security number under the federal law that allows states to use your number for tax purposes.  That definition is so loose that it enables states to ask for your Social Security number pretty much whenever they want — even when their records have been hacked.

This Is Hands-Down the Worst Way to Fix Social Security.  According to the 2016 Social Security Board of Trustees report, the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which is what pays out benefits to more than 60 million people each month, is on track to burn through its more than $2.8 trillion in spare cash by the year 2034.  If fixes aren't made to the program, then hefty benefit cuts of up to 21% could be needed to sustain it for another 75 years.  The reason for this depletion can be traced to two key demographic changes.  First, baby boomers are retiring at a pace north of 10,000 per day.  As baby boomers leave the workforce and become eligible for Social Security benefits, there simply aren't enough new workers to take their place and generate the payroll tax revenue necessary to sustain benefit payouts at their current levels.

Spain's Bankrupt Social Security System — Is This What Awaits U.S. Too?  As recent reports note, Spain's social security fund will run out of money sometime in 2018.  The reason?  "Bonus payments" to pensioners, similar to expansions in Social Security benefits for current retirees and women that Hillary Clinton seeks to put in place in the U.S. Unless the Spanish government finds the money to patch the coming social security blowout, deep cuts in benefits or steep rises in taxes will have to be made.

New Legislation Proposes To "Bail-In' Social Security.  This idea is such a classic example of government thinking.  Social Security is failing and will be unable to keep its promises to taxpayers in the next decade.  So there's a pretty convincing track record suggesting that government-managed retirement funds are a very bad idea.  And yet the best solution these people can come up with is to raise your taxes, steal more money, and establish a brand new government-run retirement fund.

Why Don't Politicians Tell the Truth About Social Security?  The boards of trustees of our Social Security and Medicare programs just issued their annual report, and we learn, once again, that both programs are fiscally insolvent.  The trustees project there will be insufficient funds from the Social Security program to pay its obligations beginning in 2034, 18 years from now, and Medicare will fall short in 2028, 12 years from now.  Given that both of these programs play outsized roles both in the federal budget — combined they represent 41 percent of federal spending in 2015 — and in the personal lives of just about every American citizen, you'd think there would be a big uproar about this.  But the silence is deafening.

The Future of Social Security.  In 2008, the eldest members of the Baby Boom generation turned 62 and became eligible to collect early retirement benefits from Social Security.  Shortly thereafter, in 2010, Social Security began running its first cash deficit since 1983, when Ronald Reagan worked with Congress to rescue the program from financial collapse.  In order to cover that deficit and meet its obligations to current retirees, Social Security has been withdrawing money from the Social Security trust funds.  Under what the government's actuaries call "intermediate" economic assumptions, the trust funds will be able to cover the deficit until 2033.  After that, paying all promised Social Security benefits will require increasing the payroll tax by 50%.  Under what the government's actuaries call "pessimistic" economic assumptions, the Social Security trust funds will run out of money to pay promised benefits by 2029.

Social Security's Gargantuan Fiscal Shortfall.  The Social Security Administration has released the 2016 Trustees Report, which shines a spotlight on the overall fiscal condition of the program.  In previous years (2012, 2013, 2014), I've used this opportunity to play Paul Revere.  But instead of warning that the British are coming, I sound the alarm about a future fiscal crisis resulting from demographic change and poorly designed entitlement programs.

Will Social Security Disappear When the Trust Fund Runs Out?  Millions of older Americans depend on Social Security to provide the income they need in retirement, so any negative news surrounding the program is potentially cause for alarm.  That's why the most recent Social Security Board of Trustees' report is somewhat concerning.  According to the Board's latest projections, Social Security's combined trust funds will be depleted in 2034, which is consistent with last year's findings.  But while this certainly isn't good news, it doesn't mean that Social Security will be going away in its entirety.

Tax Foundation on Retirement: $19K From SS vs $57K From IRA/401(k).  A new study by the Tax Foundation shows that if a person earning the average wage over time retires in 2016, they could receive $19,646 in annual Social Security benefits.  However, if that person also started at age 22 to save 10% of their annual income in an IRA or 401(k) plan, while earning the average wage over time, they could receive an annual payout (annuity) of $57,318 from those savings.  They would receive $37,672 more per year in retirement benefits than they would get from Social Security.

The [Difficulty] of Applying for Government Benefits.  Massive budget cuts and hiring freezes in the last few years have turned the Social Security Administration into one of the most understaffed and overburdened agencies in the federal government.  As of June, it had a backlog of more than 1 million unresolved disability claims, the highest in the agency's history.  The average wait time to get one of these claims adjudicated is more than a year.

The Editor says...
I don't feel sorry for those who find it difficult to pick my pocket.  If it is difficult to get disability payments started, maybe that's because there are tens of thousands of others applying for disability payments, while their only disability is unmitigated laziness.  The government has made it too easy to get on the gravy train.

Blowing the whistle at the Social Security Administration.  Ron Klym blew the whistle about problems at the Social Security Administration's Milwaukee office, getting the attention of and U.S. Sen.  Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin.  In return, he says, he has been punished by his superiors.  Klym sat down with Eric Boehm to discuss what he says is a serious civil rights issue at the SSA, where some people who might qualify for disability benefits are waiting more than 800 days for the office to make a determination about their status.  That's just too long, he says, and it seems like officials in Milwaukee are unfairly deciding who has to wait that long — residents of rural Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan have been victimized the most.  In a scandal that sounds eerily like what happened at the Veterans Administration recently, Klym says Social Security Administration officials have been shuffling paper to make waiting lists look shorter than they really are.

Social Security disability program has plenty of problems elsewhere.  There's a corruption odor at ODAR, a whistleblower tells Wisconsin Watchdog.  Ron Klym asserts the various problems he has documented at the Milwaukee Office of Disability Adjudication and Review are just a small part of a Social Security Administration system bogged down with incompetence and misconduct. [...] In April, Daugherty, disability attorney Eric Conn, and psychologist, Dr.  Alfred Bradley Adkins, appeared in court on an 18-count indictment.  Federal attorneys allege the three men worked a scheme to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in Social Security disability payments for thousands of applicants.

Social Security moves to block the mentally ill from purchasing guns.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) is proposing to report people who receive disability benefits and have a mental health condition to the FBI's background check system.  The proposal, which stems from a memorandum that President Obama issued in 2013, would essentially block some people with severe mental health problems from buying guns.  The SSA, which will propose the rule in Thursday's [5/5/2016] edition of the Federal Register, says it plans to notify disability beneficiaries who might be reported and establish a process for them to appeal their placement in the FBI's background check system.  The proposal is just the latest attempt by the Obama administration to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

The Editor says...
It looks to me like "the latest attempt by the Obama administration to keep guns out of the hands of [everybody, starting with] the mentally ill, using Social Security as leverage.

Obama Administration Moves Forward With Stripping Gun Rights Through Social Security.  Late last week President Obama announced a new push for additional federal "smart" gun technology funding. [...] But an issue flying under the radar in Obama's announcement is the Administration's decision to move forward with gun control measures through the Social Security system.  Late last year it became clear if an individuals needs financial help managing Social Security benefits, the agency can deem that person mentally unfit to purchase a firearm.  This policy is already in place at the Veteran's Administration, where people who have been assigned a "representative payee" have been permanently placed into the NICS background check system as ineligible to purchase a firearm without due process, a hearing or a trial.

IRS says it's OK for illegal aliens to use fraudulent Social Security numbers.  There is no longer the rule of law in America, and government is the worst offender.  The Obama administration has become a lawless administration.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the Obama administration targeted conservatives and Christians for special scrutiny and even plotted to imprison conservatives.  Even when it was discovered, IRS officials like Lois Lerner were not held accountable, which means the IRS can violate the rights of conservatives and Christians with impunity.  The latest case in point:  Earlier today, the Gollum-like IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told a Congressional hearing that the IRS doesn't have a problem with illegal immigrants using fraudulent Social Security numbers to file their taxes, because they're doing that for "a legitimate reason".  By "legitimate reason," Koskinen means tax revenue.

IRS chief: Agency encourages illegal immigrant theft of SSNs to file tax returns.  The IRS is struggling to ensure that illegal immigrants are able to illegally use Social Security numbers for legitimate purposes, the agency's head told senators on Tuesday [4/12/2016], without allowing the numbers to be used for "bad" reasons.  IRS Commissioner John Koskinen made the statement in response to a question from Sen.  Dan Coats, R-Ind., during a session of the Senate Finance Committee about why the IRS appears to be collaborating with taxpayers who file tax returns using fraudulent information.  Coats said that his staff had discovered the practice after looking into agency procedures.

Obama Claims Power to Make Illegal Immigrants Eligible for Social Security, Disability.  Does the president of the United States have the power to unilaterally tell millions of individuals who are violating federal law that he will not enforce that law against them now, that they may continue to violate that law in the future and that he will take action that makes them eligible for federal benefit programs for which they are not currently eligible due to their unlawful status?  Through Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, President Barack Obama is telling the Supreme Court exactly this right now.  The solicitor general calls what Obama is doing "prosecutorial discretion."

'Mr. Social Security' Indicted in $600 Million Disability Fraud Scheme.  Eric C. Conn, a flashy Kentucky lawyer who called himself "Mr. Social Security," was arrested for his alleged role in a $600 million federal disability fraud scheme, according to an indictment that was unsealed Tuesday [4/5/2016].  Conn, David Daugherty, and Alfred Adkins, a clinical psychologist who performed medical evaluations for Conn seven years, were charged in an 18-count indictment on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  Conn was arrested on Tuesday, and the indictment was unsealed.  Conn's law firm was the centerpiece of a two-year investigation that concluded in 2013 led by former Sen.  Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who found the lawyer was working with discredited doctors who provided phony medical evidence for thousands of disability claims, which were then signed off on by Administrative Law Judge David B. Daugherty.

Social Security Administration Beneficiaries Top 60,000,000.  The number of people receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration topped 60,000,000 for the first time at the beginning of 2016.  In December 2015, according to data published by the Office of the Chief Actuary of Social Security, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds paid benefits to 59,963,425 beneficiaries.  In January 2016, that increased to 60,084,225, and in February 2016 to 60,199,914.  The average monthly benefit paid per beneficiary in December was $1,228.12.  In January, it was $1,229.85.  In February, it was $1,230.70.  The total number of beneficiaries includes retired workers and their dependents, survivors of deceased workers, and disabled workers and their dependents.

Toxic Words.  Social Security was created back in the 1930s, during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, one of the shrewdest politicians who ever sat in the White House.  President Roosevelt understood that, if you could convince people that they were entitled to a pension under Social Security, it could become politically impossible to ever put an end to that system.  The pensions promised exceeded what could actually be paid from the money that was put in by the recipients.  But the first generation to enter Social Security would have their pensions paid by money received from the second generation, as well as its own money.  The second generation would be paid with money that included what was paid in by the third generation, and so on.  This is the principle behind a "pyramid" scheme, in which the first investors can get a big return on their money by simply paying them money received from subsequent investors.

Here are 5 of Bernie Sanders' Most Ridiculous Ideas.  [#4] Expanding Social Security.  The Social Security section on Sanders's website explicitly calls for the expansion of Social Security, which he claims would be funded by lifting the cap on taxable income for Social Security.  Problem is, Social Security faces $22 trillion in unfunded liabilities with cuts in benefits looming.  Even if the cap on taxable income is lifted, expanding it will only exacerbate the program's fiscal insolvency.

Social Security Trust Fund's Fall Is First Since 1983.  The Social Security Trust Fund just suffered its first annual decline since Congress shored up the retirement program in 1983.  The unexpected $3 billion decline is an indication of the precarious state of Social Security's finances.  Since 2010, the program has been paying out more in benefits than it gets in tax revenue, but the trust fund, which earns about $95 billion a year in interest, had kept growing, though a little less each year.  Now that period of relative stability in the trust fund is almost past, without any effort in Washington to secure a stable future for Social Security.

Obama's Gun-Control Plan Includes Gun-Ban For Some Social Security Beneficiaries.  The White House released a fact-sheet Jan. 4 which previews the executive gun control Obama will unveil Tuesday [1/5/2016] and one aspect of the new controls is the inclusion of "information from the Social Security Administration in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm."  On July 18 Breitbart News reported on Obama's push to ban gun-possession for Social Security beneficiaries who are believed incapable of handling their own finances.

Chase bankers charged in $400K theft from elderly, dead customers.  Two JP Morgan Chase bankers stole more than $400,000 from elderly and deceased customers by accessing their accounts and getting their two pals withdraw cash from ATMs, authorities said Monday [12/28/2015].  Personal-account managers Jonathan Francis, 27, and Dion Allison, 30, targeted 15 dormant accounts with high balances and regular deposits from the Social Security Administration, according to the Brooklyn DA's Office.  Between August 2012 and October 2013, Francis and Allison — who worked at Chase's Restoration Plaza branch on Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant — then issued ATM cards to cohorts Kery Phillips and Gregory Desrameaux, who would then withdraw as much as $2,000 in cash a day.

2 Bankers Charged With Creating A.T.M. Cards to Steal From Accounts.  The 15 JPMorgan Chase bank accounts had a few things in common:  They had high balances, there was little activity on them and they belonged to elderly clients — indeed, at least eight were dead.  And all 15 of the accounts got regular cash infusions, thanks to direct deposits from the Social Security Administration.  That caught the eye of two private bankers who worked at a Bedford-Stuyvesant branch of JPMorgan Chase, Jonathan Francis and Dion Allison, according to an indictment filed this month in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.  Creating cards for automated teller machines and forged documents, the men and their accomplices withdrew about $400,000 from the accounts over two years, according to the indictment.

Chase Bank Employees Accused of Stealing $400,000 From Elderly, Dead Customers.  The defendants used their position in banking to steal Social Security funds, according to Social Security Administration Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Ryan.  "[It's] an offense against all taxpayers who contribute to Social Security and spend a lifetime working to earn those benefits," he said.  Jonathan Francis, 27, and Dion Allison, 30, both worked as personal bankers at Chase's Restoration Plaza branch at 1380 Fulton Street in Bed-Stuy.  They are accused of using their authority to electronically access dormant accounts with high balances, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson's office.

Two JP Morgan Chase bankers in Brooklyn indicted for stealing 400K from accounts of elderly or deceased.  Dion Allison, 31, and Jonathan Francis, 27, were personal bankers at the JPMorgan Chase branch at Restoration Plaza in Bedford-Stuyvesant and systematically searched the bank's database for accounts with high balances that weren't used except for direct deposits from Social Security, said Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Adam Zion.  From August 2012 until October 2013, Allison and Francis allegedly found 15 accounts and issued ATM cards to co-conspirators Kery Phillips and Gregory Desrameaux, authorities said.  Eight of the accounts belonged to dead people — one of whom died in 1982.

The Editor says...
Yep, there's a bunch of classy fellows.  But the government was sending checks to dead people — for 33 years in one case — and that's just one bank in New York!

The Idiocy of Central Planning in One Simple Chart.  While life expectancy has increased 12 years on average, Social Security hasn't altered its lifetime payout policies in any meaningful way.  Would you expect anything else from a government-run monopoly?  And any anytime a national politician attempts to point out the death spiral of these massive entitlement programs, they're promptly mocked by Democrats and/or depicted as pushing Granny off a cliff.

Social Security Facade: Taxing the young to pay for the old.  America's principal health and retirement programs for the elderly, Social Security and Medicare, are placing a massive fiscal burden on its youngest generations and crippling the country with debts that cannot be paid.  While the official national debt sits at a staggering $18 trillion, taking future entitlement spending obligations into account pushes the number beyond the conceivable:  $200 trillion.  That's 14 zeroes, over 10 times the official number.  The Social Security trust fund is projected to reach insolvency in 19 years, and Medicare will be unable to meet its projected obligations in 15 years.  Young Americans are stuck paying into programs that, absent reform, will only partially be there for their retirements — if they're around at all.

6 Million Un-Dead Have Social Security Numbers, Audit Finds.  An internal audit out this week reports that there are 6 million people with Social Security numbers who were born more than 112 years ago.  Unless there is a Missouri's worth of extremely aged Americans, what this means is that Social Security didn't get the death information that it was supposed to receive on these people.  These un-dead aren't collecting benefits, apparently, but it's still a huge problem, the auditors note, because those "live" numbers can be, and have been, used to commit fraud.

The Editor says...
Guess who is using one of those very old Social Security numbers.

Report: Social Security paying millions to dead people.  The [Social Security Administration] managed to recover $3.4 billion in overpayments, but spent $0.07 chasing every dollar it got back and ended the year with $18.5 billion in uncollected payments.  That included $46.8 million that was paid to Social Security recipients who had already died.

$944,143,000,000: Social Security Administration Spending Hit Record in FY2015; $6,345 For Every American With a Job.  As of September, there were 59,737,817 beneficiaries getting Social Security or disability benefits, according to the SSA.  At the same time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 148,800,000 people who had either a full- or part-time job in the United States.  That means there were only 2.49 people with jobs for each of the 59,737,817 Social Security and disability beneficiaries.  At the same time, there were only 121,839,000 people with full-time jobs in the United States in September, according to BLS.

For third time in 40 years, no Social Security increase coming.  By law, the annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is based on a government measure of inflation, which is being dragged down by lower prices at the pump.

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'.  "The program has invested $288 million over six years, delivered limited functionality, and faced schedule delays as well as increasing stakeholder concerns," the report said.

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'.  "The program has invested $288 million over six years, delivered limited functionality, and faced schedule delays as well as increasing stakeholder concerns," the report said.

Things to know about Social Security at 80: Is It Overhaul time?  The retirement fund has enough money to pay full benefits until 2035.  But once the fund is depleted, the shortfalls are projected to be enormous.

