Speaking about Social Security, John McCain says, the fact we are supporting present-day retirees with taxes paid by workers is “an absolute disgrace, and it’s got to be fixed” (7/10, A-2, “The Buzz”). This is a false argument by conservatives who blame social programs for the national debt.
Don’t senators ever read the Treasury reports on the deficits or the budgets they supposedly approve? For 2007, Social Security brought in $201 billion more than was spent, and there is a $2 trillion balance in the trust fund.
The problem is we have been spending the trust funds for hot and cold wars over the last quarter-century and are hemorrhaging red ink, as well as blood, in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Congress appropriated more than $800 billion this year for the Defense Department, not counting the half-dozen other agencies involved in war activities or the interest on our monumental war-incurred national debt. This situation has been exacerbated by tax cuts for other corporations, defense contractors, oil companies, and the wealthy.
Moreover, the Treasury has been pushing debt forward into the next fiscal year, and we don’t count military equipment and munitions as an expenditure.
Social Security doesn’t need fixing, war does.
G. Ross Stephens
Professor emeritus, political science and public administration, UMKC