Isn't It Ironic

The food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the Forest Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us “please do not feed the animals” because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves

Recently there has been a good deal of press about the state of the Social Security reserves to fund the upcoming wave of baby boomers.  The forecast I saw earlier last year indicated that without some significant changes the funds would run out by 2017. I commented on this in a prior blog article and since then it seems our political leaders have ignored this information from the General Accounting Office in an effort to get voters to see them as wise and generous by reducing these taxes to stimulate the economy.

In late 2010 Congress voted to reduce the FICA (social security) tax on employees from 6.5% to 4.5% for 2011 and similar cuts in the Self Employment taxes.  This was touted as giving the average taxpayer more cash from their paycheck of about $1,000 for the year.  The FICA tax is what funds the social security and the reduction of what the employees contribute means we are increasing the pace by which the Social Security Administration will run out of money.

The irony here is that this was bad enough in 2011 but on February 17, 2012, Congress approved the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which extends through December 31, 2012, the 2% reduction in payroll taxes currently in effect.   Mark Miller of Reuters Money wrote on September 9, 2011, “The current and proposed FICA tax cuts don’t directly affect the long-term health of Social Security, because the revenue that normally flows directly to the Social Security Trust Fund is being reimbursed out of general revenue.”

Since we have enormous deficits it seems that we are planning to fund the shortfall with tax revenues we are not currently collecting specifically for the Social Security fund but by from general revenue which is not covering budgeted deficit spending….am I missing something here?

I understand we all enjoy paying less in taxes and I benefit by this reduction in taxes as well.  What I also know is that every dollar I have paid into the SSA funds since my first job delivering papers till now has been something that was to fund my supplemental retirement benefits as mandated by our government. Now I am beginning to sense that full benefits will not be something I will receive unless a huge burden is put on my children and grandchildren.

Now we have a clear perspective that the funds on hand and those forecasted for the Social Security Administration will not support the pending wave of baby boomers who will be drawing on these over the next 30-40 years.  The governmental accounting office has raised the warning and our politicians from both parties continue to make political decisions to stimulate the economy by reducing the savings and solvency of the Social Security program.

Nancy Altman, co-director of the Strengthen Social Security coalition and author of The Battle for Social Security says, “Look at the controversy over ending the Bush tax cuts, which would only affect a small portion of taxpayers. In this case, if you propose restoring the payroll tax down the road, you’d have to double the rates on workers making minimum wage. This is being sold as temporary, but it’s not likely to work out that way.”

It seems we should look at the irony of the Department of Agriculture issues outlined above and consider if our government is again making policy that flies in the face of logic and wisdom. . The time is now to take control of your finances and not depend on the leaders in government to make sure you receive the benefits you have been promised and paying for.

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