Did You Ever Notice the Asterisk on Your Social Security Statement?  While engaging in the mundane task of gathering financial statements for a "secure retirement" meeting with my husband's and my adviser, this Baby Boomer stumbled upon documented proof that our nation does not have the guts to confront one of its most serious economic problems.  The realization came when I pulled from my files a document statement innocently titled, "Your Social Security Statement."  At first glance, the statement did not appear menacing. [...] Then, as if on cue, I saw an asterisk with the following message:  The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2033, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 77 percent of scheduled benefits.

Why The Social Security Trustees Can't Be Trusted.  The recent news that the $2.8 trillion Social Security Trust Fund is projected to last until 2034, one year later than the Social Security Trustees reported in 2014, was greeted on the left as evidence that there's no urgency to fix the retirement program's finances.  But an examination of the details of the report reveals that the only thing buoying Social Security's financial outlook is an economic forecast that is far more optimistic than those of the Congressional Budget Office, the Federal Reserve, private-sector economists and even the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Is Social Security Really Going Broke?  Social Security has not collected enough in payroll tax to cover the benefits it's been paying out since 2010.  It has made up for the shortfall by using some of the interest it collects on the Treasury Bonds held by the Trust Fund.  (By law, Social Security must invest excess its revenue in Treasuries.)  As they said last year, in about 5 years (2020) the Trustees expect to begin gradually selling some of the bonds because at that point the interest alone won't be enough.  By 2034, there will be no Treasury bonds left.  At that point, even though it will have used up the reserves it has been building up for decades, Social Security will still be collecting payroll taxes from those in the workforce.

Report: Social Security disability fund to run dry next year.  The 11 million Americans who receive Social Security disability face steep benefit cuts next year, the government said Wednesday [7/22/2015], handing lawmakers a fiscal and political crisis in the middle of a presidential campaign.

Dems Talk About Expanding Social Security As It Careens Toward Insolvency.  The Social Security Administration's latest annual report says what it has been saying for several years now — its disability insurance program will become insolvent in 2016.  The only thing new is that 2016 is now less than a year away, and since lawmakers have ignored those prior warnings and refused to consider reforms to the disability program, the problem is now "urgent."

Obama Announces Large-Scale Gun Grab That Will Affect 4.2 Million SSA Recipients.  Obama plans to extend gun background checks to Social Security.  The administration will use the same strategy they use to confiscate guns from veterans who have others handle their financial affairs only this will affect a massive 4.2 million Americans.  An inability to balance a checkbook could get them banned from owning a gun.  What right does Barack Obama have to unilaterally make this decision affecting the Second Amendment?  This is the single most massive gun grab by this administration.  If you are elderly, a veteran or disabled, you might have your gun taken away because of Obama's big brush approach to gun control.

How can multiple personalities be abnormal if nothing else is?
Transgender Oregon Resident Collected Social Security Under Male and Female Names.  An Oregon resident who transitioned to a woman more than three decades ago continued collecting Social Security disability checks under her male identity, fraudulently raking in $250,000.

Hillary Clinton's plan to end Social Security.  Hillary Clinton says she cares about the middle class, but she doesn't.  If she did, why would she want to dramatically reduce future Social Security benefits, suck unaffordable amounts from young people footing the bill and even risk the program's ultimate collapse?  To be sure, she doesn't say that's what she wants, but it's what her pronounced policy preferences could lead to as they also mangled the budget and economy and threatened a calamitous fiscal crisis.

Watchdog: Agency spends more than it makes to collect wrongful payments.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) spends more money than it collects when trying to recover payments to individuals who received benefits for which they were not eligible.  According to the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the SSA issued $128.3 million in "low-dollar" overpayments between 2008 and 2013, and then spent $323 million to collect them.  The agency ultimately recovered only $109.4 million.  "This resulted in SSA spending over $213.6 million more than it collected," the OIG said, in an audit released Wednesday [7/1/2015].

SSA Paid the Dead $46.8 Million.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) paid individuals acting as representatives for disabled beneficiaries nearly $50 million even though they were dead.  An audit from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is just the latest example of the SSA's inability to figure out who on their rolls is still alive.  The audit focused on "representative payees," or a person who manages another's finances due to mental or physical limitations.  The OIG found that many payees acting on behalf of disability beneficiaries had died.

America's Coming Transfer of Wealth.  According to the CBO's annual Long-Term Budget Outlook, if current laws were to remain unchanged, government spending as a share of gross domestic product would reach 22.2 percent in fiscal 2025, up from 20.5 percent today.  By then, even under a very rosy GDP growth scenario, the debt would amount to 78 percent of the economy. [...] The deterioration comes fully from the explosion of major health care programs, Social Security and escalating interest on debt costs.  More precisely, Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act subsidies, and Social Security are the drivers of our future debt.  Spending on these programs alone could reach 11.8 percent of GDP in fiscal 2025 and 14.2 percent of GDP in 2040, up from 10.1 percent today.

Next president should privatize Social Security.  Jeb Bush thinks the next president will need to privatize Social Security, he said at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire on Tuesday — acknowledging that his brother attempted to do so and failed.  It's a position sure to be attacked by both Republicans and Democrats.

On The Brink Of Bankruptcy, Federal Disability Program Wastes Billions.  A government audit finds that the Social Security Disability Insurance program paid out $16.8 billion in disability benefits over the past decade to about four million people who either were working, made too much money, were in prison, were dead, weren't eligible or were no longer physically or mentally disabled. [...] Between 2003 and 2014, SSDI rolls climbed 44% — even though the Census Bureau reports that the number of actual working-age disabled has been climbing at a far lower rate.

Report: Social Security Overpaid Nearly Half on Disability.  Social Security overpaid nearly half the people receiving disability benefits over the past decade, according to a government watchdog, raising questions about the management of the cash-strapped program.

SSA Issued $16.8 Billion Disability Overpayments.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) made nearly $17 billion in disability overpayments in the last decade, according to an audit by the Office of Inspector General (OIG).  Some beneficiaries were able to receive disability benefits for 10 years, even though they were ineligible.  The OIG based its estimate of $16.8 billion overpayments on a sample of more than 1,500 Americans who received benefits since 2003, finding nearly half were overpaid.  "Our review of 1,532 beneficiaries in current pay status as of October 2003 found that over a 10-year period (from October 2003 through February 2014), SSA assessed overpayments for 44.5 percent of sampled beneficiaries," the audit said.

Social Security overpaid nearly half on disability, watchdog says.  In all, Social Security overpaid beneficiaries by nearly $17 billion, according to a 10-year study by the agency's inspector general.

Former Nazis received $20.2M in Social Security benefits, watchdog says.  A report from the Social Security Administration's inspector general revealed that more than 130 suspected Nazi war criminals, SS guards and others who may have participated in the Third Reich's atrocities collected $20.2 million in retirement benefits.  The Associated Press reports the inspector general said nearly a quarter of the total, $5.7 million, went to individuals who were found to have played a role in the Nazi persecution and had been deported.

Social Security's in worse shape than you thought: Study.  The Social Security Administration projects that its trust funds will be depleted by 2033 — not an optimistic forecast.  But it may be even bleaker than that.  New studies from Harvard and Dartmouth researchers find that the SSA's actuarial forecasts have been consistently overstating the financial health of the program's trust funds since 2000.  "These biases are getting bigger and they are substantial," said Gary King, co-author of the studies and director of Harvard's Institute for Quantitative Social Science.  "[Social Security] is going to be insolvent before everyone thinks."

How The Government Lies About Social Security.  Few people either remember this little fact or simply have no idea how the system even works, they have simply followed orders all their life and "contributed."  Social security is a tax, a voluntary tax.  No one is required under any law to obtain a social security number.  If that were the case, the government would automatically issue everyone a number.  Think about it.

Should We Kill the Social Security Number?  While tax season is still producing eye twitches around the nation, it's time to face the music about tax-related identity theft.  Experts project the 2014 tax year will be a bad one.  The Anthem breach alone exposed 80 million Social Security numbers, and then was quickly followed by the Premera breach that exposed yet another 11 million Americans' SSNs.  The question now:  Why are we still using Social Security numbers to identify taxpayers?

Feds Have Issued 541,000 SSNs to Illegal Aliens.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued 541,000 Social Security numbers (SSNs) to illegal aliens as a result of President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration in 2012.  The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — which the president created in the summer of 2012 and which instructs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to give work permits to so-called "DREAMers" — has enabled more than half a million illegal immigrants to work legally in the United States, according to a letter from the SSA to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.).

Christie's Entitlement Plan Is Honest But Doesn't Go Far Enough.  Few want to talk about entitlements during a presidential campaign.  Though it may no longer be the "third rail" of politics, it's still hazardous for any candidate.  Yet today, entitlements and interest spending gobble up 70% of our entire budget.  It's a sad delusion of public debate that we can cut discretionary spending and defense and balance our budget.  Sorry, no we can't.  As the New Jersey governor correctly notes, runaway growth in entitlements is bankrupting our nation.

More than A Half Million Social Security Numbers Issued To Illegal Immigrants Granted Amnesty.  In a letter to Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Ben Sasse (R-NE), exclusively obtained by Breitbart News, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reveals that by the end of Fiscal Year 2014 the Obama administration "had issued approximately 541,000 original SSNs to individuals authorized to work under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy since its inception" in 2012.  The administration said it did not maintain a count of the number of individuals who applied but were denied an SSN.

The Lie behind Social Security.  Social Security is in trouble.  We all know this, or should.  But there is a cheat within the system, and it is time the cheat was brought into the full light of day.  In short, Democrat lawmakers — and Republicans who have remained silent on the issue — are complicit in a process that amounts to fuzzy math or worse — intentional confiscation of Social Security benefits from those who, all their lives, have worked harder.  Contrary to public misconception, Social Security is not a level playing field — it is, in fact, confiscatory.

IG Audit: 6.5 Million People With Active Social Security Numbers Are 112 or Older.  Many people are living longer, but not to age 112 or beyond — except in the records of the Social Security Administration.  The SSA's inspector general has identified 6.5 million number-holders age 112 — or older — for whom no death date has been entered in the main electronic file, called Numident.  The audit, dated March 4, 2015, concluded that SSA lacks the controls necessary to annote death information on the records of number-holders who exceed "maximum reasonable life expectancies."

Amnestied Illegals May Receive Social Security As Early As 2017.  Illegal immigrants who take advantage of President Obama's executive actions on immigration will soon collect another benefit:  Social Security.  Starting in 2017, the Social Security Administration expects that thousands of undocumented immigrants will begin collecting from the Old-Age, Survivor's, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program as a direct result of the president's actions.  In a letter to Republican senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the SSA's chief actuary Stephen Goss indicated that an additional 16,000 people will begin collecting OASDI benefits come 2017, and that the number of beneficiaries would continue to increase for 40 years thereafter, topping out at 695,000 people.  Goss's projection may underestimate the number of potential beneficiaries, however, as it assumes that 50,000 fewer illegal immigrants will enter the country each year starting in 2016.

DHS Secretary Fails to Cite Any Law Authorizing Obama to Give Social Security Numbers to Illegal Aliens.  When asked to do so at a Thursday press briefing, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson failed to cite any law that authorized President Barack Obama to give Social Security Numbers to illegal aliens. asked Johnson:  "A federal court in Texas v. United States has said giving an illegal alien a Social Security Number is not an act of prosecutorial discretion.  What specific law gives the president the authority to give a Social Security Number to a foreign national in the country illegally?"

Democratic congresswoman: 'We are at war' over Social Security.  The Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund is projected to reach depletion in late 2016.  Over 10 million recipients would see their benefits cut by 20 percent if the fund is depleted.  If the Disability Insurance Trust Fund were combined with the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the combined trust funds would be projected to reach depletion in 2033.

Dems scramble to perpetuate deceptive Social Security accounting.  If it's left unreformed, over 10 million recipients of Social Security's disability insurance will have their benefits arbitrarily cut by 20 percent near the end of 2016.  Many Democrats want to sweep the problem under the rug with an accounting gimmick that would merge the disability trust fund with the general Social Security trust fund, which, on paper, isn't expected to be depleted until 2034.  But House Republicans passed a rule Tuesday [1/6/2015] to protect the broader Social Security program from being raided.

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle.  "The program has invested $288 million over six years, delivered limited functionality, and faced schedule delays as well as increasing stakeholder concerns," the report said.

Social Security continuing to pursue claims against family members for old debts.  The Social Security Administration, which announced in April that it would stop trying to collect debts from the children of people who were allegedly overpaid benefits decades ago, has continued to demand such payments and now defends that practice in court documents.  After The Washington Post reported in April that the Treasury Department had confiscated $75 million in tax refunds due to about 400,000 Americans whose ancestors owed money to Social Security, the agency's acting commissioner, Carolyn Colvin, said efforts to collect on those old debts would cease immediately.

Federal Spending by the Numbers, 2014 (Including 51 Examples of Government Waste).  Where Does All The Money Go?  Forty-nine percent, or almost half of all spending, paid for Social Security and health care entitlements (primarily Medicare and Medicaid).  In 2002, the entitlement share of the budget was 25 percent, about half of what it is today.  Without reform of these massive and growing programs, Washington will have to borrow increasing amounts of money, piling debt onto younger generations and putting the nation on a dangerous economic course.  Social Security is the largest federal spending program and has held this position since surpassing defense spending in 1993.  Medicare is one of the largest and fastest-growing programs in the entire federal budget.

Social Security is going broke
This Chart Shows Why Social Security Will Be Broke in 10 Years.  Social Security's trustees projected in 1983 that the recently enacted Social Security reforms would keep the program active for at least the next 75 years, through 2058.  However, according to research by Rachel Greszler, a senior policy analyst, and James M. Roberts, research fellow for economic freedom and growth at The Heritage Foundation, that approach date has accelerated.  "If the trend since 1983 continues, the program will become insolvent in 2024 — 34 years earlier than originally projected," Roberts writes.

Fight brewing over Social Security benefits for illegal immigrants.  A new clash over retirement benefits has come to a head following President Obama's decision to unilaterally protect up to 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation.  The White House now acknowledges that many of the illegal immigrants spared from deportation under Obama's sweeping executive action will become eligible for Social Security and Medicare benefits once they reach retirement age.

Can Social Security Privatization Guarantee You More Benefits at a Lower Cost?  [Scroll down]  To illustrate, imagine a Social Security reform plan in which every worker is given a personal account that is invested in stocks.  At retirement, a worker cashes in his account to pay whatever benefit he is promised by Social Security.  If his account balance isn't enough to pay his promised benefit, the government makes up the difference.  If his account is more than is needed, then the government takes, say, a quarter of that surplus and the account holder keeps the rest.  Under the approach to budget accounting favored by Van de Water and the CBPP, this Social Security reform plan could guarantee that every worker gets his full benefit while also reducing the budget deficit.

Why is Social Security seizing your tax refund over your relatives' debt?  CBS News first met Mary Grice in April after her tax refund of almost $3,000 dollars had been confiscated, she said, without notice.  It turned out the Social Security Administration had seized her refund, claiming her family received too much in death benefits after Grice's father died — in 1960.  Grice, who was five years old at the time, says she never got a penny and calls the loss of her refund an injustice.  "They feel that, 'We're the government, we can do whatever we want, however we want, whenever we want.' and it's so unfair," she said.

Social Security spent $300M on 'IT boondoggle'.  Six years ago the Social Security Administration embarked on an aggressive plan to replace outdated computer systems overwhelmed by a growing flood of disability claims.  Nearly $300 million later, the new system is nowhere near ready and agency officials are struggling to salvage a project racked by delays and mismanagement, according to an internal report commissioned by the agency.

Senate Bill Would Allow Unmarried to Collect SS Spousal Survivor Benefits.  Two Senate Democrats want to change the way a valid marriage is determined under the Social Security Act so that same-sex couples living in states that do not recognize their unions can still collect spousal survivor benefits.  Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) introduced the Social Security and Marriage Equality (SAME) Act on May 8th.  The bill aims to "ensure all same-sex spouses receive equal treatment under the Social Security Act when applying for Social Security benefits, regardless of where they live," according to Senator Murray's website.

White House wanted Geithner to lie to the public about social security being behind the deficit.  The White House wanted Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to lie on Sunday talk shows to downplay the part Social Security played in driving the deficit, it was revealed today. [...] 'I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn't contribute to the deficit.  It wasn't a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute,' he says.  'Pfeiffer said the line was a 'dog whistle' to the left, a phrase I had never heard before.  He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security.'

Geithner: White House Wanted Me to Lie on Sunday Shows.  Timothy Geithner, the former secretary of the Treasury Department, says the White House wanted him to lie in scheduled appearances on the Sunday TV talk shows. [...] Of course, Geithner would not have been the only official from the White House to have misled the American people on the Sunday talk shows.

Geithner Fretted Over Social Security Deficits — Before the Dog Whistle.  In an election year, political-speak is done with dog whistles.  That's the backdrop readers may want to use in understanding former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's confession in his latest book about the talking-points memo he got for his Sunday morning TV appearances from Obama Administration official Dan Pfeiffer on not equating Social Security reform with deficit reduction.  Pfeiffer suggested Geithner avoid talking about Social Security reform as helping to cut the deficit in order to send a calming "dog whistle" of a signal to the Democratic base that Social Security will not be touched, in order to keep voters in the tent.

