Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Social Security--What Else?

I've been obsessed with this Social Security issue lately, because it's a damned important issue. Bob Novak would like to claim that there's no transition costs, and that the long-term costs of doing nothing are much greater (based, of course, on an infinite horizon projection). Doing nothing, yes. But Social Security has ever been a dynamic system, with retirement ages increasing and percentages taken from income increasing, and with the caps on payroll taxes increasing. It's insane to think that now, for some reason, the system would be allowed to completely stagnate.

Novak also claims that the transition costs in the short term could be limited to $600 billion. I don't know where he gets this figure, and he conveniently neglects to really tell any of us (check, I dare you).

This morning before work, I was watching CNN, and there was a dude on there who was talking about costs of Social Security and Medicare (that's right, lumped together for some insane reason) as a percentage of income tax. His claim was that right now, at this moment, Social Security and Medicare account for a full seventh of all income taxes collected by the government, and that in the next twenty years, that number would go to somewhere between a fourth and a half.

Insanity by any measure, no? Well, unfortunately, not for those of us who don't bother to go out and find out what's really going on. Scare tactics work, plain and simple. Make stuff up, and people will believe you, because their laziness overrides their fear. This guy was allowed, on what conservatives call the "Communist News Network" for its blatant liberalism, to get off scot free saying that Social Security is currently running a deficit.

Here's a website I found that would undoubtedly be decried as the vilest of lies by the champions of privatization/reform (catch phrases for abolition), but which actually has some very interesting information that's not even being touched by the "liberal" media.

Be back later.