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ZOT! The real facts of social security, courtesy of FactCheck
FactCheck.org ^ | February 3, 2005

Posted on 02/23/2005 8:31:43 PM PST by CAOHCAUCSB

Summary

In his State of the Union Address, President Bush said again that the Social Security system is headed for "bankruptcy," a term that could give the wrong idea. Actually, even if it goes "bankrupt" a few decades from now, the system would still be able to pay about three-quarters of the benefits now promised.

Bush also made his proposed private Social Security accounts sound like a sure thing, which they are not. He said they "will" grow fast enough to provide a better return than the present system. History suggests that will be so, but nobody can predict what stock and bond markets will do in the future.

Bush left out any mention of what workers would have to give up to get those private acounts -- a proportional reduction or offset in guaranteed Social Security retirement benefits. He also glossed over the fact that money in private accounts would be "owned" by workers only in a very limited sense -- under strict conditions which the President referred to as "guidelines." Many retirees, and possibly the vast majority, wouldn't be able to touch their Social Security nest egg directly, even after retirement, because the government would take some or all of it back and convert it to a stream of payments guaranteed for life. Analysis

Bush made Social Security the centerpiece of his Feb. 3 State of the Union address. He gave more details of how he proposes to change the system -- but left out facts that don't help his case.

Social Security "Headed Toward Bankruptcy?"

The President painted a dire picture of Social Security's finances:

Bush: The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy . And so we must join together to strengthen and save Social Security.

"Bankruptcy" is a scary term that Democrats have used too, when it suited them, but it could easily give the wrong idea. Nobody is predicting that Social Security will go out of business the way a bankrupt business does. It would continue to pay benefits -- just not as many.

The President was a little more specific about that later in his address, while repeating the word "bankrupt":

Bush: By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt . If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be dramatically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs.

But how severe would those benefit cuts be? In fact there are two official projections -- one by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and a somewhat less pessimistic projection by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The President referred to the SSA projection, which calculates that the system's trust fund will be depleted in 2042. After that, the system would have legal authority to pay only 73 percent of currently promised benefits -- and that figure would decline each year after, reaching 68 percent in the year 2075.

The CBO doesn't project trust-fund depletion until a decade later, in 2052, and figures that the benefits cuts wouldn't be so severe, a reduction to 78% of promised benefits. But either way, even a "bankrupt" system would continue to provide most of what's promised currently.

Furthermore, the President did not specify what he would do to fix the problem. He again urged creation of private Social Security accounts. But those would be of no help whatsoever in shoring up the system's finances, as acknowledged earlier in the day by a senior Bush administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity:

"Senior Administration Official:" So in a long-term sense, the personal accounts would have a net neutral effect on the fiscal situation of the Social Security and on the federal government.

And that "net neutral effect" is just over the long term, 75 years or more. In the shorter term, creation of private accounts would require heavy federal borrowing to finance the payment of benefits to current retirees while some portion of payroll taxes is being diverted to workers' private accounts. The administration projects it will borrow $754 billion (including interest) through 2015 to finance the initial phase-in of the accounts, and much more thereafter. The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities -- which opposes Bush's proposal -- projected that $4.5 trillion (with a "t") would be required to finance the first 20 years of the accounts after they start to be phased in in 2009.

Private Accounts: A Sure Thing?

The President made those private accounts -- which he now prefers to call "personal" accounts -- sound like a sure bet:

Bush: Here's why the personal accounts are a better deal. Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver -- and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security.

History suggests that the President is correct -- the stock market has averaged a 6.8 percent "real" rate of return (adjusted for inflation) over the past two centuries, according to Jeremy Siegel, professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The administration says a conservative mix of stocks, corporate bonds and government bonds would return 4.6 percent, even after inflation and administrative costs. And the administration also figures that private accounts would need to generate only a 3 percent rate of return to beat what Social Security provides.

But there's no guarantee that history will repeat itself. Markets are inherently unpredictable and volatile. At present, for example, all major stock-market indexes are still well below where they were five years ago.

Benefit Offsets

The President made no mention of one crucial aspect of the proposed accounts -- anyone choosing one would also have to give up an offsetting portion of their future guaranteed retirement benefits. If their investments in private accounts returned more than 3 percent annually over the years, they would end up better off than under the current formula. But if those investments did worse, they wouldn't make up for the portion of benefits that were given up, and the owner of an account would end up worse off. The President didn't explain that trade-off.

"The Money is Yours?"

The President also glossed over some severely restrictive aspects of the accounts he is proposing, saying flatly "the money is yours."