Ingraham: Geithner Should Have Resigned When WH Asked Him to Mislead Public.  In his book, [Timothy] Geithner revealed that Senior Advisor to the President for Strategy and Communications Dan Pfeiffer asked him to de-emphasize the impact Social Security has on America's deficit ahead of an appearance on the Sunday talk shows.  Pfeiffer said that calling Social Security a deficit driver would serve as a "'dog whistle' to the left."  "We now know that the left considers its base a bunch of unruly canines," Ingraham observed.  "Didn't Tim Geithner, as a public servant, have a duty to actually resign at that point?" she asked.

Krauthammer: Administration has manipulative relationship with the truth'.  Charles Krauthammer told viewers Monday on "Special Report with Bret Baier" that a moment recounted in former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's new memoir shows that the Obama administration has a "less than arm's length relationship with the truth."  "It's less than arm's length — it is actually a clearly manipulative relationship with the truth," Krauthammer said.  "That it is to be used, or abused, or inverted, in order to, quote, 'send a message,' to send a dog signal."

CBO Director: Important to Give Advance Warning About Coming Changes to Social Security.  The United States faces "fundamental fiscal challenges" stemming from the growth in spending for Social Security and major health care programs," CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf told a gathering in Washington on Tuesday [3/18/2014].  The rising cost of those programs leaves Americans with "unpleasant" choices to make, but the sooner they're made, the better, he said.

7 Lies Liberals Tell Young Americans.  [#2]  Social Security and Medicare will be there for you:  Young Americans are expected to pay into Medicare and Social Security, but the programs aren't going to be there in their present forms when they get old enough to use them.  In other words, we're defrauding young Americans.  We're telling them to pay today so they'll be taken care of when they get old, but we have no intention of ever allowing them to collect.  Unless there are massive changes made to our entitlement programs, most young Americans should expect to work until they die.

Don't Let Death Stop your Social Security.  Uncle Sam, always generous to a fault with taxpayers' money, doled out about $108 billion in Social Security benefits to the dead in 2012.

Dead or alive? Social Security can't always say.  Federal auditors said Friday the Social Security Administration still struggles with a basic problem — figuring out who is dead and who is not.  The question is a crucial one, since federal agencies rely on the administration to cross-match data on deceased persons and avoid paying out federally funded benefits to people who aren't alive, or to establish accurate benefits for survivors.  The administration also maintains a "Death Master File" that is available to the public.

Implosion of Social Security Disability Ponzi Scheme Accelerates.  Fresh data just released by the trustees of the Social Security Administration show that the number of people receiving benefits from the Disability Insurance Trust Fund has exploded over the last five years, reducing the surplus in that fund from $216 billion in 2008 to just over $100 billion in 2013.  There were 7.4 million recipients in January 2009, but as of October 2013, there are nearly nine million beneficiaries, not including another two million spouses and children of disabled workers who are also receiving benefits.  Simple math illustrates the inevitable:  If those receiving benefits for disability (real or faked) continues to increase, the trust fund will be bankrupt in less than three years.

Do Americans Prefer Deception?.  Congress tells us that one-half (6.2 percent) of the Social Security tax is paid by employees and that the other half is paid by employers, for a total of 12.4 percent.  Similarly, we are told that a Medicare tax of 1.45 percent is levied on employees and that another 1.45 percent is levied on employers.  The truth of the matter is that the burden of both taxes is borne by employees.  In other words, we pay both the employee and the so-called employer share.

Agencies can't always tell who's dead and who's not, so benefit checks keep coming.  The U.S. government has a problem with dead people.  For one thing, it pays them way too much money.  In the past few years, Social Security paid $133 million to beneficiaries who were deceased.  The federal employee retirement system paid more than $400 million to retirees who had passed away.  And an aid program spent $3.9 million in federal money to pay heating and air-conditioning bills for more than 11,000 of the dead.

Breaking the Third Rail.  Social Security, Tip O'Neill once observed, is the third rail of politics.  Lawmakers who touched the venerable retirement insurance program, or its cousins Medicare and Medicaid, were said to be zapped to death on the spot.  This was the case as recently as 2005, when President Bush tried to pass incremental reforms to Social Security.  Democrats rallied the public, the proposal flamed out, and Bush's domestic agenda suffered its most serious setback.  But lately, not only is criticizing entitlements not a political death kiss, it's actually become a necessity in Republican politics.

We Can't Solve Our Problems If We Deny We Have Them.  Over the next 20 years, Social Security will pay out $4.7 trillion more in benefits than it will bring in through the payroll tax.  Americans have been misled into believing this system is solvent because of the fiction of the Social Security Trust Fund — the "lockbox."  Now, to be truthful, the lockbox does exist — a four-drawer filing cabinet located in West Virginia that holds $2.8 trillion in U.S. government bonds.  The figure represents the accumulated surplus of payroll taxes over benefits, plus interest paid on those balances.  But those funds were spent by Washington politicians of both parties on other politically popular goodies.  That money is long gone.  The problem with the bonds that replaced it is they have absolutely no monetary value to the U.S. government.

Conn Job.  Stanville, a tiny town in eastern Kentucky, seems an unlikely place for a multimillion-dollar empire.  Yet for decades, an unscrupulous lawyer named Eric Christopher Conn has been working the Social Security disability system, securing benefits for even the most undeserving of clients, according to a new report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.  The report describes a lucrative scheme that involved not only Conn but also a disability judge and several doctors with bad reputations — all of whom may have profited substantially.

Widespread fraud reported in Social Security Administration's Disability Program.  A two-year investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has found widespread fraud in the Social Security Administration's Disability Program.  The fraud is so rampant, and disability cases have so proliferated in recent years, that the Social Security's Disability Trust Fund may run out of money in only 18 months, says Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., whose office undertook the investigation.

Committee Reveals Widespread Disability Scheme.  A Kentucky lawyer made millions off Social Security disability programs, devising a scheme with a judge to approve fraudulent claims at an "assembly-line" rate.  A two-year investigation led by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, revealed a case of coordinated fraud responsible for the approval of billions in claims.

Social Security Judge Accused of Disability Scheme.  A retired Social Security judge in West Virginia collaborated with a lawyer to improperly award disability benefits to hundreds of applicants, according to a report released Monday [10/7/2013] by congressional investigators.

Social Security makes $1.3 billion in overpayments.  The Social Security Administration has paid an estimated $1.3 billion in disability insurance payments to thousands of people who weren't eligible for the benefits, a government watchdog report finds.

Binder on Binder & Binder.  The Social Security Administration pays an awful lot of money to people who aren't — and never claim to be — disabled.  When a person applying for disability secures a legal representative, then is successfully awarded benefits, the lawyer or advocate who helped him gets a generous cut of the money, paid directly from the SSA's disability fund.  In the first six months of 2013, the SSA has already forked over $642.6 million to these claimant representatives, who have a significant financial interest in getting people on disability.

Schumer: Put Aliens Who Forged Documents on Path to Citizenship.  Americans might generally think that if someone forges a document and uses a Social Security number that does not belong to them, they should go to jail.  Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., believes if you are an illegal alien and you do these things, you should become a U.S. citizen.  He made his case for this in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Social Security Faces $9.6T in Unfunded Liabilities — 83,894 Per Household.  The Social Security program faces $9.6 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years, which is up $1 trillion from last year's projection of $8.6 trillion, according to the latest report from Social Security's board of trustees.

Paterson cardiologist admits to $19M in health care fraud.  A prominent cardiologist who ran medical services companies in New Jersey and New York pleaded guilty on Wednesday to orchestrating a massive fraud that subjected thousands of patients to unnecessary tests and procedures and resulted in $19 million in losses.  Dr. Jose Katz, 68, of Closter, confessed his crimes to U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares during a hearing in federal court in Newark.

Soaring Social Security disability rolls headed for collapse.  Jim Pethokoukis, of the American Enterprise Institute, has calculated that if labor force participation had not declined so much since Obama took office, the unemployment rate for January would have been 10.8 percent.  What happens to the workers who drop out of the labor force?  Some retire, some become full-time parents, some go on welfare.  But here's an important answer that is often overlooked:  In 2011, on average, one net person has been added to Social Security's Disability Insurance rolls (and 3.3 to its retirement program) for every five net new jobs created.

Entitlements: Washington's Official Lies About Spending.  The Social Security trust funds contain nothing more than IOUs, bonds that have absolutely no market value.  In other words, they are worthless bookkeeping entries.  Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, meaning that the taxes paid by today's workers are immediately sent out as payment to today's retirees.  Social Security is just another federal program funded out of general revenues.

Government Gave 4,317 Aliens two Social Security Numbers Apiece.  A report from the Social Security Administration Inspector General (IG) found 4,317 instances where a non-citizen was able to obtain two Social Security numbers, including 542 instances that happened since 2001.  "We identified 4,317 instances where the Numident record of 2 SSNs assigned to noncitizens contained matching first, middle, and last names; dates and places of birth; gender; and fathers' and mothers' names," the IG reported on Dec. 10, 2012.

Social Security's disability trust fund could fail to cover all benefits early as 2016.  Over the long term, Social Security and Medicare have promised tens of trillions of dollars more in benefits than the nation can pay for under current policies.  But Social Security's disability trust fund is in even worse shape, and current estimates say by 2016 it won't have enough money to pay full benefits.

President Obama's Cat-Food Future For Retirees.  Americans are drawing down their 401(k)s for nonretirement needs in record numbers, just as Social Security goes bust.  This portends poverty for millions as the White House fiddles.

Obama's Social Security Games Make Case For Private Pensions.  President Obama threatened Social Security checks would be delayed if Congress didn't play ball on the debt ceiling.  Once again, he turned pensions into a political football.  There are ways to stop this.

Beyond waste and fraud.  When Social Security started in 1935, the eligibility age was 65 and life expectancy was 63.  Today, the average individual lives until age 78.  Boosting the eligibility age would impose little hardship on retirees while trimming the program that currently consumes more than a fifth of the federal budget.  Similarly, increasing the Medicare deductible to $6,400 per person would save $250 billion annually while encouraging consumers to better balance costs and benefits.

Social Security: It's Worse Than You Think.  For the first time in more than a quarter-century, Social Security ran a deficit in 2010:  It spent $49 billion dollars more in benefits than it received in revenues, and drew from its trust funds to cover the shortfall.  Those funds — a $2.7 trillion buffer built in anticipation of retiring baby boomers — will be exhausted by 2033, the government currently projects.  Those facts are widely known.  What's not is that the Social Security Administration underestimates how long Americans will live and how much the trust funds will need to pay out [...]

The Real Country-Killer in 2013.  Every week, the U.S. Treasury borrows money to keep operating, by holding auctions of "T-Bills."  Institutional investors, foreign and domestic, show up to bid on these government bonds (Treasury Bills).  What if investors decide that it just isn't worth risking any more of their money?  There won't be any money.  Even when the country still looks strong, investors could sit on the sidelines, worrying:  "Let someone else take the risk."  If the lending stops, can the country survive when the Ponzi scheme collapses?  What if there is no money to cut social security or Medicare checks, or operate the government?

Social Security Ran $47.8B Deficit in FY 2012; Disabled Workers Hit New Record in December: 8,827,795.  The Social Security program ran a $47.8 billion deficit in fiscal 2012 as the program brought in $725.429 billion in cash and paid $773.247 [billion] for benefits and overhead expenses, according to official data published by Social Security Administration.  The Social Security Administration also released new data revealing that the number of workers collecting disability benefits hit a record 8,827,795 in December — up from 8,805,353 in November.

Shredding Liberal Talking Points, Again.  You cannot dispute this:  In 2010, social security payouts began to exceed revenue.  Same for 2011.  By 2015, social security is expected to pay out $7.9 trillion more than it takes in.  Who in their right mind can consider that position as "just fine?"

Time to own the election, America.  The nanny state is the president's plan — Americans' cash pouring into the government's coffers to be "redistributed."  Given away.  To whomever the government decides "deserves" it.  Want to plan for your own future?  Absurd.  Give us your money and we'll give it back to you in 40 years — if we deem you worthy.

Sheila Jackson Lee: Entitlements Off The Table, They Are "Earned".  Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX):  "There is no way, Mr. Speaker, that we should raise the eligibility age for Medicare, that we should not think carefully about how we approach the reform of Medicaid.  And that we don't the American people that Social Security is solvent. [..."]

The Editor asks...
If you are entitled to receive something, it isn't necessary to earn it.

Okay, President Obama, Let's be Fair.  Let's be fair.  People who are taking money from the Social Security fund under the guise of being disabled, when they are not, are essentially stealing the money from the people who obediently paid into Social Security.

Republicans for Big Government.  [Scroll down]  Stated differently, the federal government has no legal obligation to pay any money to any Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid applicant.  That's why those who have relied on the political wisdom of politicians, rather than their own prudential judgment, are dupes.  Let me rephrase that:  Those who have permitted politicians to use the force of law to compel us all to contribute our hard-earned income to a bankrupt government Ponzi scheme are dupes if they think this can work without end.

Washington's financial miscreants sucker us.  Only in a town like this would criminally reckless and penniless grifters still be at the bargaining table as their debtors and creditors pick through the rubble of the financial ruin they themselves created.  This Congress has for decades stolen billions out of our personal retirement account to fund an obscene lavishness and political nest-feathering that would make a king blush.

Jackson Lee: 'Who Wants to Make a Fuss About Social Security When It's Solvent?'  Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D.-Texas) said last week that Republicans are being "frivolous" when they talk about reforming Social Security as a means of fixing the federal government's fiscal problems because Social Security is "solvent."  According to Social Security's trustees, the program has operated in the red in each of the last two years.

Dems Say Social Security Doesn't Add to Deficit.  Congressional Democrats say they aren't willing to consider changes in Social Security in order to avoid the "fiscal cliff."  On Sunday, November 25, 2012, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), on ABC's This Week, said, "Social Security does not add one penny to the deficit.  Not a penny.  It's a separate funded operation, and we can do things that I believe we should now, smaller things, played out over the long term that gives it solvency."  Durbin also said that Social Security needs only a few minor tweaks, but no major reforms to ensure its long-term solvency.

Social Security and the Politics of Deceit.  Joe Biden's simplistic remark belies a horrific lack of understanding regarding the reality of investing versus the broken promises of Social Security.  The erroneous comment by Biden about the market and his disingenuous explanation of what life would have been like had you been able to make your own decisions with Social Security funds underscores the problems our nation faces in understanding the results of the 2012 presidential election.  In this election particularly, the politics of deceit continued unchecked when Biden's statement on Social Security went unchallenged.

Can we protect ourselves from Obama and those who elected him? (Part 2):  [Scroll down]  Assume Social Security won't be there for you.  If it is, and for whatever reason, you like government taking 6.2 percent of your paycheck and forcing your employer to match that amount, then good for you.  For the business-minded among us, it offers a poor return on your investment.  But then, it isn't really an investment, is it?  It's a tax.

It's the Welfare State, Stupid.  The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story about a couple (he 66, she 70) touring the world.  They've visited London, Paris, Florence and Buenos Aires.  Their financial adviser sends them $6,000 a month from investments and proceeds from their home sale.  They also receive Social Security.  How much?  They don't say.  My hunch:  between $25,000 and $50,000 a year.

Obama: 'Social Security is Structurally Sound;' Trustees: 'Unfunded Obligation ... Is $8.6T'.  President Barack Obama said in Wednesday night's presidential debate that Social Security is "structurally sound," but Social Security's Board of Trustees said in their 2012 annual report that the program faced $8.6 trillion in "unfunded obligations" — meaning that it is currently obligated to pay out $8.6 trillion more in benefits than it is anticipated to bring in through taxes.

Can Republicans Talk?  Vulnerable people, depending on that monthly Social Security check, need to hear that you understand that they paid into Social Security for years when they were working, and that it would be unconscionable to now cheat them out of what they paid for.  Policy wonks already know that nobody in his right mind has proposed any such thing.

The funny think about reform & fear.  That segment of the population that has the least to fear from a reform of Medicare or Social Security is the most fearful — namely, those already receiving Medicare or Social Security benefits.  It is understandable that people heavily dependent on these programs would fear losing their benefits, especially after a lifetime of paying into these programs.  But nobody in his right mind has even proposed taking away the benefits of those who are already receiving them.

Paul Ryan and Social Security — Do the Math.  First, let's just get this out of way.  Paul Ryan should be commended for putting forth any plan to address Social Security.  This already makes him more qualified than almost any other candidate in decades, including the one he is paired with in 2012 and the one he is running against.  That being said, the plan put forth in the Path to Prosperity, also known as the Paul Ryan plan, is based on two facts that most people are aware of, but aren't comfortable talking about.

Obama Declares War On Seniors, Steals Part Of Their SS Check.  Barack Obama's war on America's seniors knows no limits.  The Treasury Department is withholding part of the Social Security monthly payments of about 115,000 seniors because they have fallen behind on student loan payments.  There was a time when Social Security benefit payments were untouchable, but that is a thing of the past.

Duped by Congressional Lies.  The Social Security pamphlet of 1936 read, "Beginning November 24, 1936, the United States Government will set up a Social Security account for you. ... The checks will come to you as a right.".  Americans were led to believe that Social Security was like a retirement account and that money placed in it was, in fact, their property.  Shortly after the Social Security Act's passage, it was challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court, in Helvering v. Davis (1937).  The court held that Social Security was not an insurance program, saying, "The proceeds of both employee and employer taxes are to be paid into the Treasury like any other internal revenue generally, and are not earmarked in any way."

Fraud by illegal immigrants destroying children's lives.  The SSA Actuary estimates that 75 percent of illegal immigrants obtain and use a fraudulent Social Security number.

The Ugly Truth About Social Security Is Revealed.  A recent front page USA Today story inadvertently exposed the lie that is Social Security. [...] Sure enough, and despite the protests for years from big government apologists that our Social Security funds are secure, it turns out they're not.  We know this now not because we're logical, or because some libertarian said so, but because Jim Horney at the liberal Center on Budget Priorities told us exactly that.

