ROSE NOLEN: Congress needs to prepare for Social Security's budget drain

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:25 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Well, now we know.

The Social Security Administration will run out of money in 2023. (However, the Treasury will be able to redeem trust fund assets, which will exceed interest earnings until exhaustion of trust fund reserves in 2033, according to the Social Security Administration.) Is anyone working on finding a way to deal with this problem? Well, perhaps if the government could find a way to charge the political candidates for the television advertisements they are running against their opponents, it might pick up a few dollars.

One would think such a serious problem should be handled right away.

We already understand that we cannot afford the war in Afghanistan, so it seems to me we should start shutting it down now. Why isn't Congress meeting to work on this matter?

Obviously, we can't afford to keep borrowing money from China.

Continuing to give tax breaks to the rich is a luxury we haven't been able to afford for years. Why can't we realize that patriotic citizens would not expect the country to go broke as a result of extending them favors? They should be lending the country money.

Since many in the middle class have lost their jobs, exhausted their savings and cannot afford any more taxes, isn't it time for the rich to carry their share of the burden? Certainly, we can all understand why some members of Congress want to spare the wealthy. After all, these might be the people who get them into office. But why should the rest of us be beholden to them?

Exactly what does the government plan to do when all of these older citizens have exhausted their trust funds? These citizens are expecting a check to cover their food, lodging and medical care every month. They have paid money into this fund throughout their working years to avoid being a burden on their children.

I'm certain Congress is not willing to work for free. Even if the people are starving, they will expect to be paid. I'm sure they cannot expect another country to be willing to take care of our elderly.

Since people will not be able to afford to retire, does that mean we will all just work until we die? What kind of jobs will be available for 90-year-olds?

So that the country can continue to support retirement for older people, does this mean younger people will have to be taxed throughout their working lives in order to retire in their older years?

The people who have worked for the government should have been working on this problem over the years to make sure it did not come to this.

Well, once again, the rich come out OK. They obviously will not have to worry about being broke when they get old. They will have sucked all the money out of the government during their younger years, so that when they get ready to retire they will not to have to worry about it.

Maybe then, Americans will understand what happened to all that money that the rich put away when they should have been paying taxes on it. We can only hope that those in government who helped them get by with it got their share so their retirements will be taken care of as well.

But the money is nearly gone and won't be there for our retirement. So we need to consider vouchers, right? No, wrong.

What we need to do is to get some people in Congress who don't have rich friends. We need to get some people in Congress who will protect our money and demand that rich people pay their fair share of taxes.

Fair is fair, right?

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Michael Williams May 1, 2012 | 12:27 p.m.

Rose says, "Continuing to give tax breaks to the rich is a luxury we haven't been able to afford for years....They should be lending the country money."

Who the heck do you think buys T-bills, T-bonds, and munis like those Columbia school bonds you voted for, Rose?

Purchase of these financial instruments IS lending money to the country/city/school district!

And, it's mainly done by wealthier people and/or...gasp...evil corporations looking to park money or be civic-minded.

Of course, such lending means YOU, as a taxpayer, have to pay interest back to the person who bought the instrument in the first place.

The fact is that by asking them to lend the country/city/county money, you are making all those evil folks RICHER with the interest you pay back! Do you gripe about that?

Or do you want the money for free?

Don't answer that.........

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 1, 2012 | 12:38 p.m.

Further, your comments about SS are about 30-40 years too late. Like you, many folks ignored the topic and available data, and voted "It'll be's YEARS off! They'll fix it!"

Well, it didn't get fixed and it's about time to pay the piper.

And YOU are the cause of the problem as much as any. You ignored all those years when the problem could have been fixed. You trusted all those D and R politicians who were pillaging the so-called SS trust fund and leaving you stuck with the IOU's.

I ask you this, Rose: How much money would YOUR SS account be worth TODAY if you had been able to invest that money in a private account 30-40 years ago?

A helluva lot more than you got now.

So now, all you're left with is a plea for a forced taking from ants after you and others played financially-blind grasshoppers all these years.