Bush: In addition, you'll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children and -- or grandchildren. And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away .

That's not exactly true.

As described by the "senior administration official," the owners of personal accounts wouldn't be able to touch the money while they are working, not even to borrow. The money would remain in the hands of the federal government, which would administer the personal accounts for a fee which the official said would be about 30 cents per year for every $100 invested.

And even at retirement, the government would control what becomes of the money. First, the government would automatically take back a portion of the money at retirement and convert it to a guaranteed stream of payments for life -- an annuity. The amount taken back would depend on the amount of money the retiree requires to remain above the official poverty guideline. That's currently $12,490 for a couple or $9,310 for a single person. Only after the combination of traditional Social Security benefits and the mandatory annuity payments from the private account equal the poverty level would any remaining portion in the account be "yours."

"Senior Administration Official:" They would be permitted to leave those (leftover) funds in the account to continue to appreciate; they could withdraw those amounts as lump sums to deal with a pressing financial need -- and, obviously, any additional accumulations in the accounts could be left as an inheritance. But the main restriction, again, to repeat, is that people would not be permitted to withdraw money from the accounts to such a degree that by doing so they would spend themselves below the poverty line.

The President didn't mention the mandatory nature of these restrictions, calling them only "guidelines" and describing them only in positive terms:

Bush: (W)e will set careful guidelines for personal accounts. We'll make sure the money can only go into a conservative mix of bonds and stock funds. We'll make sure that your earnings are not eaten up by hidden Wall Street fees. We'll make sure there are good options to protect your investments from sudden market swings on the eve of your retirement. We'll make sure a personal account cannot be emptied out all at once, but rather paid out over time, as an addition to traditional Social Security benefits. And we'll make sure this plan is fiscally responsible, by starting personal retirement accounts gradually, and raising the yearly limits on contributions over time, eventually permitting all workers to set aside four percentage points of their payroll taxes in their accounts.

Feb. 4 Clarification: We originally used the term "clawback" to describe the sum of money that the government would require workers to use to purchase an annuity upon retirement. The White House does not use that term and specifically denies that the mandatory annuity purchase requirement constitutes a "clawback." We have removed our references to that term to characterize the mandatory annuity purchase. Sources

George W. Bush, "State of the Union Address ," The White House, 2 Feb 2005.

"The Short- and Long-Term Outlook for Stocks," Knowledge@Wharton website, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania: 2 June 2004. (Free subscription required.)

White House Office of the Press Secretary, "Background Press Briefing on Social Security," press release, 2 Feb 2005.

US Department of Health and Human Services, "Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines," Federal Register 13 Feb 2004: 7336.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: catfood; ciakitty; dutroll; fbikitty; hatingamerica; herekitty; newbie; socialsecurity; troll; vikingkitties; zot; zotalert; zotbait; zotdot; zotemeplease; zotmeagain; zotmeharder; zotmeoften; zotted; zotty
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1 posted on 02/23/2005 8:31:44 PM PST by CAOHCAUCSB
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To: ancient_geezer

ping


2 posted on 02/23/2005 8:32:27 PM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: MeekOneGOP

I think we got one here.


3 posted on 02/23/2005 8:34:41 PM PST by rdl6989
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

reads a little biased IMO


4 posted on 02/23/2005 8:35:12 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead (Islam is religion of piece established for profit by Muhammad, piss be upon him.)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

You just signed up to post this ?


5 posted on 02/23/2005 8:36:26 PM PST by John Lenin
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To: CAOHCAUCSB; MeekOneGOP

Live one here...


6 posted on 02/23/2005 8:36:31 PM PST by quantim (Victory is not relative, it is absolute.)
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To: rdl6989

Hit n run


7 posted on 02/23/2005 8:36:55 PM PST by John Lenin
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

What's your take newbie?


8 posted on 02/23/2005 8:37:11 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead (Islam is religion of piece established for profit by Muhammad, piss be upon him.)
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To: Calpernia
There is something interesting about this post.
9 posted on 02/23/2005 8:37:15 PM PST by rdl6989
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To: John Lenin

This is straight off the unbiased website factcheck.org. IM sure you all have heard of this. I am not trying to be a muckraker, just simply trying to start a discussion of social security. Anyone disagree with the numbers?


10 posted on 02/23/2005 8:38:03 PM PST by CAOHCAUCSB
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To: John Lenin

Me thinks we best sound the troll alarm.


11 posted on 02/23/2005 8:38:09 PM PST by rdl6989
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

You just driving by????