Work 'til You Drop: Is that such a bad idea?  In the early 1900s, nearly 80 percent of Americans over the age of 65 had a job.  Dora Costa, an economic historian at UCLA, says people stopped working only if they were no longer physically able to.  They expected to work as long as they lived.  Is that really such a terrible idea?

The Road From Serfdom.  The argument conservatives too often make seems to be: "Trust us; we know what's best for you."  Yet when was the last time that voters trusted politicians of either party to make wise decisions on their behalf?  With congressional approval now hovering in the teens, there is little likelihood the public will back fundamental reform of the $1 trillion entitlement system.  But there is another way:  Give individual citizens the freedom to either stick with the government-run plan, or choose a market-based option.

The Real 'Entitlement Mentality' That Is Bankrupting America.  The two biggest entitlement programs — Social Security and Medicare — are seen by voters as trust funds they pay into during their working lives and then get back in their retirement years.  That's what President Franklin D. Roosevelt sold voters back in 1935.  He wanted the "contributors" to have a "legal, moral and political right to collect their pensions."  That's what voters still want today.

Let's End Social Security As We Know It.  Governments of most industrialized nations are staggering under mountainous debts.  Aging populations and slowing economic growth have undermined generous welfare states.  Least affordable are public pensions modeled after the infamous "investment" scheme popularized by Charles Ponzi.  Collect money from current taxpayers to pay current beneficiaries, and let the future take care of itself.

Why Do We Stick With Broken Social Security Model?  In its latest projection, the Congressional Budget Office found that the Social Security Trust Fund had $1 trillion less than expected.  Seems it always happens this way.  When will Washington recognize that the problem is the model?

Social Security Trust Fund Outlook Takes $1 Tril Dive.  The outlook for Social Security's trust fund has deteriorated to an astonishing degree over the past year, new Congressional Budget Office projections show.  The nonpartisan budget scorekeeper now expects the trust fund to peak in 2018 and decline to $2.7 trillion in 2022 — a full $1 trillion less than Social Security's own actuaries were expecting last year.

Social Security: The birth of Big Brother.  Just last year, 79 percent of respondents to a CNN/ORC poll rated Social Security "good for the country."  In the same survey, an astonishing 73 percent agreed that "Social Security is something that the U.S. Constitution allows the federal government to do."  Support for the program is both deep and broad, cutting across the political spectrum. ... This is sad because Social Security is every bit as offensive to liberty and fiscal sanity as Obamacare.

A Very Good Question about Our National Debt.  The total present value of payments expected under Social Security and Medicare beyond what is expected to be collected under current tax laws is about $100 trillion.  One way to put that amount of money in context is to note that it is about twice the amount of all the net private assets that exist in America today.  To answer cw's question directly, the best back-of-envelope estimate is that meeting this unfunded portion of our Social Security and Medicare commitments would require roughly an immediate 80 percent increase in federal income taxes, sustained forever.

Less than half believe Social Security is a good deal.  A new Rasmussen poll shows that only 48% of Americans believe Social Security is a good deal for working Americans today.  33% say it is not a good deal.  20% are unsure.  The numbers do not add up to 100 because of the way numbers are rounded.  56% of likely voters are either not very confident or not confident at all that they will receive all that has been promised to them from Social Security.

Is Social Security a Ponzi Scheme?  [Scroll down]  Don't be embarrassed if you've fallen for this scam.  So has The New York Times.  It tried to set Perry straight by reporting that "economists of all stripes agree" Social Security won't "exhaust the money in the trust fund" until 2037.  But as the Times itself conceded last year, this trust fund is no more than "an accounting device" that represents how much the government owes itself — or, in other words, how much must be extracted from taxpayers to cover all the surplus Social Security money Congress has squandered over the years.  The surpluses themselves are long gone, replaced by Treasury bonds that can be redeemed only through higher taxes or further borrowing (which eventually translates into higher taxes).

Federal Programs and Tax Breaks That Help Millionaires.  The total amount of Social Security retirement benefits paid to millionaires from 2004 through 2009 was more than $9 billion.  This high number of high-earners receiving benefits from the Social Security Trust Fund was never contemplated when the program was created because the program was intended as a safety net for low-income earners.

How Social Security went 'cash negative' earlier than expected.  Last year, as a debate over the runaway national debt gathered steam in Washington, Social Security passed a treacherous milestone.  It went "cash negative."  For most of its 75-year history, the program had paid its own way through a dedicated stream of payroll taxes, even generating huge surpluses for the past two decades.  But in 2010, under the strain of a recession that caused tax revenue to plummet, the cost of benefits outstripped tax collections for the first time since the early 1980s.

Entitlement Programs: A Plan to End Them.  America's financial situation is precarious.  Over the past eight years our national debt has doubled to $14.5 trillion, and our total unfunded liabilities now exceed an astonishing $114 trillion.  That's $1,115,000 per federal income taxpayer.  Even the most unrepentant spendthrift understands that these debts and liabilities are unsupportable, nor can they be solved by immorally targeting the rich.  Instead, we must enact immediate, across-the-board spending cuts, with special emphasis on the biggest components of our financial wreck:  Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  These entitlement programs constitute the majority of our unfunded liabilities, because despite being labeled "trusts" they're not actually savings plans.

Social Security Disaster.  The very first Social Security check went to Ida May Fuller in 1940.  She paid just $24.75 in Social Security taxes but collected a total of $22,888.92 in benefits, getting back all she put into Social Security in a month.  According to a Congressional Research Service report titled "Social Security Reform" (October 2002), by Geoffrey Kollmann and Dawn Nuschler, workers who retired in 1980 at age 65 got back all they put into Social Security, plus interest, in 2.8 years.  Workers who retired at age 65 in 2002 will have to wait a total of 16.9 years to break even.  For those retiring in 2020, it will take 20.9 years.

All Entitlements Are Not Created Equal.  Social Security was advertised as an old age retirement savings plan:  your money saved by government and paid to you when you retire.  The advertising was false.  From the start, money paid OUT to retirees was money paid IN by still working Americans.  This is money that should have been set aside to pay for their retirement.  Social Security was and is a classic Ponzi scheme — a government initiated and government sanctioned transfer of funds intended for future retirees paid to present retirees.

Ponzi! Ponzi! Ponzi!  Many people think that when the government takes payroll tax from their paychecks, it goes to something like a savings account.  Seniors who collect Social Security think they're just getting back money that they put into their "account."  Or they think it's like an insurance policy — you win if you live long enough to get more than you paid in.  Neither is true.  Nothing is invested.  The money taken from you was spent by government that year.  Right away.  There's no trust fund.  The plan is unsustainable.  Medicare is worse.

You Say 'Ponzi Scheme,' I Say 'Fraud'.  Both the former Massachusetts governor and the current Texas governor understand that Social Security is a transfer program disguised as a retirement plan and that its frequently mentioned "trust fund" does not actually exist.  Their spat over how exactly to characterize that situation is illuminating not because it reveals substantive differences between the candidates but because it shows how often these simple truths are overlooked.

Authors of Social Security Believed It Was Unconstitutional.  Some of the main players involved in creating Social Security believed it was unconstitutional — and for good reason.  Yet, for them, not unlike many in today's Washington, the ultimate questions were not:  Is this good for the long-term future of the country, and does Congress have authority to do it?  They were:  Will this serve our immediate political interests, and can we get away with it?

The 'Ponzi' Sound Bite.  Governor Perry is not even among the first thousand people to call Social Security a Ponzi scheme.  Not only conservatives, but even some liberals, have been calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme for decades.

The Third Rail Unplugged.  For decades now political consultants, especially those of the Florida sub-species, have been able to charge big bucks to advise Republican candidates not to say anything about Social Security during campaigns.  It's the "third rail" of politics, they breathlessly warn.  Touch it and your political career goes up in smoke.

GOP Shows Healthy Disregard For 3rd Rail.  Social Security, long considered the "third rail" of U.S. politics, seems to have lost its power of shock. ... That represents a sea change compared to the last three decades, when any politician who dared to bring up the parlous state of Social Security's financing would be charged with "pushing grandma off a cliff" by special interests seeking to scare seniors.

An uncomfortable truth about Social Security.  Rick Perry has gotten a lot of heat for describing the Social Security system as "a Ponzi scheme," and he deserves it.  The Texas governor owes a big apology to Charles Ponzi.  Sure, Ponzi fleeced investors, but they at least had a choice about participating. Social Security operates on a compulsory basis.

It is a Ponzi scheme.  Social Security taxes on employee wages are transferred straight to the checks of current retirees, and the "fund" is just a pass-through account and past supluses were replaced with IOUs.  Fifteen years earlier, Charles Ponzi had a similar idea.

The Great Social Security Debate.  Social Security is a pay-as-you-go program.  A current beneficiary isn't receiving the money she paid in years ago.  That money is gone.  It went to her parents' Social Security check.  The money in her check is coming from her son's FICA tax today — i.e., her "investment" was paid out years ago to earlier entrants in the system and her current benefits are coming from the "investment" of the new entrants into the system.  Pay-as-you-go is the definition of a Ponzi scheme.

Perry and the Ponzis.  [Governor Rick] Perry's Ponzi-scheme claim is in no way original.  Not only have a raft of conservatives called Social Security a Ponzi scheme over the years, quite a few very respectable liberals have done so as well.  It is clearly wrong either to treat the Ponzi-scheme analogy as unprecedented or to rule it altogether out of legitimate public debate.

You're idiotic, he explained.  Is Social Security something of a Ponzi scheme?  It seems to me to partake of its essential elements, requiring new "investors" to pay off previous "investors."  The trappings of the program are sufficiently misleading that they would land principals operating in the private sector in serious trouble.

Rick Perry is right: Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.  Texas Governor Rick Perry has been criticized for saying that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.  But he's absolutely right, and he is hardly the first guy to notice.  I figured that out 30 years ago.  A Ponzi scheme is an investment program where there are no real dividends.  It is able to make payouts to early investors only as long as there are enough new investors to pump money into it.  Once the new investments decline, the payouts decrease, and eventually there are no more payouts.

Is the Social Security Fraud Drawing to a Close?.  Social Security, not Medicare or Medicaid, is the crown jewel of the entitlement state.  For several generations now, it has been sold to voters as a more or less sacred compact.  Many Americans still believe that the federal government maintains an "account" in their name, which contains assets.  Some even think that their "account" contains their own contributions, carefully set aside for their retirement by Franklin Roosevelt or his successors.  If this is not the biggest fraud in the history of the human race, it is certainly in the top five.

Desperation On Rise.  In another sign of how lousy the president's so-called recovery's been, millions of desperately unemployed are now threatening to sink Social Security's disability lifeboat.

Social Security wrongly declares 14,000 people dead each year.  Of the approximately 2.8 million death reports the Social Security Administration receives per year, about 14,000 — or one in every 200 deaths — are incorrectly entered into its Death Master File, which contains the Social Security numbers, names, birth dates, death dates, zip codes and last-known residences of more than 87 million deceased Americans.  That averages out to 38 life-altering mistakes a day.

America: Time to Start Over.  [Scroll down]  This is a monstrous moral failing, a horrendous crime against our heirs.  The difference between ourselves and Bernie Madoff?  Not much, really.  It is the height of hypocrisy to put a man like Madoff behind bars for engaging in the same sorts of financial shell games that we like our politicians to play.  Social Security is every bit as much of a scam as a crooked hedge fund, yet FDR is lionized while Madoff rots in a cell — nothing could better encapsulate the moral and literal bankruptcy of our civilization.

Obama says he cannot guarantee Social Security checks will go out on August 3.  "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue.  Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Mr. Obama said in an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, according to excerpts released by CBS News.

The Editor says...
[#1]  Who among us believes anything Obama says?
[#2]  When has a lack of money ever stopped the government from writing checks?

Obama Threatens to Withhold Social Security Checks.  According to Obama's own budget, the federal government will take in $2.174 trillion this year, and Social Security outlays will total $727 billion.  Moreover, the government has already borrowed plenty of money this year to supplement the $2.174 trillion.  So what, exactly, would Obama rather spend that money on, instead of sending out Social Security checks?

Obama Plays the Social Security Card.  If Barack Obama had a winning hand, would he have to resort to such dire scare tactics so soon?

Obama Exposes Social Security's Big Lie.  As Nancy Pelosi once put it: "Social Security has never failed to pay promised benefits, and Democrats will fight to make sure that Republicans do not turn a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble."  The AFL-CIO warned in 2005 about "President Bush's plan to replace Social Security's guaranteed benefits with risky private accounts."  The AARP describes Social Security as "the guaranteed part of your retirement plan."  Etc., etc.  Turns out, this "guarantee" is a lie.

What Happened to the $2.6 Trillion Social Security Trust Fund?  Either Obama and Geithner are lying to us now, or they and all defenders of the Social Security status quo have been lying to us for decades.  It must be one or the other.

How to Achieve a Balanced Budget Right Now:  Obama's claim that Social Security checks might not go out is very interesting, no?  If that were to happen, it would expose the fiction that Social Security has a "trust find," and would make it clear that Social Security funds have been fully raided for other spending.  Does Obama really want to go there?

Social Security: a Reckoning.  Understanding what, and who, is to blame for the Social Security funding crisis will allow us to move on and reach a solution that fairly allocates costs amongst current generations.  Gov. Christie recently said that pension and health care obligations are "the core problems of government spending in the country."  "Federal pension obligations under Social Security now are central to the current fiscal debate."

Nailing Obamacare's rationing board.  While lawmakers continue to argue about the best way to protect [Social Security] for the seniors it serves and those who it has yet to serve, there is a growing bipartisan consensus that the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is one provision of the new health law that will do more to undermine the program than save it.

The Facts About Social Security.  [Scroll down]  So what has the Treasury done with the money?  Well, the federal government has spent it on its daily consumption:  education, loan guarantees, wars, etc.  In other words, the government has already spent the money it received in exchange for the IOUs.  The most recent projections say that, beginning in 2014, the program will begin permanently paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes.  At that point, the program will start redeeming the IOUs in the trust fund and use them to pay benefits to current seniors until they run out.  But remember, the money is not there anymore.  So then what?

Social Security deficits now 'permanent'.  Social Security will run a permanent yearly deficit when looking at the program's tax revenues compared to what it must pay out in benefits, the program's trustees said Friday [5/13/2011] in a report that found both the outlook for Social Security and Medicare, the two major federal social safety-net programs, have worsened over the last year.  Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund is now slated to run out of money in 2024, or five years earlier than last year's projection, while Social Security's trust fund will be exhausted by 2036, a year earlier than the prior projection.

Entitlement Abuse — Here, There, and Everywhere.  Increasingly, we hear jaw dropping stories of abuse and fraud that should force our leaders in Washington to put the issue of fraud and abuse within the entitlement system formally on the table.  Just last week we learned of the case of the "Adult Baby", the 30-year old guy, that lives in a diaper, is fed by bottle and thus somehow entitled to taxpayer-supplied, social security disability for his condition.  Strangely, this is the very entitlement system that Obama and Democrats not only insist that we preserve, but are anxious to expand.

Repairing FDR's Ponzi scheme.  Social Security is broken, and there's no use pretending otherwise.  President Obama sounded Wednesday like he was open to the idea of limited reforms to the New Deal-era's signature entitlement program.  "There are those who believe we shouldn't make any reforms to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security," said the president.  "But I guarantee that if we don't make any changes at all, we won't be able to keep our commitment to a retiring generation. ..."

Obama's Hockey Stick: The Federal Debt.  The national debt is calculated in two ways:  gross debt and net debt.  Net debt is primarily gross debt net of the various government "trust funds" the largest of which is Social Security.

Weiner's Social Security scam.  Democrats never miss an opportunity to pander to older voters by demagoguing on Social Security — and Brooklyn Rep. Anthony Weiner seems only too glad to lead the way.  Weiner, who dreams of becoming mayor, has introduced a bill to require a two-thirds majority in Congress to enact any changes in Social Security — a near-impossible hurdle.  His goal:  to "defend" an entitlement system he insists is "fiscally responsible" and fundamentally sound.

The Politics of Social Security Reform.  Democrat politicians are waging yet another media campaign to block Social Security reform.  Late last month Senator Durbin claimed, "Social Security does not add one penny to the deficit."  Two days later, a White House aide assured voters that Social Security reform is "not one you care about" and President Obama's budget director opposed reform in a USA Today op-ed.  The Hill then quoted half a dozen more Democrats singing from the same anti-reform songbook.

Obama's Social Security Hoax.  Everyone knows that the U.S. budget is being devoured by entitlements.  Everyone also knows that of the Big Three — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — Social Security is the most solvable.  Back-of-an-envelope solvable:  Raise the retirement age, tweak the indexing formula (from wage inflation to price inflation) and means-test so that Warren Buffett's check gets redirected to a senior in need.  The relative ease of the fix is what makes the Obama administration's Social Security strategy so shocking.  The new line from the White House is:  no need to fix it because there is no problem.  As Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew wrote in USA Today just a few weeks ago, the trust fund is solvent until 2037.  Therefore, Social Security is now off the table in debt-reduction talks.  This claim is a breathtaking fraud.

Welfare State: Handouts Make Up One-Third of U.S. Wages.  Government payouts — including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance — make up more than a third of total wages and salaries of the U.S. population, a record figure that will only increase if action isn't taken before the majority of Baby Boomers enter retirement.