My sympathy-o-meter is rather low.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 1, 2012 | 2:38 p.m.

@ Michael Williams:

Correct on all counts. What would we ever do if we didn't have the "rich" to blame our troubles on? Waa! waa! waa! But synchronized WHINING is so impressive. Actually, it isn't.

PS: I wonder whether Rose and others know that a person with modest means can buy municipal bonds through a bond fund like Franklin Templeton, and there's such a thing as a Missouri (municipal) bond fund, that's both federal and Missouri tax exempt (if in the latter case you are a Missouri resident). You can have the fund automatically reinvest all earnings. Did it for years. In a small way I put up money to help build schools, projects at universities, public works, municipal buildings, etc.

But that takes foresight and discipline, whereas WHINING does not.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 1, 2012 | 3:47 p.m.

Ellis: I owe munis from several places within this state, too, mainly school districts. And I'm not rich, but I'm confident folks like Rose would eventually get to me if they got to the REALLY rich first. The rich are just the camel's nose....after that, well, you know.

I'm sure some folks would also gripe that the munis are usually free of state tax and, as you said, fed tax in some cases. Fine. Get rid of the tax-free part. Go for it. I want all of you to see what happens.

Then wonder why in hell no one wants to buy them UNLESS communities raise the bond rates to make it all worthwhile. It's not hard to take a look at all the investment possibilities out there and decide....nope, munis ain't worth it. I'm taking my money elsewhere.

How will you finance your community growth if no one buys your bonds because you need a bunch of up-front money?

And it's THAT choice that sticks in the craw of folks wanting someone else's money...the choice that I can take my money where I want to.

That's what ALL of these arguments have at their choice.

Ellis: There's some comments in the article on coal plants that you and Mark need to address...on energetics. Please.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor May 1, 2012 | 4:55 p.m.

"Well, once again, the rich come out OK. They obviously will not have to worry about being broke when they get old. They will have sucked all the money out of the government during their younger years, so that when they get ready to retire they will not to have to worry about it."


Are the libs so incapacitated by their reliance on others to provide for them that they don't even realize that most rich people are rich despite the government and not because of it?

... writer shakes head and looks at floor...

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush May 1, 2012 | 5:18 p.m.

As you know, Rose, when
The complaints are about your
Tone, it means you're right.

Some want to pity
The billionaires. "Trickle down"
Hasn't and won't work.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 1, 2012 | 5:33 p.m.

A really interesting piece in this paper, would be one having to do with reason so many among us are able to twist their thinking backward and upside down every time.

Can she not know that her hero, Mr. Obama, for his "middle class" tax cut, fought republicans to a standstill, to extract the money from THEIR "these older citizens") Social Security trust fund, rather than cut HIS spending and borrowing of our general funds. (we now are dependent upon Treasury as well as Congress for return of All of our funds.)

Can an ideological dream seem so real that the dreamer can reject any and all information that proves the dream can never become reality? It certainly seems so.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 1, 2012 | 5:45 p.m.

"Some want to pity
The billionaires. "Trickle down"
Hasn't and won't work."

No one pities the billionaires! Most want to become one. Trickle down is the ladder of success that allows this end. Every other system so far known to man, keeps the billionaires, billionaires and everyone else subservient.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 1, 2012 | 6:02 p.m.

Rose said, "They will have sucked all the money out of the government during their younger years, so that when they get ready to retire they will not to have to worry about it."

These words angered me.

They imply a strategy, a way of life, a mind-set on the part of wealthy folks that is extraordinarily negative. Those words also apply to me...a person who became wealthier through hard, honest work, and aspires to become rich repeating the same strategies.

Rose, I do not have that mindset, and your implications about me and most rich folks are a direct insult.

To say that wealthy (implication...ALL wealthy, since you made no distinctions) folks made their money by sucking it all from the government implies that all such folks, including those with aspirations, are the lowest of the low.