12 posted on 02/23/2005 8:39:16 PM PST by cynicom (<p)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

If our sainted leaders are so worried about Social Security, how is it they still haven't protected the money that's coming in? When you see the SS tax on your paycheck, just add it to the Federal Income tax portion to get your true tax rate, because the simple truth is they're spending it on other things that they aren't held accountable for.

I'll believe they're 'worried' when they start saving it.


13 posted on 02/23/2005 8:40:07 PM PST by ETERNAL WARMING (We have the best politicians corporate money can buy)
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To: Texas_Jarhead

I agree with privatazation of social security and Bush's proposal yet this article seems interesting to read. Everyday it seems we are getting new figures about how Social Security will turn out in the future. Will it be in 2042 as bush says, or 2052 as the Congressional Budget Office says. And we know that it will not go bankrupt, but it will not be able to fully pay the benefits out...


14 posted on 02/23/2005 8:40:20 PM PST by CAOHCAUCSB
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

Yea, we should listen to the government groups who told us there was a $10 Trillion surplus in election 2000. I say by 2012 we are in the crapper. A heart bypass surgery cost 45k, SS is the least of our problems.


15 posted on 02/23/2005 8:41:04 PM PST by John Lenin
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To: rdl6989
I had no idea it was fluff. I pinged Ancient Geezer here. I planned on reading the article after A.G. got here. I usually don't follow SS and Tax stuff without reading the explainations he posts.


16 posted on 02/23/2005 8:41:44 PM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
...the system would still be able to pay about three-quarters of the benefits now promised.

This is the definition of BANKRUPT. I think I will pay 3/4 of my bills next month and see how that goes over.

17 posted on 02/23/2005 8:42:36 PM PST by msnimje
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To: Texas_Jarhead

There is two things that stand out to me---

1. It states that if we do nothing to change things, that SS won't go "bankrupt" in the strictest sense, that retirees would get "at least 73-78% of what they put in". Well, that isn't good enough for me, thank you very much.

2. Did it state anywhere in this article that the personal accounts would be "voluntary"---which would mean that the "gamble" would be the choice of the retiree, with the knowledge of the difference between that and staying in the "old" system?

All of these political chicken-littles that are against this change, are acting like EVERY American retiree will NEED their SS to survive----which is not true. My husband an I aren't rich by any means, but we do have a retirement plan that is going to be our main source of funding---not SS. Isn't SS supposed to be a "safety net", not a "savings account"?


18 posted on 02/23/2005 8:43:36 PM PST by Txsleuth (Call be anything...just don't call me a fringe poster)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

>>>Anyone disagree with the numbers?

I already pinged our resident expert.

Just come back to your thread when he responds. That will show if you are a muckraker(?) or not.


19 posted on 02/23/2005 8:44:10 PM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
Actually, even if it goes "bankrupt" a few decades from now, the system would still be able to pay about three-quarters of the benefits now promised.

If Bush was talking about cutting 1/4 of the social security benefits old folks are currently expecting in the next twenty years, liberals would have a s--- fit. They would behave as if nails and other sharp metal objects were being passed through their digestive systems. It would be The Passion of the Liberal.

But if the benefits are going to fail after 20 years from now, suddenly liberals don't care.

THERE IS NO CRISIS.

THERE IS NO CRISIS.

THERE IS NO CRISIS.

THERE IS NO CRISIS.

THERE IS NO CRISIS.

THERE IS NO CRISIS.

THERE IS NO CRISIS.

THERE IS NO CRISIS.

THERE IS NO CRISIS.

Keep repeating it and maybe it will come true! </sarcasm>

20 posted on 02/23/2005 8:45:35 PM PST by xm177e2 (Stalinists, Maoists, Ba'athists, Pacifists: Why are they always on the same side?)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

If social security constantly has money coming in, how could it possibly pay ZERO benefits? It would always have to pay out SOMETHING. By the liberals' definition, social security is INCAPABLE of going bankrupt. LOL.


21 posted on 02/23/2005 8:46:58 PM PST by xm177e2 (Stalinists, Maoists, Ba'athists, Pacifists: Why are they always on the same side?)
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To: Calpernia
Newbie signed up today and posts this. Hmmmmm. The President also glossed over some severely restrictive aspects of the accounts he is proposing, saying flatly "the money is yours. Do you smell ozone?
22 posted on 02/23/2005 8:47:25 PM PST by rdl6989
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To: quantim

Nope, dead one, now.