Who rules America? AARP.  The great question haunting Washington's budget debate is whether our elected politicians will take back government from AARP, the 40 million-member organization that represents retirees and near-retirees.  For all the partisan bluster surrounding last week's release of President Obama's proposed 2012 budget, it reflects a long-standing bipartisan consensus not to threaten seniors.  Programs for the elderly, mainly Social Security and Medicare, are left untouched.

The Political Wisdom on Social Security is Bunk.  The government is profoundly broke and borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends.  The Federal Reserve is printing money by the bale to buy up the debt and friends and foes alike the world are still extending us credit, but the cliff is now in view.  Inflation, a weakened dollar and punitive borrowing rates all lie ahead.  Even so, the process of making cuts has been an exercise in demagoguery.

CBO: Social Security Now Officially Broke.  Today's CBO report has some bad news about the deficit.  But CBO has some really, really bad news about Social Security:  It's officially broke.  The CBO's revenue/expenditure estimates now place the program in permanent deficit.

Sinking it now is best for America in the long run.
Social Security: Anti-social and insecure.  FDR's New Deal turned out to be the Rip-off Deal.  There is an IOU for $2.5 trillion in the Social Security trust fund.  Our elected bandits stole all the Social Security taxes collected over the years and spent it on who knows what.  The Congressional Budget Office recently stated that Social Security will pay out $45 billion more this year than what it takes in.  Deficits such as this are projected until Social Security rolls over and goes completely belly-up 25 years from now.

Social Security Is in Far Worse Shape Than You Think.  For years, politicians and policymakers have reassured the American public that the Social Security system, which sends monthly checks out to 53 million beneficiaries, is safely solvent — and will be for decades to come.  But federal spending and income data from the Treasury Department reveal that the Social Security program is already deep in the red, with outlays exceeding payroll tax revenues by $76 billion in 2010 alone.

Running the government on 8¢:  Today, the United States spends roughly 76 cents of every federal tax dollar on just four things:  Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest on the $14 trillion debt.  That leaves 24 cents of revenue to pay for everything else the federal government does.

Social Security Data Center Approaching Collapse.  An inspector general finds agency operations at high risk due to delays in upgrading its critical infrastructure and software.

The Chilean Model.  Nearly 30 years ago, on the very day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as U.S. president, Chile became the first nation to privatize its social security system.  Three decades hence, it has surpassed all expectations.

U.S. House Should Repeal Social Security Along with ObamaCare.  To the best of my recollection, I never agreed to purchase retirement insurance, AKA, Social Security.  Rather, it was mandated by a fascist government that I purchase it. ... In turn, the Social Security scam has spawned the Medicare Ponzi Scheme which, although it is not required, is another non-sustainable program administered by dim wits too stupid to survive in the real world.

Here's a tool that could untrack the third rail.  Neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party has ever shown much desire to address the problem of ever-increasing government, in part because they would pay a political penalty if they did.  Certain big-ticket programs still retain considerable support from people who have no idea of their costs.  That's especially true of those out-of-control "entitlement" programs, Social Security and Medicare.  The challenge now is to help the American people understand that their future — and that of their children and grandchildren — depends upon their willingness to rein in these beloved programs which the nation simply cannot afford.

Fixing Social Security.  [Scroll down slowly]  My real hypothesis is that government is broken.  The Democrats of 2010 could not even write a budget at all.  That is one of Congress's few defined tasks, and the Democrats blew it off.  No one will even try to fix Social Security, one of the bigger problems we have, but with one of the easiest solutions.  It was a third rail, it is a third rail, and it will remain a third rail until, oh, 2039.

Social Security: The New Class Struggle.  Social Security has taken on the all the dimensions of a class struggle between the "haves" and the "have-nots."  In this case, the young "have-nots" struggle against the power, wealth, and influence of the older "haves."  The Social Security struggle is between generations, but it is the older Americans who have the advantage.  It is the older Americans who have the money, the power and the influence.

The Envious Feminists.  People are emotional beings, often governed more by feelings than reason.  And this is never truer than with leftist people.  If you want to understand liberals, know that most of their ideology is simply a pseudo-intellectual justification for what feels right to them.  As for these feelings, the one stereotypically associated with the left is compassion, which supposedly manifests itself in mercy, charity, forgiveness, and temperance.  In reality, though, the feeling that far better characterizes the left is envy.

Social Security Bait and Switch.  Democrats are trying to keep control of Congress by scaring the wig off grandma with a phantom GOP plot against Social Security.  That is not news.  Social Security scare tactics have been regular campaign themes since FDR.  President Obama's unique contribution is to do this even as he's begging Republicans to help him reduce the deficit and reform entitlement spending.

Obama:  Social Security 'is not in crisis'.  President Obama said Social Security is not in crisis and only modest changes are needed to keep it solvent.

The Crisis President Finds No Issues with Social Security.  President Obama, if nothing else, is a prolific discoverer of crises.  In the short space of nineteen months, we have had a health care crisis, economic crisis, swine flu crisis, housing crisis, banking crisis, auto industry crisis, financial regulatory crisis, global warming climate change crisis, Gulf oil spill crisis, mortgage crisis, deep-water drilling crisis, teacher layoff crisis, and of course, the lack-of-freshly-paved-roads crisis, aptly addressed by the Stimulus bill. ... But the president assures us that "Social Security is not in crisis," thus guaranteeing that the situation will worsen at least as long as he occupies the Oval Office.

Believe It or Not, the U.S. Is In Worse Financial Shape Than Greece.  In Ohio on Wednesday [8/18/2010] President Obama announced that Social Security "is not in crisis" and that only "modest adjustments" are required.  He has long promised that his health care plan will not add "one dime" to the deficit.  Yet, a new report from the International Monetary Fund concludes that, long-term, our government is in worse financial shape than Greece, and that this problem is driven in large part by both programs, particularly the new health care plan.

What Would it Take to Cut Government Spending?  Runaway federal spending isn't likely to be brought under control as long as the major entitlements — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — remain out of control.  The number of entitlement beneficiaries is growing faster than the number of taxpayers, entitlements account for more than half of federal spending, and unfunded liabilities (obligations not covered by payroll taxes) exceed $100 trillion.

Demogoguing Social Security.  The Democrats must know they're in trouble:  they've turned to one of their hoariest dodges, demagoguing Social Security.  In his weekly radio address yesterday [8/14/2010], Barack Obama accused Republicans of scheming to ruin the program.

Obama Demagogues Private Enterprise.  Many Americans fear privatizing anything they've come to view as government work.  They object to privately managed roads, independent charter schools, private prisons, etc., despite private companies' repeated success at providing better service while lowering costs.  Private retirement accounts seem particularly threatening.

Opposing view on retirement income:  Let's upend Social Security.  The nation's largest entitlement program is officially in the red.  This year, Social Security has paid out more than it receives in payroll taxes.  The Congressional Budget Office predicts that by 2039, the system won't be able to pay retirees their "guaranteed" share of Social Security benefits that they paid into the system without massive tax increases or benefits cuts.  In less than 20 years, just two workers will be forced to pay the benefits of every one retiree.

What Handouts To Cut.  Because of failure to heed the limitations of the U.S. Constitution, which has produced runaway federal spending, our nation sits on the precipice of disaster.  Former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Erskine Bowles, White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, co-chairmen of President Obama's debt and deficit commission, in a Washington Post article "Obama's Debt Commission Warns of Fiscal 'Cancer'" (July 12, 2010) said that "(A)t present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs:  Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Are Overdue Reports Concealing ObamaCare Impact On Medicare?.  Every year, the Annual Report of the Social Security Board of Trustees comes out between mid-April and mid-May.  Now it's July, and there's no sign of this year's report.  What is the Obama administration hiding?

Three little pigs:  How entitlements will destroy us.  Our national debt recently topped the $13 trillion mark.  That amounts to nearly 90% of this country's GDP; $72,000 in debt for every household in America.  And that's the good news.  In the next few years, our major entitlement programs, in particular Social Security and Medicare, will begin to run cash-flow deficits, adding hundreds of billions each year to the debt.  In fact, Social Security's total unfunded liabilities top $15.8 trillion, and depending on what accounting measure is used, Medicare's future shortfall could exceed $100 trillion.

Social Security cash flow suddenly negative.  Social Security tax receipts for the first half of 2010:  $346.9 billion; Social Security benefits payments for the same period:  $347.3 billion.  Before this year, projections have always been that Social Security wouldn't cross that line into negative cash flow for five years or so.  Now it's a reality.  Congress has been spending Social Security's positive cash flow for years.  Now there's no positive cash flow to spend.

Work A Little Longer.  The administration has delayed release of the 2010 Social Security and Medicare Trustees report, possibly to hide its gloomy forecast of U.S. finances.  Meanwhile, clear thinkers are offering solutions.

Dems Worrying Liberals With Talk of Entitlement Reform.   [Scroll down]  Former SEIU head and now member of the Deficit Commission Andy Stern last week suggested, to very little fanfare, that the government should invest Social Security funds in Wall Street to increase returns on them.  My, it wasn't long ago that that sort of comment could get the whole of the Democratic caucus decrying your "risky scheme" to rob the Greatest Generation of their benefits.

Social Security benefits targeted in deficit meetings, activists warn.  One of the oddest Web posts making the rounds is a series of blurry videos from Capitol Hill showing people coming and going from a closed-door meeting of President Barack Obama's new deficit commission.  The mundane scenes have a sinister cast for activists who say the commission is at work on a secret plan to gut Social Security.

The Failure of the Unfree Market.  If you had believed in the 72-Year Rule, you would have seen this coming.  The 72-Year Rule says the lifetime of any social order or governing paradigm is about 72 years.  For example, how long was it from the adoption of our original Constitution (1789), which sanctioned slavery, to the Civil War (1861)?  Call it 72 years.  And from then until the New Deal in 1933?  Another 72 years.  How about from the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) to the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)?  That would be 72 years again.  Do you know when the first Social Security check was issued?  January 31, 1940.  If my guess is right, Social Security has maybe two more years left.

Let It Burn.  If Republicans take control of the House and Senate, and if they repeal the health care bill, then they will not be able (or likely even try) to reform Medicare or Social Security.  These programs alone will bankrupt our nation.  Yet they are untouchable because a large number of Americans have come to depend upon these benefits.  They have become unknowingly hooked.

Contrary To Amnesty Supporters, Illegal Aliens Drain Social Security.  A recent Rasmussen Reports survey revealed that voters remain concerned about Social Security and whether the system can deliver what the government has promised.  According to the survey, 58% of U.S. voters lack confidence that the Social Security system will pay them their future benefits.  Advocates for amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants like to claim that amnesty will "save" Social Security.  They also claim that dramatically increased immigration levels will safeguard our retirements and those of our children because more people will pay into the system.  Unfortunately, the opposite is true.

Spike in disability claims clogs overloaded system.  The Social Security system is so overwhelmed by applications for disability benefits that many people are waiting more than two years for their first payment.

Social Security's Straightforward Math.  Compared to health care, Social Security is a straightforward issue.  All working Americans pay Social Security taxes.  Though technically employers and employees split the burden, most people recognize that Social Security consumes 12.4 percent of their total compensation, because the deduction is visible on their paychecks.

Welcome to the Long Run.  [Almost] no one is pushing real Medicare reform or any entitlement reform at all.  If anything, politicians simply want to add more stuff to them.  Let's be clear.  The real causes were not those listed by [Joel] Achenbach.  The real causes were the great "accomplishments" of the New Deal and the Great Society:  Social Security and Medicare.  They were Ponzi schemes, budget time bombs.  The short run is over and I hope you all had a good time, because the long run is here and now.

A country of 'third rails'.  Since the inception of Social Security, there has been an unspoken rule in politics:  When campaigning for national office or running for re-election, a candidate could never pledge to touch, cut spending for, dismantle, or otherwise look crossways at Social Security unless it was to raise the payouts to its recipients.  Social Security has always been referred to as the "third rail" in politics. You simply never touch it.  It would now appear that the US is riddled with a plethora of untouchable third rails and holy grails.

A house divided, again.  Now we enter our history's second stage in the struggle against the abomination of socialism.  Just as slavery had been contained in the South, so entitlement socialism has, until this week, been more or less contained in service to only the poor and the elderly.  And even those programs — Medicare and Social Security — rested on the principle of beneficiaries paying monthly premiums for the benefits they will get later.  Only the poor under Medicaid received benefit without premium payment.

ObamaCare and American Power:  The United States currently spends roughly as much on defense ($661 billion in fiscal year 2009) as the rest of the world combined.  But that's a pittance compared to what we spend on three major entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Entitlement Rip-Off.  Bernie Madoff took money from people who thought he'd invested it, gave some to others who thought it was a partial return on their earlier investments and kept much for himself.  That's called a Ponzi scheme, and his $50 billion fraud was called the biggest ever.  But it wasn't the biggest.  Social Security and Medicare are much bigger ones.  These are trillion-dollar scams.  Medicare has a $36 trillion unfunded liability.  Social Security's is $8 trillion.  There's no money to keep those promises.  But Congress isn't investigating this scam.  Congress runs it.

Social Security IOUs stashed away.  The retirement nest egg of an entire generation is stashed away in this small town along the Ohio River:  $2.5 trillion in IOUs from the federal government, payable to the Social Security Administration.

Facts on the Social Security:  This year for the first time in recent history, the federal government will have to use general revenue to pay Social Security and Medicare benefits — about $45 billion, or 3.6 percent of federal income taxes.  The general revenue requirement as a share of income taxes will double in less than five years; and five years beyond that, it will double again.

Third-Rail Shocker.  While a massive health care entitlement is fashioned in secret, another one, Social Security, is running deficits decades earlier than expected.  We've been kicking the can down the road.  We're out of road.

5 Ugly Truths Americans Will Have to Face.  [#1]  Entitlements must be cut.  By 2030, the Congressional Budget Office is estimating that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will make up 75% of our budget spending.  In other words, unless we get a handle on entitlement spending, it will be impossible to get our deficits under control.

The Land of Entitlements.  [Scroll down]  To put this in context, one must realize that there are no Medicare recipients alive today who have firsthand knowledge of being without Medicare while elderly.  Some may remember their parents or grandparents surviving well into old age without Medicare, but not themselves.  Very few alive today remember a time without Social Security. Within the space of a human lifespan, our society has become a culture conditioned to accept (and expect) entitlements as the norm without questioning the consequences.  It has been a very effective strategy to enlarge government.

Federal Spending:  With the entitlement programs Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and discretionary spending levels set to consume increasing shares of national income, a challenge of unprecedented proportions looms large for Congress and the president.  Federal revenues are expected to consume 19 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009, which constitutes a high by historical standards.

Social Security Reform Cooking Again.  Historic change sometimes comes from unlikely sources.  A famous example was long time anti-Communist Richard Nixon breaking the diplomatic ice with Red China.  One that came close was in 1998 when President Clinton carefully studied reforming Social Security with personal retirement accounts along the lines that President George W. Bush proposed a few years later.

Clueless in Washington.  [Scroll down]  In the medium term there are only two ways to bring the deficit back to a sustainable level — which means no more than 3% of GDP.  Either taxes will have to rise, or a serious attempt must be made to rein in the entitlements — legally mandated programmes such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — that constitute the great bulk of spending.

Court clears suit to affirm voluntary Medicare, Social Security.  A federal judge has cleared the way for consideration of a class-action lawsuit in which plaintiffs — including former House Majority Leader Dick Armey — are asking for a ruling upholding an existing law that declares participation in Medicare and Social Security to be voluntary, not compulsory.

Obama's $250 Bonus Turns Social Security into Welfare.  Since Social Security recipients will get no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) next year, President Obama wants to give each of them $250, a move supported in principle by the Republican House and Senate leadership.  However, this move is not only unjustified; it makes a fundamental change to Social Security's structure and starts the process of converting the program from an earned benefit funded by a worker's own contributions to a welfare program.

A White House Power Grab that Congress and America Doesn't See.  To achieve the goal of a universal, single-payer health system, the White House must secure the power it needs by amending the Social Security Act to transfer pivotal controls from Congress to the executive branch.  This transfer of power would ultimately give the President and the majority party, in this case the radical left Obama White House and Pelosi-Reid led progressive Democrats, the authority to frame and manipulate new policy, coverage options, and reimbursements, ultimately reshaping the future US health care system into a something unrecognizable in this country.

Social Security and Medicare Projections: 2009.  The 2009 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports show the combined unfunded liability of these two programs has reached nearly $107 trillion in today's dollars!  That is about seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the outstanding national debt.

All Falling Down...  [Scroll down]  In the late 1930s our grandparents thought tiny sums from social security were lavish godsends, now we assume a temporary suspension in cost-of-living increases on top of generous pay-outs is nothing short of a national disaster and proof of our collective selfishness.

Social Security's Wheel of Fortune.  As millions more Americans become eligible, future and current beneficiaries are left wondering:  Just how safe is my Social Security check?  America's safety net has been projecting long-term deficits for years, and it's no secret that legions of retiring baby boomers will one day exhaust Social Security's financial surplus.

The gathering storm on Social Security and Medicare.  Earlier this week, the trustees for Social Security and Medicare issued their latest annual report warning of the impending financial catastrophe when the federal government must pay out more in benefits it has promised under the two entitlements than it collects in taxes to pay for the programs.  Medicare ran out of cash to pay for hospital benefits last year and now these costs are covered by the U.S. Treasury.  By 2017, according to the trustees, Medicare will have exhausted all of its trust funds.

Social Security strained by early retirements.  Big job losses and a spike in early retirement claims from laid-off seniors will force Social Security to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes the next two years, the first time that's happened since the 1980s.

