January 24, 2023 - 9:01 pm
Mark Twain’s famous statement, “There are lies, damn lies and statistics” was never more true than in Victor Joecks’ Friday commentary about Social Security. Mr. Joecks argued that Social Security must be reformed because of our national debt. He cherry picked his statistics when he notes that Social Security and Medicare account for 19 and 12 percent of all federal spending respectively. He failed to note that payroll taxes which pay for those programs bring in 32.5 percent of all federal revenue. The payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare have brought in more money than needed to fund retiree costs for decades.
Mr. Joecks tells us there are members of a “Republican Study Committee” who have answers. They propose raising the retirement age and cutting benefits for those under 54. The last time Republicans studied Social Security was in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan, when they increased payroll taxes by 33 percent and added two years to the retirement age, promising Americans those changes would fix Social Security. I don’t like the conclusions that Republicans draw from their “studies.”
Why don’t they study the effects that the Reagan, Bush and Trump tax cuts for the rich had on our nation’s debt and deficits instead of trying to put the burden on the working class? Republicans have been trying to kill off Social Security since its inception, and the nation’s debt is the political weapon they are using today.