LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Ryan's budget won't help seniors

Friday, April 5, 2013 | 10:28 a.m. CDT

Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan has passed the House and was debated in the Senate last week. His stated objective is to balance the budget in 10 years. As an advocate for seniors, I am concerned about his involving Social Security and Medicare in budget negotiations.

  • Medicare: He wants to privatize for those born after 1959. They will not turn 65 for 12 years. How is making a change starting in 12 years going to balance a budget in 10 years?
  • Social Security: Ryan wants to reduce benefits. But Social Security is a separate account with $2.7 trillion surplus, which earns interest lending this money to help with the deficit so we do not have to borrow more from China. How is cutting benefits going to reduce the deficit of a separate government account?

Sounds like Rep. Ryan just does not like these vital benefits to seniors which we have paid for over many years.

Martin Walsh is a member of the Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans.

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Jimmy Bearfield April 5, 2013 | 11:03 a.m.

There is no $2.7T surplus. Congress spent that money and replaced it with IOUs. If you're depending on SS for retirement, you're assuming that current and future generations are willing to hand over more and more of their income to cover those IOUs so you don't have to work. Good luck with that, especially when they know that a retiree today will get back multiple dollars for every $1 paid into SS, while they'll get less than 75 cents.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 5, 2013 | 11:22 a.m.

Really, since all government spending is at least in part IOUs, it really doesn't matter what money the government spent. It's all basically one pot. The fundamental problem with SS is the promised benefits are based on outdated demographics. Retirees are living longer and have fewer workers to support them than was the case 40 and 50 years ago.

Jimmy is right that current younger workers will not get everything out they put in, and it would be nice if workers had the option to invest their own money and opt out of the program. However, I doubt this will be a popular option.


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