Obama's Health Care Promises Ring Hollow.  Past government programs designed to be self-sustaining in the long run simply haven't lived up to lawmakers' expectations.  Social Security amendments passed in 1983 mandate that the program be fiscally solvent for the next 75 years.  A recent report released last month by the Social Security Administration claims the solvency of the program will last through 2037, 21 years shorter than expected.  Many experts believe this estimate is grossly optimistic.

Rediscovering the 10th Amendment — Too Little, Too Late.  In describing the constant blatant assault on the Constitution, one hardly knows where to start.  The federal government runs Social Security, a 50-state Ponzi scheme that makes Bernie Madoff look like an underachiever.

A Scheme With No Off Button.  Ever wonder why the New York Times can report on a Ponzi scheme in the private sector and be totally oblivious to the Ponzi scheme that the U.S. Government has been running right under the Gray Lady's nose for seventy-five years?  This hustle is called "Social Security."

The National Ponzi Scheme.  A Ponzi scheme does not generate any wealth whatsoever; that is why it ultimately collapses. ... We have a national Ponzi scheme where Congress collects about $785 billion in Social Security taxes from about 163 million workers to send out $585 billion to 50 million Social Security recipients.  Social Security's trustees tell us that the surplus goes into a $2.2 trillion trust fund to meet future obligations.  The problem is whatever difference between Social Security taxes and benefits paid out is spent by Congress.

Is Social Security a Ponzi Scheme?  A "Ponzi-like" scheme has three characteristics — transfers, obscurity, and unsustainability.  [#1] Transfer:  Early participants are paid off by the investments of later participants.  [#2] Obscurity:  The true nature of the scheme is obscured, so that it looks like early participants are receiving a return on their investments, rather than payments from later participants.  [#3] Unsustainability:  The scheme is guaranteed to eventually break down, once the number of participatns rises high enough.

Deception is the Root Cause of America's Ills.  Mike Whalen, former policy chairman of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, commenting on last year's Social Security Trustees annual report on the state of the Social Security and Medicare programs, said, "The report on the state of entitlement programs is rather grim — the combined unfunded liabilities of both programs are $101 trillion."  What that means is that in order for government to make good on its promises, Congress would have to put aside tens of trillions of dollars in the bank today.  Keep in mind that our GDP is only $14 trillion.

Social Security Sham.  Keep in mind, pretensions to the contrary, Social Security is not insurance, where premiums are invested.  With Social Security, politicians spend today's so-called contributions as quickly as they can get their hands on the money.  Crises breed big government, and big government is primarily concerned with saving itself.

Social Security is the largest Ponzi scheme.  The U.S. and international media have been following the story of Bernard Madoff and his "giant Ponzi scheme," as the Wall Street Journal called it, which may have cheated unsuspecting investors out of tens of billions of dollars. ... But is this — as it is being touted — the largest Ponzi scheme in history?  No.  That honor goes to a Depression-era creation of the U.S. government itself:  the Social Security system.

Congress' Ponzi scheme.  [Scroll down] Charles Ponzi gave his name to this kind of scam in the 1920s when he was caught paying off old investors with funds deposited by new ones.  The last time we heard the term "giant Ponzi scheme" was during the debates about "saving Social Security."  Advocates of the current system dismiss the phrase as a slur.  But the essence of Social Security is paying past investors from current investments.

We Can't Tax Our Way Out of the Entitlement Crisis.  The spending shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare are large.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security and Medicare spending left unchecked would, after a generation, consume about 10 percentage points more of GDP than it does today.

An eighth of every paycheck.  You Don't have to be a financial wizard to know that Social Security is a lousy investment.  Unlike the money you deposit in a bank or salt away in an IRA, you don't own the money you pay into Social Security.  You have no legal right to get those dollars back, and when you die you can't pass them on to your heirs.  Nor can you use your Social Security account before you retire — you can't borrow against it and you can't cash it in.  You aren't allowed to put the money into a balanced portfolio.  You can't even watch as the interest accumulates, since your Social Security nest egg doesn't earn any interest.

You Have NO Right to Social Security.  Various congresses and presidents have raised Social Security taxes at least 40 times since the program commenced in 1935.  Also, the retirement age currently is creeping toward 67.  Such steps deprive Americans of their retirement assets.  None of this should be surprising.  Social Security funds do not belong to individual workers and entrepreneurs.  This money is the property of Washington politicians and they may do with it whatever they please.

Social (In)security:  [Scroll down] As if teleprompted on cue, [Obama] said that McCain embraces "George Bush's failed privatization scheme."  And with those comments, honesty left the building.  Bush's Social Security privatization plan is not a failed policy.  It cannot be "failed" because it has never been tried, with the exception of three Texas counties where private systems are flourishing.

Fooling Ourselves into Entitlements.  In 1935, when Congress enacted Social Security, protracted retirement was a luxury enjoyed by a tiny sliver of the population.  Back then, Congress did its arithmetic ruthlessly:  When it set the retirement age at 65, the life expectancy of an adult American male was 65.  If in 1935 Congress had indexed the retirement age to life expectancy, today's retirement age would be 75.

The Entitlement Mess.  Congress is spending us into a hole.  We hear about the cost of earmarks and the Iraq war.  But what about "entitlements"?  That's the government's ironic term for programs that transfer money from people who earned it to people who didn't.  Entitlement?  How can you be entitled to someone else's money?  To finance "entitlement" programs, the government threatens force against the taxpayers who provide the money.

An Open Letter to Black Obama Supporters.  In two previous notably liberal administrations, socialist ideas were entertained:  Bloat government to its largest degree and cause people to become dependent upon it for their livelihood.  Under Franklin Delano Roosevelt the longest lasting experiment with Socialism was instituted.  Social Security has now become what people think of as a stream of money flowing from the government.  Perhaps in Urban America you know a number of people who get Social Security benefits who aren't even retired (which is what it was originally intended for) or disabled, or even in legitimate need of it.  Every check of Social Security that goes to an undeserving recipient plunges Black America into deeper poverty.

Social Security's running out of time.  Forget all the talk you'll hear about how Social Security is okay until 2040 or thereabouts.  That is, as we'll soon see, utter nonsense.  The real problem starts only a decade or so from now, when Social Security begins to take in less cash than it spends.  How can I say that, given Social Security's $2.3 trillion (and growing) trust fund?  It's because the fund owns nothing but Treasury securities.  Normally, of course, Treasury securities are the safest thing you can hold in a retirement account.  But Social Security's Treasuries won't help cover the program's cash shortfall, because Social Security is part of the federal government.

Distrust Fund:  It's almost a D.C. truism that anytime Congress creates a "trust fund" for a certain policy issue, the money flowing into the fund will be diverted to something else.  Government trust funds are set up with special taxes and fees so that they will be less subject to normal budget constraints.  That makes them desirable for future Congresses to divert their proceeds to spend on pork.  Payroll tax money in the Social Security Trust Fund has for decades been emptied out to fund general government programs.

New warnings about entitlements shortfall.  Trustees for the government's two biggest benefit programs warned Tuesday [3/25/2008] that Social Security and Medicare are facing "enormous challenges," with the threat to Medicare's solvency far more severe.  The trustees, issuing a once-a-year analysis, said the resources in the Social Security trust fund will be depleted by 2041.  The reserves in the Medicare trust fund that pays hospital benefits were projected to be wiped out by 2019.

Social Security is in Trouble.  People are living longer and collecting more Social Security benefit checks.  In 1940, life expectancy was 61.4 for men and 65.7 for women.  By 2000, life expectancy was 74.2 years for men and 79.5 for women; by 2050, life expectancy will be 84 years for men and 87.5 for women.

$45 trillion gap seen in US benefits.  The government is promising $45 trillion more than it can deliver on Social Security, Medicare and other benefit programs.  That is the gap between the promises the government has made in benefits and the projected revenue stream for these programs over the next 75 years, the Bush administration estimated Monday [12/17/2007].

The Late Great Social Security System:  When Social Security was set up, its supporters pooh-poohed critics who warned that by not investing the collected funds, the government was setting up a major fiasco.  The pooh-poohers were wrong, of course; the skeptics, right.  Now, all those baby boomers whose FICA withholding kept the system afloat for years will begin to drain funds.  Soon, the money going to retirees will far exceed money coming in.  Hence the crisis.

The retirement "monster":  Taxpayers owe more than a half-million dollars per household for financial promises made by government, mostly to cover the cost of retirement benefits for baby boomers, a USA Today analysis shows.

Social Security:  A Tale of Two Problems.  The first problem is that the federal government collects more — a lot more — contributions to Social Security than what it needs to pay the current retirees.  The excess contributions are spent on other government programs and not really saved to pay for the retirement of the workers who are making the contributions.  All the surplus paid into Social Security over the past 20 years has already been spent.

Social Insecurity:  America's Social Security system is a ticking time bomb.  It is not a stable system and provides young workers with negative returns.  Reform is needed now to ensure the future of the system and the financial security of younger generations.  In 2017, Social Security will start to owe more money than it takes in.  The support base for the system is shrinking, as Americans live longer and have fewer children.

Rethinking Social Insurance:  The single greatest threat to the fiscal health of the United States is the runaway growth of the nation's major retirement and health care entitlement programs.  Social Security and Medicare are projected to grow from 7.5 percent of GDP today to almost 13 percent of GDP by 2030.  Already, the two programs consume over a third of the federal budget.

How Much Do Americans Depend on Social Security?  Many low-income workers depend almost entirely on Social Security for their retirement income, but it is often assumed that high-wage workers can maintain their standard of living without Social Security benefits due to their private pensions and savings.  Surprisingly, however, even high-wage workers depend on Social Security for a substantial portion of their retirement income and would significantly change their consumption and saving behavior in the absence of Social Security.

Social Security and Medicare Are Unsustainable.  In 2011, the first group of baby boomers in the United States will reach the age of 65.  When the last of that generation retires in 2032, 77 million of them will have ceased working and paying taxes and will have at least begun receiving taxpayer-funded health care and pension benefits.  A similar trend is occurring throughout the developed world.  In Japan, Europe, and North America, the number of retirees will double over the next 25 years while the number of taxpayers will grow only 10 percent.  The economic consequences of these changes are dire:  higher taxes, slower growth, and lower living standards.

Social Security — It Is Time To End It.  Regardless of what we as a nation do, social security is a system that is broken beyond repair.  There is really nothing we can do to "fix" it.  The time has come to dismantle it and return the responsibility of planning for ones retirement back to the individual.  Those who do not plan accordingly should expect to be cared for and provided for by their family as has been the norm for most of the history of this nation and of the world.

Krugman vs. Krugman.  In liberal Democratic circles, the debate over Social Security has taken a dangerous "don't worry, be happy" turn.  The argument has two equally dishonest components.  The first is to deny that Social Security faces a daunting financing problem … The second is to mischaracterize the arguments of those who advocate responsible action, accusing them of hyping the system's woes.

Direct deposit of Social Security checks:  safe, fast — and disastrous.  As the federal agencies begin another push for recipients to accept their Social Security checks by direct deposit, consumer advocates point to a little-known risk of using the system:  Recipients who have judgments against them are vulnerable to losing access to their money.  The problem, advocates say, isn't the direct-deposit system, but the failure of banks to implement safeguards to protect accounts with exempt funds from being frozen.

The Coming Financial Collapse of Social Security.  The first officially recognized financial collapse of Social Security occurred in 1977.  Government projections at that time showed, and everyone agreed, that without major changes Social Security would be unable to pay all of its promised benefits within a couple of years, with a yawning, continually growing deficit after that time.

Social Security bankruptcy is the real inconvenient truth.  By 2017, Social Security tax revenues will be less than promised benefits, and a government system that millions of Americans depend on will become bankrupt. ... The solution to Social Security's problems is to acknowledge the program's inherent flaws and to shift from a government-run welfare program to a system of personal ownership.  Specifically, allow people to divert a portion of the money they pay in Social Security taxes into an account they own, control, and for which they take responsibility.

Liberal Pyromaniacs:  Liberals behave like a pyromaniac who sets fire to his own house, then is angered because the rest of the family try to salvage their possessions and escape from the blaze.  Like the pyromaniac, liberals feed the destructive flames of inflation with deficit spending on new welfare programs and the mandated monsters, Social Security and Medicare.  Then they become indignant when rational investors take steps to hedge against liberal-created inflation.

Hillary Clinton's memory loss:  Hillary Clinton once again asserted during the latest presidential debate that "the American people know where I've stood for 35 years."  Yet, she repeatedly refuses to tell us where she stands on Social Security reform.  And when she does, Mrs. Clinton misrepresents the condition of Social Security when she and her husband left the White House.

Clinton's Social Security fecklessness.  In words a more thoughtful Clinton likely would have avoided, the leading Democratic presidential contender told a cheering crowd of AARP policy wonks and political activists that when she's back in the White House, there won't be any talk about cutting or privatizing Social Security.  "This is the most successful domestic program in the history of the United States.  When I'm president, privatization is off the table because it's not the answer to anything," she said.  Also off the table will be any benefit cuts or increases in the retirement age.

The Slippery Social Security slope:  Most Republicans and Democrats, ideologists of all persuasions as well, accept that Social Security as presently structured is not sustainable.

Social Security to Become Key Issue.  Three years after the collapse of President Bush's plan for private Social Security accounts, Republican presidential contenders are eager to try again.  Not so the Democrats, who gravitate toward increasing payroll taxes on upper-income earners to fix the program's finances.

This is just brilliant.
Illegals granted Social Security.  The Senate voted yesterday [5/18/2006] to allow illegal aliens to collect Social Security benefits based on past illegal employment — even if the job was obtained through forged or stolen documents.

Social Security uncovers illegal workers.  Privacy concerns prevent the Social Security Administration from notifying an employer that a hired foreign national is not authorized to work in this country, including someone who may be a potential national security risk, says a government audit.

Stop the Mexico Raid on Our Social Security!  RetireSafe Delivers 115,000 Petitions Opposing Social Security for Illegal Immigrants from Mexico.  "Social Security is not a welfare program and it should not be turned into a foreign aid program," said RetireSafe President Charles Hardin.

Social Security scam keeps on ticking.  The Social Security Trustees issued their annual report earlier this month, and the program's fiscal outlook is even worse than estimated last year.  Yet, as predictably as May brings rain showers from Heaven and bloated supplemental spending bills from Congress, liberals in the media, the House and the Senate continue to deny that the Social Security program faces a fiscal crisis.

A Mass Delusion:  Personal accounts cannot solve Social Security's cash flow shortfalls, but they could help to eliminate the mass delusion about retirement security that the current program creates.

Your Social Security Number Is a Matter of National Security.  The federal government has enabled the widespread use of Social Security Numbers by promoting their use by agencies other than the Social Security Administration — the one agency that has truly legitimate uses for the number — and by failing to effectively regulate how the private sector uses the number.

Dallas ISD faulted for using fake Social Security numbers.  Years after being advised by a state agency to stop, the Dallas Independent School District continued to provide foreign citizens with fake Social Security numbers to get them on the payroll quickly.  Some of the numbers were real Social Security numbers already assigned to people elsewhere.  And in some cases, the state's educator certification office unknowingly used the bogus numbers to run criminal background checks on the new hires, most of whom were brought in to teach bilingual classes.

California Woman's Social Security Stolen by Suspected Illegal Immigrants.  Audra Schmierer's Social Security number really gets around.  It has been used by at least 81 people in 17 states, most of them probably illegal immigrants trying to get work.  The federal government took years to discover the number was being used illegally, but authorities took little action even then.

Did someone mention crimes committed by illegal aliens?

Man Denies Trying to Help Terrorists.  A former graduate student testified Friday [6/16/2006] he used a fake Social Security number to obtain credit cards but denied accusations that he tried to help terrorists.  A naturalized U.S. citizen born in the West Bank, Arwah Jaber said he was "trying to survive" and did not believe at the time that it was against the law to provide false information on credit card applications.

[Nonsense.  How many of you believe that a 34-year-old man with a PhD did not know it was illegal to put false information on credit card application?]

Getting rid of reckless spending.  We are less than one generation away from Congress being unable to pay for anything other than Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and interest on the federal debt — leaving not so much as a penny for defense or homeland security.

Social Security is at the roots of the shift.  Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid had a decision to make.  President Bush was starting his second term with a brash challenge to a sacred Democratic program — Social Security — and the House and Senate Democratic leaders needed a coordinated response, and fast.

The dried-up veto pen:  Pork barrel projects — even tens of billions of dollars of them — are not what have dug us into a fiscal hole.  It is the rapidly escalating cost of entitlement programs.  President Bush is well aware of the problems in this area.  He eloquently explained the deteriorating fiscal condition of Social Security in many speeches this year, as part of his effort to reform that program and stabilize its finances for future generations.

Five Ways to Fix Social Security:  Anyone who knows anything about Social Security knows it is an intergenerational income transfer program.  The transfer is from the young to the old.  This sort of Ponzi scheme works only if the number of those paying increases at a faster pace than the number of those receiving.  Given the slowing of population growth in the United States, the Ponzi scheme cannot survive.

Something for nothing:  Many of us who receive money from Social Security or other government programs are learning the hard way the difference between money with strings and money without strings.  For example, Social Security recipients have to be enrolled in Medicare, whether they want to be or not.  "Universal" coverage means compulsory coverage, just with prettier political spin.

Reforming Social Security.  The canard propagated by Democrats and enabled by spineless Republicans is that any GOP reform would rob benefits from today's seniors.  The Democrats' alternative?  Why, they have none….

Medicare and Social Security:  Big Entitlement Costs on the Horizon.  Today, 6.9 percent of federal income taxes go towards the two programs.  Dr. Thomas Saving of Texas A&M University, a public trustee of the Medicare and Social Security trust funds, estimates that, in 2020, 26.6 percent of all federal income taxes will go to paying for Medicare and Social Security.  By 2030, that number will increase to 49.7 percent.

