First of all, neither Social Security, nor Medicare A, are part of the budget deficit problem. These Trust Funds are running huge surpluses that they lend to the US Government, reducing what it needs to borrow from China and the Saudis. There may be some issues with the very long term funding of Social Security, 50 or 75 years out, but it is certainly not in any imminent danger. The Medicare A Trust Fund is also healthy today, but it does have less time to be fixed, as a result of blatant waste in our bizarre for profit health care system. These funds have nothing at all to do with the short term budget issues of the US.
So why is there all this extremist right wing noise about cutting them? That’s simple, we are dealing with extremists that are trying to hold the American people hostage to their program of protecting the rich from taxes at all costs while gutting social services for the rest of us. Most Republicans have even signed the extremist “Norquist Pledge” to never to raise taxes. This pledge says nothing about never raising government spending, only to never raise taxes because the extremists want to use the deficit to put pressure on politicians to raid our Social Insurance Trust Funds (Social Security and Medicare Part A) to pay for tax cuts for the rich. These same extremists think that it is OK to tax the middle class by borrowing to protect the banks that rip us off, or to destroy the Clinton Era surplus with tax cuts for the rich.
Social Security and Medicare A are funded separately from general revenue. Go look at your W2 forms, Boxes 4 and 6 are “Social Security Tax Withheld”, and “Medicare Tax Withheld”. Our dollars that go into Boxes 2 and 4 are being held in trust for those purposes only. Not for war, not for more tax cuts for the rich, not for more subsidies to the oil companies and big agriculture. Up until 1968 Social Security was not even displayed as being part of the Federal Budget. Then President Johnson added the trust funds into that famous US Government “pie chart” to make the Vietnam war spending looks smaller.
The principle that these funds are not to be used for any other purpose has been understood by all, until recently when the extremists, emboldened by the ease at which they got away with making the middle class borrow money to pay for their tax cuts, decided to try and destroy what is left of out tattered safety net. Let’s solve this once and for all by taking a page from the play book of the extremists and make our politicians sign a “pledge” to honor the Social Insurance Trust Funds. Just like the extremists successfully made most Republicans sign an anti-tax pledge.
Let’s start sending the “Social Insurance Trust Fund Protection Pledge” to our politicians and see which ones sign it and which ones reject it. Most will no doubt try ignoring it at first. Cut and paste this and send to your people in Congress.
Social Insurance Trust Fund Protection Pledge
I,______________________________________________ , pledge to the taxpayers of the state
of_________________ , and to the American people that I will:
ONE, oppose any and all efforts to divert any funds from the Social Security or Medicare Trust Funds for any purposes other than for those originally intended; and
TWO, oppose any attempts to privatize, introduce voucher based options, or reduce funding for, the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds;
Signature and Date
Pledge should be signed, dated and prominently posted on the elected officials “dot-gov” Web site.