Maybe it’s time to address the elephant in the room — Social Security.
We’ve been warned that the program was about to become insolvent for decades, but have done nothing to fix it.
The Social Security board of trustees estimated in 2020 that its cash reserves will be fully depleted by 2035. Last year they adjusted the end year to 2034.
As government approaches the debt ceiling the situation becomes worsens.
MarketWatch reported Friday that an obscure provision of a 1996 law makes the Social Security trust fund vulnerable to being raided in order to pay the country’s bills.
In that event we’re no longer talking 11 years. We’re talking one, maybe two.
The program needs to be revamped. Yet last week former President Trump attacked Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., on this very issue.
"Great Poll numbers are springing forth for your favorite President, me, against Ron DeSanctus (& Biden)," he said on his own social media platform, Truth Social.
"I guess people are finding out that he wanted to CUT SOCIAL SECURITY & RAISE THE MINIMUM AGE TO AT LEAST 70, at least 4 times. LIKEWISE WITH MEDICARE, WANTED BIG CUTS."
Trump was likely referring to a statement DeSantis made during his successful 2012 campaign for Congress, when he was running as a Tea Party Conservative.
He indicated that he would support an effort to at least partially privatize both programs, with the proviso that he “wouldn’t make any changes to Social Security or Medicare for people who are on the program or near retirement — 55 or over,” DeSantis told the St. Augustine Record.
"I would embrace proposals like [Rep.] Paul Ryan offered, and other people have offered, that are going to provide some market forces in there, more consumer choice, and make it so that it's not just basically a system that's just going to be bankrupt when you have new people coming into it."
He added, ”Social Security, I would do the same thing.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made a similar suggestion during a town hall in Des Moines, Iowa last week.
"You reform the entitlements, but you do it in a way that you don’t take anything away from seniors or people who are getting ready to retire," said Haley, who also served as governor of South Carolina. "You focus on the new generation, you focus on what’s next."
Neither DeSantis nor Haley offered much in the way of specifics, but someone else did: George W. Bush, following his highly successful 2004 reelection as president. It’s an issue that had been on his mind for decades.
"As we fix Social Security, we also have the responsibility to make the system a better deal for younger workers," he reasoned. "And the best way to reach that goal is through voluntary personal retirement accounts."
Bush argued that this approach would offer younger workers a "better deal": The rate of return would be higher than in the traditional system; the accumulation could be passed on to children and grandchildren; and "best of all, the money in this account is yours, and the government can never take it away."
The Brookings Institution indicated that the proposal failed because it was too tough a sell to Americans.
Conservative readers may be cringing right about now.
Nikki Haley? Paul Ryan?! George W. Bush?!!
But the Bush proposal got a thumbs-up endorsement from someone whose conservative stripes can’t be questioned: the late, great talk radio host Rush Limbaugh — El Rushbo himself.
In 2010 a Muskegon, Michigan listener called in expressing concern over reports of Social Security becoming insolvent. That’s when Limbaugh brought up the Bush plan.
"George Bush, immediately after his reelection in 2004, said he was going to use some of his political capital to reform Social Security.
"And he used the word ‘privatize,’ and it was a good plan. It was an excellent, excellent plan — and it would not have touched current retirees. It would not have affected them at all, but the Democrats demagogued it," Limbaugh said.
He explained that "a portion — not all, a portion — of the payroll taxes deducted each pay period from an employee’s paycheck would be put into an investment fund where it would grow independently of whatever the Social Security lockbox did."
Limbaugh added, "See, the dirty little secret here is that the federal government has been living off Social Security for years."
And if the current president has his way, Washington, D.C. may be "living off Social Security" to a greater extent as it approaches the debt ceiling.
If you doubt Biden’s capacity to be that crazy, consider this assessment from former President Obama: "Don't underestimate Joe's ability to f**k things up."
And Trump would do well to reassess his own beliefs on the issue.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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