"Our Country!
In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right;
but right or wrong, our country!"

    --Commodore Stephen Decatur

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Social Security Solvency Shocker!

Surprise!  The New York Times reports that the Social Security Administration will pay out more benefits than it collects in payroll taxes this year, "an important threshold it was not expected to cross until at least 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office."  This doesn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence in those CBO scores that we kept hearing so much about during the health care debates.

Of course, nowhere does the article mention President Bush, who in his 2004 re-election campaign vowed to reform Social Security.  Despite gaining seats for his party in a re-election year for the first time in 80 years, Bush could not deliver on his promise of reform.  The political price of touching the so-called "third rail of American politics" is as lethal as it ever was--especially if you're a Republican.  At the time, the New York Times was singing a different tune:

Saying the retirement program is headed for "bankruptcy," a term his opponents say is an exaggeration, Mr. Bush edged tentatively - but for the first time explicitly - into the most politically explosive aspect of the debate over how to assure Social Security's long-term health: the benefit cuts or tax increases needed to balance the system's books as the baby boom generation ages and life expectancy increases.

In today's article, the Times states as a matter of fact that Social Security is on, "a long, slow march to insolvency," which is more or less the same as the prediction of bankruptcy which was placed in scare quotes and derided as an exaggeration only a few years ago.  The Times also does not mention that the Democrats just enacted a massive new entitlement program which will only compound the problem.  It's enough to make one wonder if the New York Times is playing favorites.

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