Another proposal to “misappropriate” our social security (retirement) dollars

You are likely not surprised that there’s another proposal to “raid” the Social Security pot.  But you may be surprised to learn about the latest proposal.

First, some background information.  When the typical American hears the phrase “Social Security,” he/she thinks about retirement.  But there is another component of the Social Security program:  disability.

As reported in today’s Wall Street Journal (an article entitled “Stress Rises on Social Security: Report Says Program Will Exhaust Reserves Three Years Earlier Than Expected” by Damian Paletta), the disability trust fund, originally projected  to be exhausted of funds by 2018, is now projected to be exhausted of funds by 2016.  Once those funds are exhausted, benefits would be cut by 25% [that doesn’t make sense to me if the funds are exhausted].

Below are quotes from the article.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the Obama administration would seek to work with Congress to come up with a long-term solution to repair the solvency of the disability trust fund but didn’t offer specifics.

. . .

The Social Security disability program and the Medicare program that covers hospital care are already paying more in benefits than they collect through tax revenue.

They make up the difference by drawing down trust funds built over many years when they collected more than they spent.  The Social Security retirement system still collects more than it spends.

. . .

In recent years, the Social Security disability rolls have soared, as many Americans with mental and physical health problems sought to enter the program and others with less severe issues applied because of a scarcity of work.

. . .

Mr. Astrue, [the Social Security Administration Commissioner and] a Republican, urged Congress to address the funding shortfalls but said in the interim lawmakers could consider redirecting some of the money meant for the retiree program to the disability fund.

What?!!!  I don’t think so.

The “fix” for the Social Security Disability Trust Fund is not to raid the Social Security Retirement Trust Fund.

The WSJ had a series of articles last year about the Social Security Disability program.  There are problems on many fronts.  One huge problem is the disability fund is now considered by too many as unemployment compensation.

Do you recall former President George W. Bush advocating for allowing individuals to take at least a portion of the Social Security retirement tax dollars to invest themselves?  Many people were opposed to the idea including me.  Now, I’m reconsidering this proposal.

Give me my social security retirement tax dollars so I can invest myself.  I want my retirement dollars available for me when I retire (presuming I live long enough to reach that magical retirement age.  And if I don’t, then my heirs will inherit my retirement money).

America is facing a host of fiscal issues.  Redirecting retirement benefits to shore up the disability benefits is a recipe for disaster.  Fix the disability program.  Congress, keep your paws off our retirement benefits!!


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