Marketing works. If you put a lot of money into repeating a marketing message over and over and over, eventually people’s brains absorb the message. Conservatives have put a lot of money and effort into convincing people that there is something wrong with Social Security, and that effort is paying off.
So maybe it’s a good idea to start with some facts. Social Security cannot borrow, so it does not contribute to the deficit. In fact, working people have been paying a large share of their earnings into Social Security to save for their retirement, and because of this the program has been running a huge surplus. The government has been borrowing FROM Social Security to fund tax cuts for the rich. This borrowed money was used to purchase Treasury Notes, just like China does when we borrow from them, and those notes earn interest, just like China’s, which also helps fund the program. So all of this money people have been putting aside for their retirement adds up to a huge trust fund, which doesn’t get used up until approx 2037 — if the economy doesn’t get better; later if it does. Even then it only runs a bit short.
OK, so those are some facts about Social Security . Now,on to the conservative propaganda.
Conservatives hate Social Security because it is a demonstration of government working and serving the public. This contradicts their anti-government, anti-democracy ideology so something has to be done about it. Also, it involves a lot of money in that trust fund that working people have been setting aside for their retirement, and the people who fund the conservatives want to get their hands on it. Hence the propaganda campaign to convince people that it is a bad program.
Here is a sampling of today’s propaganda:
Without changes, entitlements will squeeze out other spending priorities. They will push up tax rates, and they will create a drag on the economy. Basically, they will bust the budget.
Social Security is the easiest to fix since, unlike health care, we actually know what will work: It boils down to some combination of benefit reductions and revenue increases.
“Fix” that trust fund that working people have been setting aside for their retirement by cutting their payback?
Republicans say that without reform, Social Security is bound to be an ever greater fiscal burden. … “Social Security is now at the tipping point, the first step of a long, slow march to insolvency if we don’t do something about it,” [Sen. Richard] Shelby said.
Paying back the money that working people have been setting aside for their retirement is “a fiscal burden” in a time of tax cuts for the wealthy…
“We have stolen $2.6 trillion from it. We put paper money in there. The problem is, we spent the money – we didn’t just take it, we took it and spent it,” Coburn said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Social Security ran about a $53 billion deficit last year – it’s projected to run a continuous deficit.
“There’s no question that there’s an IOU in there,” Coburn said. “But our country’s borrowing $4 billion a day. There’s no question, if we had the money, we could wait 10 or 15 or 20 years to fix Social Security.
I wonder if Coburn is also telling China that the government has “stolen” the money they put into Treasury Notes?
In a letter sent to President Obama Wednesday, 23 GOP senators warned it will be “difficult, if not impossible” to approve a hike to the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling if the president does not take the lead on reforming Medicare and Social Security.
The Results Of The Propaganda Campaign
That’s just today’s news. And the result of a decades-long propaganda campaign?
The vast majority of Americans see Social Security headed toward a crisis, and most think the system needs a major overhaul, a new poll suggests.
Eighty-one percent of those surveyed for a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Thursday said they think that if no changes are made to Social Security, the program will be in trouble, while just 15 percent said the system will be fine as it is.
Marketing works. But the fact is that working people have been setting aside money for their retirement, and that money is in a trust fund that has purchased Treasury Notes. Some people are trying to get out of paying that money back, because paying it back would involved doing something about those tax cuts for the rich…