The most recent Social Security Trustees report, issued last year based on the situation at the end of 2009, told us the following:
Social Security expenditures are expected to exceed tax receipts this year for the first time since 1983. … This deficit is expected to shrink substantially for 2011 and to return to small surpluses for years 2012-2014 due to the improving economy.
As already seen, the economy in 2010 did not improve in a way that would have helped the Social Security system retain its last shreds of solvency. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office now projects Social Security cash deficits as far as the eye can see, rising from over $40 billion in 2011 to over $100 billion by 2021. Until recently, today’s workers were funding the retirements of today’s retirees. Now generations yet unborn have also been conscripted for that same purpose.
Yet the Obama administration, including the aforementioned, and now about-facing Jack Lew, insists that Social Security must be off-limits in any deficit discussions because, as Lew wrote in response to a USA Today editorial, “Social Security benefits are entirely self-financing.” Suddenly, the “trust fund” which Lew’s 2000 OMB correctly asserted “do(es) not consist of economic assets” is what will in 2011 and beyond enable the system to “have adequate resources to pay full benefits for the next 26 years.”
The 2000 version of Jack Lew was right. Politicians raided Social Security for decades by “borrowing” its surpluses and squandering over $2 trillion. But that wasn’t enough. Except for a brief, primarily Republican-inspired period around the turn of the century, Democratic and Republican administrations have continually added to the nation’s debt load. The Obama administration has taken it to a horrifying new level. By September 2011, it will have rung up over $4 trillion in additional deficits in three fiscal years (it gets responsibility for fiscal 2009 because, as noted earlier, Democrats created the POR economy before that fiscal year began). It has also increased the national debt by roughly $5 trillion.
So, if we’re to believe Team Obama, the 2011 version of Jack Lew, and Harry Reid — who doesn’t see a need to deal with Social Security for 20 years — a government whose nonpublic debt is projected to be within a whisker of what many experts believe is the code-red level of 90% of GDP in 10 years is automatically going to be able to continue to fund Social Security’s cash deficits for the next 26 years. Horse manure.
These people know the truth, and they’re deliberately dodging it. They’re cynically hoping to ride a wave of ginned-up opposition to any and all entitlement reform in hopes of getting across the finish line in the 2012 elections. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a more cynical strategy on a problem so important in my lifetime.
I hope they fail.