How is this any different if I said all poor folks are worthless, good-for-nothing, lazy, incompetent, culturally-bankrupt individuals sucking on the government teat for their livelihood? Both are horrible insults...and wrong! In point of fact (as stated in this newspaper), I think more highly of poor folks' brains than do you and your ilk!

Again, how is this different? Please answer.

Weren't you the one who, a few short weeks ago, discussed how the conversation amongst us all should be civilized????

Look to your own prose.

Fine. You've tossed down the gauntlet. We now know how you think and believe towards those who...somehow...bettered themselves than did you.

Yeah, you really improved the conversation. You made my heart just a little bit harder and a whole lot more unsympathetic. Thanks for telling us what you really think, tho. That is always a good thing to know.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush May 1, 2012 | 6:42 p.m.

Blaming someone else
For your own hard heart? A
Hoarder's gotta hoard.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 1, 2012 | 7:15 p.m.

And a lazy man's gotta be lazy.

(Report Comment)
frank christian May 1, 2012 | 8:58 p.m.

"And a lazy man's gotta be lazy."

Fits Mr. Bushes contribution to this forum, precisely!

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 1, 2012 | 8:59 p.m.

Two members of the fed ain't happy.........

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 2, 2012 | 6:00 a.m.

Promoting class warfare is archetypal of Communism, which also posits that individuals really don't count as such - only classes of people.

"Koo Koo Kulak, the pause that rededicates." - Pogo

(Report Comment)
mike mentor May 2, 2012 | 9:29 a.m.

That was the paragraph that bothered me as well. Very telling. (The whole premise about the rich not paying their share is equally ridiculous, but has been trotted out by the disengenious left so often it has lost a little sting...)

@Rose and Gregg
I suppose since the king is now a 1 percenter you view him and his family with the same contempt as all those other evil 1 percenters? Are you mad at him for taking advantage of government help along the way to go from an immigrants son of modest means from a broken family to the most powerful office in the world? He should pay my taxes! He took advantage of government help that I couldn't take advantage of and now he is rich. He could pay all of my tax and not even notice it. How hartless can one man be that he would use my help to become rich and then has the nerve to not pay my taxes for me when he could easily do it? Greedy, no good, rotten son of a gun...

On second thought. Maybe I am rushing to judgement. Some might describe the feelings displayed above as childlike envy like I felt back in pre-school when Johnny got to play with the Buzz Lightyear guy and I got stuck with Woody. Let me look for spiritual guidance as I do so much want to mature past these ill feelings. The 10 commandments are widely understood as moral imperatives by legal scholars, Jewish scholars, Catholic scholars, and Post-Reformation scholars. Let's see what they say...

You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet thy neighbors wife, or his manservant or his maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Hmmm... Looks like I shouldn't even want, much less expect my neighbor to give me his. Wow, this maturation stuff is hard! I guess I should be happy for my neighbor if he finds success and celebrate it instead of thinking he should give me some of his. Wow! I feel better already! I hope I can train my brain to keep thinking like this. I sure don't want to revert back to the childlike feelings of waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush May 2, 2012 | 10:13 a.m.

Refutation of
Misinterpretation is
Just (auto-erotic activity).

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 3, 2012 | 3:12 p.m.

Speaking of evil rich people:

Those of you who hate corporations should ask yourself, "How have I contributed to THIS success....multiple times a day?"

(I'm betting those shareholders are holding one helluva lot of those evil T-bills, T-bonds, and munis...which, I reiterate...are LOANS to governments that Rose pleads for. Financial illiteracy-R-Us.)

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith May 5, 2012 | 7:16 a.m.

"The trouble with Socialism is that you eventually run out of someone else's money to spend." - Lady Margaret Thatcher

Isn't it amazing how abundantly we spend SOMEONE ELSE'S money? Trouble is, when push comes to shove we sadly learn we too are "someone else." Look at the current mess in the Euro Zone.

My comment on Socialism is it appears to presume there are a shocking number stupid people in the electorate. We might hope that's not true.

(Report Comment)

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