To the Editor,
As I read your article on Social Security I had this weird feeling that I’d seen this before. I remembered an analysis of these “facts” I’d seen on a web site called factcheck.org. During the last election cycle, I found this site to be the best place to get unbiased evaluations of political ads, and as in this case, chain e-mails that spread misinformation. It is critical of liberals and conservatives alike, and I’ve even heard President Bush refer to it.
So let’s look at your article one question at a time.
Q: Which party put Social Security into the general fund? President Johnson did lump Social Security into the general budget in 1968. Every President and every Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, has followed the same accounting practice since. The unified budget alone didn’t allow Congress to divert Social Security taxes for other purposes. From 1968 to 1974 there were only minimal surpluses coming into the trust. From 1975 to 1981 there was an annual deficit. There was no excess to play with. The tempting surpluses came along as a result of a 1983 law which established taxes on Social Security benefits as a way to shore up the system. This ties in with the second question.
Q: Which party started taxing Social Security? It was in 1983. Bill Clinton and Al Gore weren’t in office. Who was? Well, guess what, it was Ronald Reagan and a Republican Senate. The tax was the recommendation of a bipartisan commission headed by another Republican named Alan Greenspan. Bill Clinton’s input in 1993 was to increase the tax on wealthier recipients to help pay for Medicare. President Bush didn’t even propose repealing this increase in either of his tax cut bills in 2001 or 2003. In 2003, all but two Republican senators voted against its repeal when the Democrats proposed it as an alternative to cutting the tax rate on stock dividends to 15 percent. It’s obvious that the Republican party is so concerned with the well being of our elderly, so long as they own a lot of stock.
Q: Which party gives Social Security to immigrants? Social Security benefits are only paid to people who paid in. Republican President Richard Nixon along with a Democratic Congress called it “landmark legislation,” the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI). It provided for benefits to immigrants, along with all citizens, if they become disabled. SSI is a program funded with general tax revenues, not Social Security. It is available to all, regardless of whether or not they paid into it. In 1996, the Republican congress tried to cut off SSI to immigrants, but after a public outcry, this same Republican congress restored the benefits to current immigrants. A Republican president signed it into law and Republican congresses have helped maintain it since then.
At the end of your article you forgot to say, “Pass this on to 10 of your friends in the next 10 minutes and good luck will come your way.” If I want to read spam e-mail, I can do that without a subscription to the Tomahawk Enquirer … er, Leader. Judging by the articles of the last few months, I recommend you change the title from “Ups and Downs” to “Lower and Lower.” Your last sentence was correct, though. Uninformed citizens believe it, “but anyone who believes this sort of trash won’t cast a well-informed vote.” –factcheck.org