23 posted on 02/23/2005 8:47:50 PM PST by SmithL (Proud Submariner)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
Damn but that was a fast

-Eric

24 posted on 02/23/2005 8:49:10 PM PST by E Rocc (You can tell a lot about a politician by whom he or she hopes will show up to vote.)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

You do a disservice to young Americans with your lies.


25 posted on 02/23/2005 8:49:13 PM PST by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: Calpernia

Whew, that was a quick zot.


26 posted on 02/23/2005 8:50:21 PM PST by rdl6989
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
73-78%??????

+
27 posted on 02/23/2005 8:50:22 PM PST by Dallas59 (Bush said the "F" word 27 times January 20th, 2005!)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
Just missed the Zot!


28 posted on 02/23/2005 8:51:30 PM PST by chudogg (www.chudogg.blogspot.com)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
Welcome to FR. Factcheck.org isn't as bipartisan as they want you to think. There are several posts debunking fc during the Presidential debates. SS is definitely going out.

Oh yes, and pay no attention to the drone buzzing around you.


29 posted on 02/23/2005 8:52:49 PM PST by Killborn (It's called C4. Use lots and lots of it.)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

YER OUTTA HERE!!!!

30 posted on 02/23/2005 8:53:25 PM PST by Dan from Michigan ("There out ta get me! They won't catch me! I'm #@^#@# innocent! They won't break me" - Guns N Roses)
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To: Killborn

Meh, I guess him dead.


31 posted on 02/23/2005 8:54:32 PM PST by Killborn (It's called C4. Use lots and lots of it.)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

"Let's show this prehistoric troll how we do things downtown!"

32 posted on 02/23/2005 8:57:25 PM PST by WestVirginiaRebel ("Senator, we can have this discussion in any way that you would like.")
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To: Dan from Michigan

lol!!


33 posted on 02/23/2005 8:58:44 PM PST by hole_n_one
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To: KC_Conspirator
You do a disservice to young Americans with your lies.

Bingo. Tell them a 22% cut with ever-rising taxes isn't a crisis!

Idiot.

34 posted on 02/23/2005 8:59:15 PM PST by THX 1138
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
Anyone disagree with the numbers

I really don't know. I can't read beyond the first few paragraphs that play gymnastics with the most basic of truths...the definition of bankruptcy and the historical truth of returns on investment. If they have to wiggle that quickly, why read on?

35 posted on 02/23/2005 9:02:08 PM PST by Dolphy
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

Fine sucker, loan me 100 million bucks, I will pay you back 67.33 million and we will call it good, OK?


36 posted on 02/23/2005 9:03:38 PM PST by Ursus arctos horribilis ("It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" Emiliano Zapata 1879-1919)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
This is straight off the unbiased website factcheck.org.

That's a GOOD one!!! Factcheck.org UNBIASED? That's a HOOT!

Now listen, factcheck.org is named in that ironic sense that sometimes a real fat person is nicknamed "slats" or a real tall guy is called "shorty".

There is NOTHIING unbiased about factcheck.org.

One issue alone proves this. TFactcheck.org never mentions that Social Security is broke NOW. Or, that there IS NO SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND, contrary to the propaganda. The money is all spent! Every cent! All that is left is unsecured IOUs that will have to be redeedmed with tax money or more borrowing.

Did factcheck.org think to mention that little tidbit?

Nope, they did not.

If you sincerely believe this crap you have posted, you need to do a whole lot of serious reading. Educate yourself, sir.

If you don't really believe this manure, but are just SPREADING it, then you are not really welcome 'round these parts.

37 posted on 02/23/2005 9:05:37 PM PST by John Valentine
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
History suggests that will be so, but nobody can predict what stock and bond markets will do in the future.

Is the stock market higher now than it was 10 years ago? Was it higher then than it was 10 years before that? If so, then the stock market generally trends upward. There are corrections and slumps, but people's investments tend to increase over time. Even putting their money in a dedicated savings account in a savings and loan, credit union, or a bank earning the regular rate of interest would grow their money faster than it grows with Soc. Sec.

These people who complain about people privately investing part of their Soc. Sec. money always miss one very important point. That money is not only helping the person who owns the account, but it is also helping someone grow a business from the capital raised in a stock issue, or help someone buy a house from the money available from a bank or savings and loan. That money is being put into play in the economy, and that's always a good thing.

38 posted on 02/23/2005 9:08:15 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: Calpernia

Social Security "Headed Toward Bankruptcy?"

The Social Security system was bankrupt the first day of its existance, current tax receipts spent and "trust fund" issued IOU against future taxes.