Entitlement programs threaten western economies.  A column in the Wall Street Journal makes the sensible observation that... "unless we can exploit the dramatic demographic and economic changes that are before us, our future will be much poorer.  Instead of stepping into an easy retirement, many retirees will tumble into a future marked by bankrupt government social programs and declining asset values that will quickly deplete their cherished nest eggs.  This forecast is not based on an unpredictable future, but on events that have already transpired."

30 nations' lessons for Social Security reform.  Britain, Chile and many others have virtually no unfunded liability because they reformed their pay-as-you-go Social Security systems with personal retirement accounts.

Social Security's Second Career:  When Social Security was created in 1935, the retirement age was set above the average male life expectancy.  It was designed so the average man would never collect any Social Security benefits, which were intended only to help those who "outlived" their savings. Luckily, that's changed.  People live longer, and future generations can expect to do even better.  But that means ever more retirees depending on ever fewer workers.  There were 42 workers for each retiree in 1945.  Today there are only 3.3.  And by 2025, the ratio will drop to about two workers per retiree.

Allow People To Invest Their Social Security Funds.  Our Social Security System is truly a pay-as-you-go system, as the assets in the so-called Social Security Trust Fund cover only a tiny percent of existing obligations.  As the number of retirees rises relative to the number of workers as our population grows older, it will be impossible to pay existing benefit levels with the current level of Social Security taxes in another generation or so.  Young people recognize this:  surveys show that most do not expect to receive significant return on their Social Security tax payments when they reach retirement age.

Social Security "Trust Fund":  The so-called social security trust fund exists only as a legal technicality, not as an economic reality.

Trust Fund?  What Trust Fund?  The Social Security Trust Fund resides within the H.J. Hintgen Building in Parkersburg, West Virginia near the Ohio River.  The Trust Fund is stored inside the locked bottom drawer of a gray filing cabinet controlled by employees of the U.S. Bureau of Public Debt.  That drawer contains $1.76 trillion worth of Special Issue U.S. Treasury Bonds.  Each of these, 225 pieces of paper in all, is contained in one of two white, loose-leaf notebooks that hold plastic page covers.  Despite the protective plastic, these certificates have no more financial value than the ink with which they are printed.

Social Security in Crisis.  Medicare and Social Security's combined unfunded liability is seven times the size of our economy.  The "Social Security Trust Fund" is essentially an IOU from the federal government.  As such, from the taxpayers' perspective, the Trust Fund is nonexistent.

Your papers please….  Each American already has a national ID card — it's called a Social Security card.  The use of Social Security numbers for identification purposes was somewhat limited until 1962, when the Internal Revenue Service co-opted it for official taxpayer identification.  Ten years later, the notice "For Social Security Purposes — Not For Identification" was removed from Social Security cards.  Currently, SSNs are the most frequently used identifier in the U.S.  They're required for credit and banking relations, employee files, academic records, licenses and certifications, medical records and health-insurance accounts, passports, and phone and utility accounts.

Social Security Numbers and Privacy:  Many people have questions regarding social security and privacy.  Keeping one's identity safe is a pressing issue in today's fast-paced, technologically-evolved environment.  Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure your social security information stays safe.

Social Security number code cracked, study claims.  For people born after 1988 — when the government began issuing numbers at birth — the researchers were able to identify, in a single attempt, the first five Social Security digits for 44 percent of individuals.  And they got all nine digits for 8.5 percent of those people in fewer than 1,000 attempts.  For smaller states their accuracy was considerably higher than in larger ones.

No, You Can't Have My Social Security Number.  Social Security numbers were never designed to be secure.  When SSNs came into existence 75 years ago, they had one and only one purpose:  to keep track of contributions to the federal pension system. ... Ten years after the SSN debuted, the feds added a clarification to the card in capital letters:  "FOR SOCIAL SECURITY PURPOSES — NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION."  By that point, it was already too late.

Immigration reform could lead to biometric Social Security card.  Two U.S. senators prominent in immigration reform efforts have proposed that all Americans be issued biometric Social Security cards, containing data from either a fingerprint or retinal scan to help employers determine whether the holder is legal.  In explaining the only current bipartisan reform proposal, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has called such a high-tech Social Security card "a linchpin" in efforts to win support in Congress for fixing an immigration enforcement system that many agree is broken.

You might as well ask for a new set of fingerprints.
Social Security Denies ID Theft Victim New Number.  A 23-year-old Brighton man has been fighting five years to replace a Social Security number that has been fraudulently used by a suspected illegal immigrant since 2003, according to police and state tax officials.  The Social Security Administration has twice denied his request for a new number, saying his credit has not been damaged by the identify thief...

Biometrics Pinned to Social Security Cards.  The Social Security card faces its first major upgrade in 70 years under two immigration-reform proposals slated for debate this week that would add biometric information to the card and finally complete its slow metamorphosis into a national ID.

SSN-as-ID under scrutiny — again.  It has been known for years … just how dysfunctional the practice is of trying to authenticate people through basic information such as residential address and SSN.

Immigrants are stealing U.S. Social Security numbers for jobs, not profits.  Camber Lybbert thought it was a mistake when her bank told her that her daughter's Social Security number, issued by the U.S. government, was on their files for two credit cards and two auto loans, with an outstanding balance of more than $25,000.  Her daughter is 3 years old.

There Are No "Transition Costs" for Social Security Reform.  Allowing workers to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes through personal retirement accounts will incur no net cost to the federal government.

A Risk Worth Taking.  There's no point in having a conservative Congress if it's not going to work to enact conservative policies.  At some point lawmakers have to be willing to take political risks to do what's right.

All That Work for Nothing?  The system is exactly the inverse of what we've all been told to do in planning for our retirement.  Those who work hard and put money into the system early in life, get the same as those who start paying in later on.  And as a proportion of what they've paid in, the early-contributing ants actually get less than their grasshopper peers.

The Anti-Entitlement Revolution.  A famous 1994 poll sponsored by Third Millennium, a group that promotes awareness of national issues affecting post-Baby Boomers, reported that more adults 18 to 34-years-old believed UFOs exist (46 percent) than believed Social Security will exist when they retire (28 percent).  That was no fluke.

Social Security:  One Leg of a Three-Legged Stool.  While Social Security forms a foundation for retirement savings, Americans must also take advantage of corporate savings vehicles like 401(k)s and private savings.  The other two legs need our attention, too.

Retirement Savings Reforms on which the Left and the Right Can Agree.  People often make mistakes when it comes to investing for retirement:  Most Americans don't save enough, and even those who do save typically invest in inappropriate portfolios.

Social Security reform threatened by elitist liberals.  According to public record, one of every three members of the Senate and one out of every four members of the House are millionaires.  Despite popular stereotypes of Republicans as the party of the rich and Democrats as the party of the working class, the wealthiest member of the Senate (John Kerry of Massachusetts) and the wealthiest member of the House (Jane Harman of California) are both Democrats.  Of the top six wealthiest senators, five are Democrats.

Groups Attacking Personal Accounts Using "Rigged Calculator". raises serious questions about Left wing tactics in the Social Security debate.

AARP and the Social Security crisis:  AARP should be excoriated for enabling and creating the Social Security financial problems for which they now claim to have solutions.  Unfortunately, AARP's "solutions" are the very same bad policies that turned Social Security into a massive ticking debt bomb — tax increases, benefit cuts for millions of future retirees and continued spending of every cent of the Social Security Trust Fund.

The Ignorance Strategy:  The Democratic leadership in Congress has apparently adopted this ["ignorance is strength"] philosophy as a strategy to defeat the idea of optional personal retirement accounts to restructure our dysfunctional Social Security system.

Social Security's Inevitable Future:  Like a Roman Legion advancing against its enemy, Social Security's future problems approach slowly, but their arrival is inevitable.

Social Security Fact of the Day #28:  Social Security cannot afford to pay all of the benefits it has promised.  Beginning in 2017, it will run cash deficits that get bigger every year.

A two-percent tax increase will not save Social Security.  In order for the tax increase to work, the new tax revenues would have to be saved and not spent — a highly unlikely occurrence given the record in Washington over the last four decades.  [In addition,] the tax increase primarily helps the solvency of the trust fund on paper, rather than actual cash flow problems:  Social Security would still run an annual deficit by 2023, just 5 years later than under the current system.

Are people working under false identities at DOD?  The Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration published an audit report revealing that Defense, plus the Coast Guard (which is a component of the Department of Homeland Security), filed nearly 6,400 W-2 forms between 1997 and 2002 that could not be matched to known taxpayers and thus had to be dumped into what SSA calls the Earnings Suspense File.

Noble Lies, Liberal Purposes, and Personal Retirement Accounts.  A frank look at the Social Security status quo reveals that the program is very poorly designed to realize liberal ideals. … The terms of the imaginary "compact between the generations" are manifestly unfair.  What is worse is that the Social Security status quo embodies a government-perpetuated deception designed to generate its own political support by misleading voters into believing that their payroll taxes entitle them to later benefits.

Web site:
Social Security dot org, produced by the Cato Institute Project on Social Security Choice.

Let's get real about Social Security and Medicare.  The Social Security and Medicare trustees have just issued their annual report on the state of these programs, and the picture is not pretty.  The combined unfunded liability, the shortfall of projected funds available to meet projected obligations, of the two programs is around $75 trillion.  For perspective, the Gross National Product is $10 trillion.

The Entitlement Panic.  Will America have to declare Chapter 11 because of $80 trillion in unfunded entitlement promises of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security?  Economist Laurence Kotlikoff believes the answer is perhaps yes unless we reform our fiscal institutions.

One company.  Every year, the Social Security Administration consigns up to 9 million hopelessly inaccurate W–2 reports to Social Security limbo.  It is called the Earnings Suspense File, and it is the final resting place of W–2s that cannot be matched to a known taxpayer.  One company filed 33,448 of these inaccurate W–2s in one year.

How Today's Social Security Works.  This paper explains what Social Security is and how it works.  The first section explains what Social Security is and which programs are and are not part of Social Security.  The second section explains the payroll taxes that mainly finance Social Security and how they are paid.  The third section explains what Social Security's trust funds are and are not.  The fourth and longest section discusses how Social Security benefits are calculated and who is eligible to receive them.  All of the information contained in this paper comes from Social Security Administration sources.

Straight Talk about the Social Security Trust Fund:  Most Americans – and many members of Congress – do not understand how Social Security works.  Like most government-sponsored retirement programs in the world today, our Social Security system is pay-as-you-go.  All payroll tax revenues are spent – the very minute, the very hour, the very day they are received by the U.S. Treasury.  Most of these revenues are spent on benefits for current retirees.  Any additional amount is spent in other ways.  But there is no funding of future benefits.  No money is being stashed away in bank vaults.  No investments are made in real assets.

A dose of realism is needed.  The Levi's I wear today won't fit me when I'm seventy, and we shouldn't expect a social insurance program designed for the 1930's to fit 21st century America.

Dirty little secrets.  There are three dirty little secrets congressional Democrats don't want you to know about Social Security.  First, Democrats want President Bush's proposed personal retirement accounts off the negotiation table because Congress has already spent your money.  That is because, in reality, there is no Social Security Trust Fund.

Questions and Answers About Personal Social Security Retirement Accounts:  The debate over Social Security reform has coalesced around the idea of personal retirement accounts.  PRAs are not risky and they will require no previous investment experience.

The AARP vs. reform:  Just whose money is it?  Liberals believe that all money collected by the government is therefore the government's money and does not belong to those that generate it.  Social Security isn't any different than the other line items in the budget.  This philosophy may make sense to the AARP and those that love to control the destinies of individuals, but it hardly makes sense to the rest of us.

Why is the NAACP against Social Security reform?  One hopes that the NAACP would see as its mission to seek every possible way to help build black wealth, to encourage black ownership and to strengthen black families.  Introducing personal retirement accounts would do every one of these things, yet the NAACP is opposed.  Why?

NOW is on the wrong side of the Social Security Debate.  The National Organization of Women (NOW) recently denounced President Bush's proposal to reform Social Security by giving workers the option of diverting a percentage of their taxes into personal retirement accounts.  In a statement on the issue, NOW President Kim Gandy makes more erroneous assertions than I can list in one article, but let's juxtapose some of her rhetoric with reality.

Rock the Victim mentality:  On the heels of the AARP, NOW, NAACP and other left-leaning groups' hysteria over Social Security reform and personal retirement accounts, the Rock the Vote campaign is latching on to the issue and misinforming a whole new generation.

Campaign Misinforms Young People on Social Security Reform.  Among Rock the Vote's top ten reasons that young people should oppose Social Security reform is that the current system is "retro chic," "politicians want to trick you" and "investments are a gamble."  Their number one reason — it's better to "visit your grandparents — at their house" because "before Social Security, for most families, all the generations lived under one roof."  This is how Rock the Vote views their constituency — a bunch of shallow, ditzy victims who don't want to live with their grandparents.

MTV Poll Masks Youth Views on Social Security.  In the political Odd Coupling of 2005, MTV's Rock the Vote has joined forces with AARP.  Their mission:  Block efforts to let young workers invest some of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts.

Transforming moral problems into politics.  Listening to the case for transforming Social Security to a regime of personal ownership is simple and compelling.  The numbers no longer add up in our current system.  Personal accounts would allow ownership and wealth creation.  If we had to start from scratch, no one would want the system we now have.  If the case is so clear, why isn't it simple to change?

You're too stupid to manage your own money.  Former Democratic vice-presidential contender Geraldine Ferraro inadvertently revealed the real reason behind Democrats' resistance to the president's proposal of Social Security partial privatization.  "… [I]f you don't have the knowledge [emphasis added] and the wherewithal [emphasis added] to manage your own private funds," said Ferraro, "well, you know, you're gonna be out of luck."

The Social Security Crisis That Democrats Actually Did Claim Was A Crisis Before They Claimed It Wasn't A Crisis.  In an excellent article on the subject of Social Security reform titled, "The Innumeracy of it All!", the first paragraph of Donald Luskin's piece says it all.  "In the debate over Social Security reform, the dollar figures involved can be dauntingly large and dizzyingly complex.  That opens up a lot of opportunity for demagogic mischief, and the leftist opponents of reform are taking full advantage."  As a matter of fact, the Democrats who are out there assailing Social Security reform are going to an even greater extreme on this subject than on just about anything else they've ever set their sights on trying to destroy.

Here's What's Wrong with Social Security.  As 2005 begins, it's time to face facts.  Social Security stinks.  Government may owe a measure of protection to retirees, but this is a terrible way to provide it.  Social Security is an absurd anachronism — and most people under 50 know it and want something better.  By its 70th anniversary, the system must get the restructuring it desperately needs.  Begin with the obvious.  Social Security is a Ponzi scheme headed for collapse.

Social Insecurity?  The latest liberal spin on Social Security is that there is no problem.  Of course, there is no problem with any obligation if you are willing to welsh when it comes time to pay it.

Changing values:  The displacement of traditional values with the "do your own thing" agenda puts perspective on the problems with which we're now wrestling on Social Security and Medicare.  The conventional explanation for today's Social Security and Medicare problems is demographics.  Our population is "graying" as a result of longer lifespan and fewer babies.

Who's afraid of Social Security reform?  There is much opposition to President Bush's plans to reform Social Security and provide taxpayers with Personal Retirement Accounts (PRAs) that they actually own and can pass on to their heirs.  Why would anyone not want retirees to become more financially secure and receive more money than they would with the current Social Security payments?  Why would anyone not want to get political and bureaucratic control out of his or her life?

Social Security and Stock Market Risk:  Critics of personal accounts say the stock market is too risky for retirement savings.  They also claim workers will fare better with today's pay-as-you-go Social Security than with personal retirement accounts.  But they are wrong.

A Professor Gets Personal.  Well-known Princeton economics professor Burt Malkiel is providing meaningful, data-driven support of market-investing in personal savings accounts as part of Social Security reform.  His is a significant endorsement of the Bush plan at a time when critics are popping up all over the political map.

How to Save Social Security:  Social Security is currently running a surplus.  However, these days of plenty are in short supply.  In just 15 years, Social Security will pay out more than it collects in taxes.  In each following year, the deficit will grow larger.

Is the Stock Market Too Risky for Retirement?  Since the early days of Social Security, benefits have been financed by taxing workers' payroll.  From 1937 through 1949 wage income up to $3,000 was subject to tax at a rate of 2 percent.  The $60 maximum was all that was needed because there were many workers and few beneficiaries, a ratio of 16 to 1 in 1950. But over the last half-century the worker/beneficiary ratio has fallen because we're living longer and having fewer children; it is now just 3.4 to 1.

How Big Is the Government's Debt?  As of 2001, the accumulated entitlement obligations owed to all people (including all current workers) who have earned Social Security and Medicare benefits is $12.9 trillion for Social Security and $16.9 trillion for Medicare.  When these obligations are combined with the debt held by the public, the total burden equals $33.1 trillion, or 10 times the official debt measure.  This "total debt" is more than three times the size of the nation's total output in 2001, and amounts to $116,381 for every man, woman and child in America.

CBS Seeks To Discredit Social Security Reform.  Twenty-one hours after President Bush, in his State of the Union address, outlined his plan for Social Security, CBS News began its campaign to discredit it.  CBS's John Roberts made no pretense of balance and "reported" a story on Social Security reform skewed nearly entirely to the political left.

Democrats crunched by Social Security numbers.  Opening up the sacrosanct Social Security system to private investment in stocks and bonds has never been done before, and many Republicans are understandably skittish about whether it will work — and what it could do to them politically if it doesn't.

