Saturday, August 14, 2010

Social Security Deception

One of the few comforts and victories we the people can claim from the years of George W. Bush’s presidency was his admitted failure to privatize Social Security. It has long been the goal for the Radical Right and economic elites of the Republican Party to demolish public services and benefits provided by government. Fortunately most Americans want to keep such programs as Social Security and Medicare. People have an innate understanding of our Constitution’s intent to “promote the general welfare”.

However we’re facing increasing hostility from the Radical Right towards these programs, and the Democratic Party in general. I opened my email this morning to find another Radical Right internet propaganda virus.

The struggle for truth, justice, freedom and democracy would need to be waged before breakfast. Even my coffee would have to wait.

A buddy of mine forwarded me a message about Social Security authored by another Radical Right Wing operative. I swear the Republicans must be hiring an army of hacks to write these lies to pollute the nation’s email network with their propaganda. Well, count me as a member of the opposition army. I shall defend the truth and attack the campaign of deceit perpetrated by the American Fourth Reich Wingers.

Why do I call them Reich Wingers? For one thing, they are NOT conservative. The Amish are conservative. And it saves me from having to always type “Authoritarian Radical Right Wingers”. And I am NOT calling them Nazis. They were the Third Reich. Although the fascists of the Third Reich were defeated in World War II, Fascism still thrives.

Like the fascists of last century's Germany, Reich Wingers accuse their political adversaries of being Marxist/Commies and other mortal enemies of the state. Reich Wingers instigate and support unprovoked war. Reich Wingers believe in warrantless surveillance of citizens. Reich Wingers imprison without charges or access to counsel. Reich Wingers accuse black presidents of "hating white people". Reich Wingers say Obama was not born in the US and wants to destroy America. Reich Wingers inflame racism, anger and hatred for political opposition. Reich Wingers wear hoods and robes.

Reich Wingers are liars and deceivers. Reich Wingers coldly calculate how to make you hateful and angry towards their opponents.

Reich Wingers are also murderers. Jim David Adkisson slaughtered Unitarians in Knoxville, Scott Roeder murdered a doctor in Topeka, and Richard Poplawski gunned down policemen in Pittsburgh. They all killed innocent Americans out of anger and hatred fueled by the propagandists of the Radical Right. All of these killers listened to, read, and even credited the propagandists of Fox and talk radio.

American fascists are out to take power no matter what the tactics, no matter how dishonest, and no matter who gets hurt.

We see in this morning’s message the deliberate and dishonest incitement of anger at Democrats. I, for one, don’t need lies to make me angry with Democrats. The truth is enough sometimes. This goes beyond that. This is designed to make you want to vote for the party that wants to eliminate Social Security and other public programs.

It didn’t take long to find the truth that disproves the “myths” in the message.

Here is what I replied to the senders of the Social Security deceptions:

****
“Myths” is a polite term for Right Wing Propaganda. Truth is not on the side of the American Radical Right. Limbaugh (“Obama wants to destroy America.”) and Beck (“Obama is a racist who hates white people.”) are more than enough proof of this. But they have a lot of help in spreading disinformation to get people to vote for Republicans and the interests of the economic elite. If Obama and the Democrats are so bad, why do the Right Wingers need to LIE about them?

Please send this to anyone who received the following false (and Republican as usual) “seed of deceit” message of “what isn’t so”.

The truth is presented after the false message.
****
Your Social Security:
Just in case some of you young whippersnappers (& some older ones) didn't know this. It's easy to check out, if you don't believe it. Be sure and show it to your kids. They need a little history lesson on what's what and it doesn't matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Facts are Facts!!!
Social Security Cards up until the 1980s expressly stated the number and card were not to be used for identification purposes. Since nearly everyone in the United States now has a number, it became convenient to use it anyway and the message was removed.[9]

Our Social Security

Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social
Security (FICA) Program. He promised:

1.) That participation in the Program would be
Completely voluntary,

No longer Voluntary


2.) That the participants would only have to pay
1% of the first $1,400 of their annual
Incomes into the Program,

Now 7.65%
on the first $90,000


3.) That the money the participants elected to put
into the Program would be deductible from
their income for tax purposes each year,

No longer tax deductible


4.) That the money the participants put into the
independent 'Trust Fund' rather than into the
general operating fund, and therefore, would
only be used to fund the Social Security
Retirement Program, and no other
Government program, and,

Under Johnson the money was moved to
The General Fund and Spent


5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.

