Politics Magazine

Many Are Believing The GOP Lies About Social Security

Posted on the 16 August 2015 by Jobsanger
Many Are Believing The GOP Lies About Social Security  (The cartoon above is by Jeff Parker in Florida Today.)
Social Security just had its 80th birthday. It was signed into law by President Roosevelt on August 14, 1935 -- and it has been one of the most successful federal programs ever created. It was designed to lift elderly Americans out of poverty by providing them a retirement income, and it has lowered the numbers of seniors in poverty from over 50% to under 10%. And it hasn't cost the American taxpayers a single penny, nor has it added a single penny to the deficit or the national debt. That's because it's paid for by a payroll tax that is split between the employer and employee (with each paying half).
It amazes me that anyone could oppose such a successful program that has done so much good for the citizens of this country -- but the Republican do oppose it. They voted against Social Security when it was proposed, and have tried to destroy it ever since then. They have even tried to privatize it, so their Wall Street buddies could make money off it. But so far, all their efforts to destroy Social Security have failed.
They have finally realized that Social Security is too popular with the American public to abolish outright. But that doesn't mean they now support the program -- far from it. They have just changed their tactics. They have decided to chip away at Social Security a little bit at a time, until it no longer works as it was designed to work -- and then they would be able to abolish it.
How can they chip away at such a popular program? By telling lies about it, and repeating those lies until people start to believe them -- and once enough people believe the lies, it will be easy to start destroying the program. What are those lies? That Social Security is going broke, and will soon be bankrupt -- and that when younger Americans retire the program will no longer be able to pay them any benefits.
And as the cartoon above (and the chart below) shows, they seem to have convinced too many Americans that their lies are true. About 64% of 18-29 year olds, 63% of 30-49 year olds, and even 30% of 50-64 year olds say they believe Social Security will not be able to provide them any benefits when they are ready to retire. That's just sad, because it is not even close to the truth.
The truth is that Social Security can continue making full benefit payments for another 20 to 25 years, and even if nothing is done, will be able to make benefit payments of 80% far into the future. Does Social Security have a small funding problem that should be fixed? Yes, they need to be able to provide full benefits (rather than 80%) for the future. But Social Security is not going broke, and is in no danger of going bankrupt -- and benefits will be available when Americans retire in the future.
The Republicans want people to believe that the only ways that problem can be fixed is to cut the amount of benefits paid, and to raise the retirement age. Both of those "solutions" would damage the program and hurt millions of seniors. There is another, much better way to solve the funding problem -- simply raise or remove the cap on the amount of income subject to the payroll tax.
Currently, only the first $118,500 of income is subject to the Social Security payroll tax. That means every person making less than that amount has the full 6.2% taken out of his/her pay. But someone making a million dollars (or a billion) a year pays only the same amount as someone making $118,500 a year -- and none of their income above that amount is taxed. This is not only silly, but it is also very unfair. Why shouldn't all income earners have the same percentage of their income go to pay into Social Security (and Medicare)?
If the cap on the amount of income subject to the payroll tax was raised, Social Security would be fully funded for many more decades -- and if it was abolished, Social Security would be fully funded for all time. And the best part of this is that it wouldn't affect those making less than $118,500 a year at all. Those people (most workers) wouldn't pay a penny more in payroll taxes. It would only affect upper income wage-earners (those who can afford to pay more).
Don't believe the Republicans. They are telling you LIES about Social Security -- and they are doing that so they can damage the program, and one day abolish it. Social Security works, and with an adjustment to the income cap, it can continue to work for all Americans far into the future.
The chart below was made from a recent Gallup Poll -- done between July 8th and 12th and August 5th and 9th of a random national sample of 2,020 adults, and has a margin of error of 3 points.
Many Are Believing The GOP Lies About Social Security

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