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Fixing Social Security


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If fixing Social Security is "easy" as Senator McCain commented at last night's debate, then why is it broken? :rolleyes:

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...why is it broken? :rolleyes:

Because that's the way politics works.

I'm a retirement actuary. Nothing about my comments is intended or should be construed as investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Occasionally, but not all the time, it might be reasonable to interpret my comments as actuarial or consulting advice.

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Fixing it may be easy, but agreeing on HOW to fix it is not.

You can write a best seller on this one alone. When looking at the system of interrelated parts that will be affected by a simple change strategy or direction, there is always a tendency to communicate 'hot buttons' or 'talking points' that always fail to account for every single part of the system. This, applied over a population of more than one, will certainly lead to disgreements on HOW it should be fixed. One thing is certain, the need to fix it is more evident now than ever. Time to put the politics aside and MOVE ON; a feat that will prove more complex than fixing Social Security.

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Does anyone really know how the"system" really works ?

I hear true and false aboout IOU's.

I hear that the money was and was not borrowed.

What is the real status ?

George D. Burns

Cost Reduction Strategies

Burns and Associates, Inc

www.costreductionstrategies.com(under construction)

www.employeebenefitsstrategies.com(under construction)

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Of course it was borrowed. Every (!) SS surplus has been borrowed by Congress, with no real plan to repay it.

BTW, when the 42nd president said "the budget deficit is zero", he was ignoring the borrowed SS surplus that was used to "balance" the budget.

If "pro" is the opposite of "con", then what is the opposite of Progress?

I'm a retirement actuary. Nothing about my comments is intended or should be construed as investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Occasionally, but not all the time, it might be reasonable to interpret my comments as actuarial or consulting advice.

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Of course it was borrowed. Every (!) SS surplus has been borrowed by Congress, with no real plan to repay it.

In case anyone doesn't know what that means in dollar terms...I happen to have actual fiscal 2003 numbers on my desk:

"the deficit" as reported was $375 billion. But there was an off-budget surplus, mostly from SS, of $161 billion. That means that the on-budget deficit was $536 billion. That means that for regular operations of the federal government, it spent $536 billion more than it took in.

It's unfortunate that these numbers are kind of difficult to find, and unfortunate that the press doesn't report them when the government issues its statements about the deficit.

BTW, when the 42nd president said "the budget deficit is zero", he was ignoring the borrowed SS surplus that was used to "balance" the budget.

I'm not quite sure why you would zero in on that. There were surpluses, even to the point that the operating budget was balanced or at least close to it.

Ed Snyder

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