Shameless semantics.  Two major changes have occurred since those long-forgotten days when Democrats were identifying Social Security as a crisis that had to be fixed immediately:  The problem has gotten worse, and Democrats have proven they weren't sincere in the first place.

Booing FDR:  Amid the applause, there were a few boos for President George W. Bush during his [2005] State of the Union address.  Most came from Democrats when the president spoke about reforming Social Security.

How Will We Pay for Social Security and Medicare?.  Social Security and Medicare are making future promises much greater than the taxes that will be collected at current rates.  Unfortunately, some policymakers seem to be intent on making the problem worse, not better.  Reforms are needed that create more saving today for retirement and increase the nation's capital stock.

Social Security, Women and Working Families.  Social Security does not reflect the needs of 21st century families.  Further, due to policies established in the 1930s, many women are unfairly penalized for work.  These problems should be addressed during the process of reforming Social Security in a way that allows couples to invest some of their payroll taxes in personal retirement accounts.

Social Security:  America is on the brink of a national fiscal and retirement security crisis.  Social Security has a massive unfunded liability of $12 trillion, and in 2018 the program runs into the red as benefits paid exceed contributions.  What's more, the Social Security Trust Fund is full of meaningless government IOUs — there are no real assets in the "Trust Fund".  If nothing is done, in just a few years Americans will face massive tax hikes and benefit cuts.

What should be done to strengthen Social Security?  Due to demographic changes, the ratio of workers paying into Social Security is shrinking.  In the 1950's, there were about eight working-age Americans to support one retiree.  Today there are three.  In fifteen years, the ratio will be two workers per retiree.

Social Security Basics:  Americans have come to realize that Social Security faces serious financial problems that are only going to get worse.  This public concern is well grounded.  Studies and official reports confirm that Social Security is approaching a major financial crisis, and even if its revenue and expenditures were in long-term balance, the program is providing poorer and poorer retirement income security for the money Americans contribute.

Answering the Top 10 Myths About Social Security Reform:  The debate over Social Security reform contains a great deal of incorrect and misleading information.  These "myths" make it hard for workers to make an informed decision on their retirement finances and those of their children and grandchildren.

Here's one possibility:
End Social Security.  In a free society, government exists to serve its people.  In one that is not free, people are a tool of government.  By this standard, anyone following the current debate on Social Security reform would have to conclude that we are living in a society that is increasingly less free.

The Quest to Live Off Others.  If you're a senior citizen, you might be eligible for property tax reductions, subsidized prescription drugs, reduced fare on public transportation, and all manner of merchandise discounts.

What Social Security crisis?  In 1935, wealthy liberal do-gooder Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the most notorious violator of Constitutional federalism in the 20th Century, found a clause in that venerable document authorizing the central government to provide retirement benefits for all Americans.  Apparently, 100 years earlier, that clause did not exist.

The Social Security Scam:  The program would have been struck down as unconstitutional but for the guile of the United States' worst president, the socialist FDR, and a craven Supreme Court justice.  Social Security is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated, it is a welfare scheme that steals from the neediest, and it has been a path to a police state.

19 charged with Social Security check fraud.  In one of the largest prosecutions of its kind in the country, 19 people have been charged in federal court in Milwaukee with scamming the Social Security Administration out of some $270,000 — in increments of about $500.  The investigation began after officials determined that the agency's Milwaukee North office on W. Fond du Lac Ave. was among the worst in the nation in terms of incidents of fraud.

[Among the worst?]

FDR is dead.  I have some advice for the reactionaries in the debate over Social Security reform:  Franklin Roosevelt is dead.  Get over it.  This notion, that Social Security is some kind of secular tithe to the false god of FDR, is intellectually and morally offensive.  It is dishonest.  Of course, liberal mythology about the New Deal legend is, uh, legendary.  Still, it's worth noting that the New Deal surely prolonged the Depression and did far less for poverty than the textbooks claim. … It was World War II, not the New Deal, that served to pull America out of its economic doldrums.

Social Security:  All Trust and No Fund.  Various reports claim Social Security is safe and secure.  In their annual report this year, the program's trustees insisted it would be able to pay benefits through 2042.  A recent Congressional Budget Office report is even more optimistic.  It says Social Security is solid through 2052.  But these reports pretend there is money in the Social Security trust fund, which actually is all trust and no fund.

People worried when the Social Security Act was passed in 1935 that the Social Security number (SSN) would become an all-purpose identifier — an understandable public response, at the time, to a rather dramatic institutional change.  But government officials reassured the public that the SSN would not be used for any such purpose.  Equally important, they showed restraint and only gradually expanded the federally mandated uses of the SSN — not mandating its use by other federal agencies until 1943.  A step at a time, during the 1960s the SSN became the taxpayer identifier used by the IRS, the identifier for federal civilian and military personnel, the Medicare identifier, and more.  In the 1970s Congress passed laws requiring the SSN's use for legally admitted aliens and anyone seeking federal benefits — and also gave the states free rein to use SSNs for identification purposes.  A series of federal laws passed in the 1980s required the issuance of SSNs to ever-younger children if their parents wanted to claim them as dependents on federal tax forms — by age 5, age 2, age 1, now at any age.  People got used to it.

Social Security deceit:  The next big lie is from the same [1936] Social Security pamphlet:  "Beginning November 24, 1936, the United States government will set up a Social Security account for you. … The checks will come to you as a right."  First, there's no Social Security account containing your money, but more importantly, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on two occasions that Americans have no legal right to Social Security payments.

Social Security: Defending the cap.  The cap – as technicians refer to it – is the earnings ceiling above which US workers' income is free of government pension taxes.  Currently, workers pay into Social Security 6.2 percent in tax on only the first $90,000 they earn.

Cap over the wall.  The Social Security trustees assume that 10 years from now economic growth will slow to 1.8 percent — about half the average growth rate since the Civil War — and will remain that low until 2080.  How do they know?  They don't.

What transition costs?  The Democratic Party establishment is appalled at the thought of private Social Security accounts turning ordinary Americans into owners of stocks and bonds and, therefore, potential Republicans.  The argument by Democrats that private accounts are too risky fails the test of history.  Nobody can find a 20-year period in America when investments have not gained.

Bush Social Security Revolution?  The Social Security Act was the signature accomplishment of Franklin Roosevelt's newly created American welfare state in 1935.  It switched the American ethos from individual and community reliance to national government responsibility for personal security and welfare.  Its early and apparently costless success provided the legitimacy for all of the expert-directed federal social programs that have followed to this very day.  Yet, today, it and its entire supporting apparatus stand near bankruptcy.

Social Security is Stealing Our Future.  The AARP and the Democrats are robbing our future in order to maintain a welfare system for the old by blocking Social Security reform.

A stealth tax.  Although President Bush has said that he would not increase Social Security taxes to pay for private accounts, some of his aides are floating the idea of a stealth tax increase on the wealthy, nevertheless.

Two-faced advice on Social Security.  The Washington Post editorial page has taken to arguing with itself over the merits of Social Security privatization.

A Guide to the New 2004 Social Security Trustees' Report.  The Report shows that today's Social Security cannot last.  Over time, the system has promised almost $26 trillion (in 2004 dollars) more in benefits than it will have the ability to pay.  Just repaying the amount that will be in Social Security's trust fund will cost over $5 trillion.

How to Fix Social Security:  There are only three real solutions to Social Security's rapidly approaching fiscal problems: raise taxes, reduce spending, or make the current payroll taxes work harder by investing them through some form of personal retirement account.

Time To Start Over With Social Security Numbers.  It isn't just Social Security benefits that Americans are worried about; it's the Social Security Number (SSN) itself.  The widespread misuse of SSNs is a growing political issue.

Privatizing Social Security.  Would you sign a contract that enabled the other party to change the terms of that contract at will, while you could neither stop him nor make any changes of your own?  Probably not.  Yet that is exactly what happens when you pay money into Social Security.

Privatizing Social Security:  Part II.  The key problem with Social Security is that it has never taken in enough to cover all the pensions it promised to pay.  Promises win votes but collecting enough money to pay for them does not.

Social Security and Its Discontents:  Social Security is the largest government program in the world.  But it is also a deeply troubled one, on the verge of financial collapse.  Within 15 years Social Security will begin running a deficit.  Overall, the program is more than $26 trillion in debt.  Without fundamental reform it will not be able to pay the benefits it has promised to our children and grandchildren.  That has prompted the most far-reaching discussion of the purpose and structure of Social Security since the program was enacted in 1935.

Kerry Has No "Plan" for Social Security.  Recently, Senator and presidential candidate John Kerry alleged a George Bush January "surprise" of aggressive action towards "privatizing" Social Security that will result in a future of destitution for America's seniors while the rest of America eats cake.  Mr. Kerry should have noticed that Al Gore tried the exact same thing but was unable to fool the informed voters who know that something must be done about Social Security's looming financial crisis.

Social Security and Market Risk:  The analysis finds that although there is a common perception that stocks are more risky than bonds, stocks outperformed bonds in every one of the 95 periods.  In addition, all-stock portfolios almost always outperformed mixed portfolios containing both stocks and bonds.  Furthermore, the performance of the capital markets is much better than what young people today can expect on their Social Security payroll tax dollars.

Are Medicare and Social Security really worth it?  The 2004 Medicare and Social Security Trustees Reports show that programs for the elderly are on an unsustainable course. The expenditures exceed the revenues to be collected, and the funding gap is projected to grow through time. Obligations to the elderly are more than six times the size of the economy and 18 times the size of the outstanding federal debt.

Social Security Reform:  Words Are Good but the American People Need Action.  Many people are shocked to learn the money they have been paying into Social Security over the years — more than 12 percent of their paychecks — has never been saved for their own retirement. — Instead, it has paid for the benefits of current retirees, and anything left over has been spent by politicians on other programs.

Privatizing Social SecurityThe U.S. Social Security system is broke.  It does not have the assets to pay promised benefits.  Unless the system is fundamentally changed, solvency will require either massive tax increases for future workers or draconian cuts in benefits for future retirees.  Social Security is also treating the vast majority of people who are working and paying taxes very badly.

Save People — Not The System.  Perhaps it is presumptuous for a black ex-welfare mom to lecture the chairman of the Federal Reserve about public policy.  However, African Americans suffer daily and disproportionately under a broken and unfair Social Security regime.

Gaps Exist in Laws Protecting Use of SSNs:  Information resellers, credit bureaus and health care companies routinely acquire Social Security numbers from their customers and face few restrictions on using and keeping them.

The criminal raid on Social Security:  Unbelievably, the White House is trying to convince us to embrace this global ripoff because it "rewards work."  No, it rewards criminal behavior.  The plan will siphon off the hard-earned tax dollars of American workers who may never see a dime of their confiscated earnings and fork it over to foreigners guilty of at least four acts of federal law-breaking:  crossing the border illegally, working illegally, engaging in tax fraud and using bogus documents.

Investing in Choice:  I understand what it means to invest, and Social Security doesn't come close.  An investment happens when you put money into an enterprise that makes a profit.  With Social Security, the money is spent by drunken politicians — and then replaced by higher taxes on younger people.  Everyone admits the program isn't solvent.

Frequently Asked Questions on SSNs and Privacy

Questions and Answers on Social Security

The Privacy Act of 1974 is the primary law affecting the use of SSNs.

It's social, but without much security.  It's no coincidence they put the election so close to Halloween.  It helps Democrats do what they do best — scare old folks.

Social Security:  Congress should allow young workers to redirect their payroll taxes to individually owned, privately invested retirement accounts.

Despicable!:  Let it be shouted from the housetops, over and over again:  There is no Social Security trust fund.  Got that?  There isn't one red cent in the so-called Trust Fund.  Nothing.  Nil.  Nada.  It's all been spent.  All of it.

The state of Social Security

America's Biggest Crooks:  Her Politicians.  The Enron case made headlines because fraud and deception of such magnitude is fairly unusual in the corporate world.  Washington fraud and deception of a much greater magnitude doesn't make the headlines because fraud and deception in government is standard practice.  That's what's so disgusting when politicians posture and demand that something be done to ensure honest corporate accounting practices.

Young and overtaxed — A Prescription for Ruin:  Social Security is a raw deal for the young.  While a worker born in 1915 who retired at 65 in 1980 collected $71,390 more than he paid into Social Security, a worker born in 1975 can expect to collect $93,486 less than she contributed.

Small-Time Crooks:  The world's largest Ponzi scheme is run, not by a corrupt corporation, but by the United States government.  The Social Security program takes one-eighth of the income of the current generation of workers and promises them a secure retirement — to be paid for by fleecing the next generation of workers.  Eventually, as with any Ponzi scheme, the number of new suckers coming into the system is not enough to pay the benefits owed to retirees.  This is projected to happen in the next 10 to 15 years, causing Social Security to go bankrupt.

Nearly 10 Percent of Foreigners are Illegally Reaping Social Security Cards:  More than 100,000 of the 1.2 million original Social Security numbers handed out to foreigners in 2000 were obtained through fake documents, the Social Security Administration said.

Conservative "Truth Squad" Battles Democrats' Attack Plan on Social Security:  A conservative seniors group Thursday [3/14/2002] launched a political pre-emptive attack against the Democratic Party and its strategists who are mapping out ways to damage Republicans on the issues of Social Security and Medicare.

The Social Security Crisis and What to Do About It:  "Social Security does not have any assets set aside for anybody's retirement.  It's a pay-as-you-go system.  You and I as under 62 or under 65-year-old taxpayers pay money in, and people who are now receiving Social Security receive that money within 30 days.  It's a conduit system.  What we pay in, somebody else receives.  Therefore it is dependent upon, when I retire, another generation of people to be doing the same thing."

Social Security's No Accounts:  Americans can have a secure retirement.  But lawmakers must be willing to shake up the system and start letting people put a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal accounts that they own.

The Left's Vision of Social Security:  What drives the Home Democratic Caucus crazy is the suspicion that the commission will recommend letting people invest part of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts.

What does the Bible say about retirement?  Only recent English translations will use the word retirement, because the concept wasn't invented until 1885.

The Notch That Never WasFranklin D. Roosevelt knew what he was doing.  He once said that welfare is a "narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit."  He also boasted that no one would dare repeal his Social Security program.  Sure enough, once the old folks were hopelessly hooked on it, the Democrats have in the decades since, as they planned all along, ruthlessly and relentlessly exploited the old folks' fear of losing Social Security.

Panel Admits Lies on Social Security:  Americans are wrong in believing a bald-faced lie that they have a legal right to collect their Social Security benefits — Congress can stop paying anytime it wants, says a report.

Ten Deceptive Myths About Social Security, The Budget and the Economy.

Be an Activist for Privatizing Social Security

Social Security  A repository of all materials, released to the public by Americans for Tax Reform, pertaining to Social Security.

Social Security Rates of Return for Today's Young Workers:  (Not too good.)

The Failed Critique of Personal Accounts:  Why would anyone oppose such a highly desirable, beneficial reform for working people?  The real problem is that the personal account option would shift power and resources away from the centralized government in Washington, and the elitists who see themselves as controlling that government, and back to the workers themselves.  That is truly what the opponents of personal accounts for Social Security cannot accept.

Why Are They Really Against It?:  The fierce, shrill and unreasoned denunciations of allowing workers the freedom to choose a personal account option for Social Security may impress the gullible.  But those very qualities of the critique reveal its thorough hollowness.  The literally hysterical criticisms we have heard, based mostly on outright fabrications concerning President Bush's eventual personal account proposal, seem calculated only to shout down any true debate, which the opponents apparently fear they would lose.

Privatizing Social Security is Good for the Economy:  If President Bush successfully restructures Social Security, or even if he doesn't, the impact on the economy will be tremendous.

Time To Start Over With Social Security Numbers:  It isn't just Social Security benefits that Americans are worried about; it's the Social Security Number (SSN) itself.  The widespread misuse of SSNs is a growing political issue.

A Cost Benefit Analysis on Privatizing Social Security:  Privatizing Social Security won't involve transition costs.  In fact, it'll hardly cost us a thing.

"Fixing" Social Security:  As Congress debates "fixing" the Ponzi scheme we call Social Security, consider a few things.  Congress established Social Security with a little-known loophole, allowing states and municipalities to exempt their public employees from Social Security.  In 1981, two years before Congress closed the loophole, three counties in Texas opted out and set up their own privatized retirement system.  The result?  Since 1981, the counties' 5,000 public employees, while taxed at the same rate as Social Security, enjoyed an average return on an investment of 6.5 percent, compared to Social Security's 2.2 percent.

Questions & Answers On Privatizing Social Security.

Lessons from Chile on Social Security:  To meet the challenge of restructuring Social Security, we'd have to be a rich, advanced and developed country — like Chile.  That's right, Chile... the third-rate third-world country that brilliantly succeeded in 1981 in a challenge that we haven't even grasped more than two decades later.  If Chile can fix its broken and bankrupt Social Security system, so can we.

Facts Refute Democrat Myth of Needy Elders

Democrats Scam On: The Social Security scare machine is going into full operation.

Who Uses Phony Social Security Numbers?  Most likely the first thought that would come to your mind when asked that question would be:  "An illegal alien."  Second would be someone intent on committing identity fraud...

Structure of Social Security Numbers.

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  • Social Security started in 1935.

  • The current numbering system started in 1936.

  • The IRS started requiring the numbers on tax returns in 1962.

  • In 1970, all banks were required to get your number.

  • My military ID number was changed to my Social Security Number in 1971.

  • In 1982 anyone getting any sort of government kiss had to show his or her number.

  • Babies now need SSNs, but incrementalism never stops with the last offense.

- Geoff Metcalf     

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Updated August 26, 2023.

©2023 by Andrew K. Dart