Refer:

THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND FRAUD and

CRS Report for Congress (98-422 EPW)
Social Security: and the Federal Budget:

 

Markets are inherently unpredictable and volatile. At present, for example, all major stock-market indexes are still well below where they were five years ago.

And well ahead of Social Security returns in anycase.

If their investments in private accounts returned more than 3 percent annually over the years, they would end up better off than under the current formula. But if those investments did worse, they wouldn't make up for the portion of benefits that were given up, and the owner of an account would end up worse off.

Except for the fact the owner of the account would actually own something rather than wondering what the whim of Congress would be next in such a depressed economy that would guarantee even more trouble for SS tax receipts.

Bottomline, there are no guarantees in Social Security or accrued property rights at all today. Nothing to pass on to your heirs, nothing accrued to you benefit, just the whim of political fortune to bandaid a ponzai scheme from one Congress to the next. Both by statute and by court decision there is no gurantee in SS.

 

What Social Security Trust Fund

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Fleming v. Nestor (1960), 363 US 603; that there is no Constitutional right to Social Security benefits. Social Security benefits can legally be cut or eliminated at any time, and beneficiaries have no recourse. The Court held that, "To engraft upon the Social Security System a concept of 'accrued property rights' would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustments to ever changing conditions which it demands.

 

Personally, government should be out of the "Social Security" business altogether, if welfare is what is intended then strip the mask off and call it what it is.

Above all encourage people to build their future out of untaxed income and go to a pure consumption tax system that does not tax saving and investment leaving maximum empowerment of the individual to create his own future and estate.

39 posted on 02/23/2005 9:09:22 PM PST by ancient_geezer (Don't reform it, Replace it!!)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

40 posted on 02/23/2005 9:09:34 PM PST by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle (I feel more and more like a revolted Charlton Heston, witnessing ape society for the very first time)
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To: Calpernia

Nice Sephiroth you got there.


41 posted on 02/23/2005 9:11:00 PM PST by Future Snake Eater (The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
CAOHCAUSCB

UC Santa Barbara, huh? Looks like you burnt one too many brain cells, partying in Isla Vista.

42 posted on 02/23/2005 9:12:48 PM PST by socal_parrot (Inflate the life vest by pulling on the tabs or blow into the tube.)
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To: Future Snake Eater

Sephiroth?

Is that what my cartoon is called?

I young girl I use to tutor over the Net from a Yahoo Group gave it to me.


43 posted on 02/23/2005 9:14:23 PM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB

In 1960, the federal courts ruled Social Security is a legislated entitlement. The arrangement between the government and the taxpayers is not a contract, even thought the Dems have used this term. The courts gave the government maximum flexibility to change Social Security based on the situation at hand. At worst, for the young people, Congress can force them to pay and deprive them of any benefits when they become old.


44 posted on 02/23/2005 9:15:21 PM PST by Fee (Great powers never let minor allies dictate who, where and when they must fight.)
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
In five years, the Surplus in Social Security Maxes out at about 135 billion (taking in more than going out). That money is currently being spent by the government for other things and they are putting T bills in a Social Security location.

In 2018 the amount going in equals the amount going out. At that point the rest of government has 135 billion less than it had before.

After 2018, Social Security is going to make the rest of the government start to buy back all these T-bills, even further reducing the rest of government's disposable income. Then in 2042 the T-bills are gone.

So the train wreck really starts in 5 years. I do not see how the rest of the government is going to come up with the money starting in 5 years.
45 posted on 02/23/2005 9:16:09 PM PST by microgood (Washington State: Ukraine without the poison)
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To: Dan from Michigan

Good call, ump!


46 posted on 02/23/2005 9:16:15 PM PST by international american (Tagline now fireproof....purchased from "Conspiracy Guy Custom Taglines"LLC)
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To: rdl6989

I didn't read before I pinged. I was busy posting memorials:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1349893/posts


47 posted on 02/23/2005 9:16:47 PM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: ancient_geezer

A wonderful post. I bow before you, Sir Geezer.


48 posted on 02/23/2005 9:18:17 PM PST by John Valentine
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To: CAOHCAUCSB
Krauthammer has an excellent column on socical security this week. Check it out. Very important read.

Krauthammer (scroll down, on left)

49 posted on 02/23/2005 9:18:48 PM PST by BJungNan (B is da B, Jung is True. Nan is Man)
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To: rdl6989

50 posted on 02/23/2005 9:20:01 PM PST by BJungNan (B is da B, Jung is True. Nan is Man)
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