Under Clinton & Gore
Up to 85% of your Social Security can be Taxed

Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are
now receiving a Social Security check every month --
and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of
the money we paid to the Federal government to 'put
away' -- you may be interested in the following:

----

Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the
independent 'Trust Fund' and put it into the
general fund so that Congress could spend it?

A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the democratically
controlled House and Senate.

----

Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax
deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

A: The Democratic Party.

----

Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social
Security annuities?

A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the
'tie-breaking' deciding vote as President of the
Senate, while he was Vice President of the US

----

Q: Which Political Party decided to start
giving annuity payments to immigrants?

AND MY FAVORITE:

A: That's right!

Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party.
Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65,
began to receive Social Security payments! The
Democratic Party gave these payments to them,
even though they never paid a dime into it!

---

Then, after violating the original contract (FICA),
the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!
The worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it and believe that the Democrats are "for the people."

If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of
awareness will be planted and maybe changes will
evolve. Maybe not, some Democrats are awfully
sure of what isn't so.

But it's worth a try. How many people can YOU send this to?
****
This is what the Radical Right Wing deceivers do not want you to know: (Emphasis added)

From Social Security Online:

MYTHS AND MISINFORMATION ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY

Myths and misstatements of fact frequently circulate on the Internet, in email and on websites, and are repeated in endless loops of misinformation. One common set of such misinformation involves the history of the Social Security system.

One Common Form of the Myths:

"Franklin Roosevelt introduced the Social Security (FICA) program. He promised:

1) That participation in the program would be completely voluntary;

2) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the program;

3) That the money the participants elected to put into the program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year;

4) That the money the participants paid in would be put into the independent "Trust Fund," rather than into the General operating fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement program, and no other Government program.;

5) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income."

CORRECTING THE MYTHS AND MISSTATEMENTS

Myth 1: President Roosevelt promised that participation in the program would be completely voluntary.

Persons working in employment covered by Social Security are subject to the FICA payroll tax. Like all taxes, this has never been voluntary. From the first days of the program to the present, anyone working on a job covered by Social Security has been obligated to pay their payroll taxes.

In the early years of the program, however, only about half the jobs in the economy were covered by Social Security. Thus one could work in non-covered employment and not have to pay FICA taxes (and of course, one would not be eligible to collect a future Social Security benefit). In that indirect sense, participation in Social Security was voluntary. However, if a job was covered, or became covered by subsequent law, then if a person worked at that job, participation in Social Security was mandatory.

There have only been a handful of exceptions to this rule, generally involving persons working for state/local governments. Under certain conditions, employees of state/local governments have been able to voluntarily choose to have their employment covered or not covered.

Myth 2: President Roosevelt promised that the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the program.

The tax rate in the original 1935 law was 1% each on the employer and the employee, on the first $3,000 of earnings. This rate was increased on a regular schedule in four steps so that by 1949 the rate would be 3% each on the first $3,000. The figure was never $1,400, and the rate was never fixed for all time at 1%.

Myth 3: President Roosevelt promised that the money the participants elected to put into the program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year.

There was never any provision of law making the Social Security taxes paid by employees deductible for income tax purposes. In fact, the 1935 law expressly forbid this idea, in Section 803 of Title VIII.

Myth 4: President Roosevelt promised that the money the participants paid would be put into the independent "Trust Fund," rather than into the General operating fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement program, and no other Government program.

The idea here is basically correct. However, this statement is usually joined to a second statement to the effect that this principle was violated by subsequent Administrations. However, there has never been any change in the way the Social Security program is financed or the way that Social Security payroll taxes are used by the federal government.

The Social Security Trust Fund was created in 1939 as part of the Amendments enacted in that year. From its inception, the Trust Fund has always worked the same way. The Social Security Trust Fund has never been "put into the general fund of the government."

Most likely this myth comes from a confusion between the financing of the Social Security program and the way the Social Security Trust Fund is treated in federal budget accounting. Starting in 1969 (due to action by the Johnson Administration in 1968) the transactions to the Trust Fund were included in what is known as the "unified budget." This means that every function of the federal government is included in a single budget. This is sometimes described by saying that the Social Security Trust Funds are "on-budget." This budget treatment of the Social Security Trust Fund continued until 1990 when the Trust Funds were again taken "off-budget." This means only that they are shown as a separate account in the federal budget. But whether the Trust Funds are "on-budget" or "off-budget" is primarily a question of accounting practices--it has no affect on the actual operations of the Trust Fund itself.

Myth 5: President Roosevelt promised that the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.

Originally, Social Security benefits were not taxable income. This was not, however, a provision of the law, nor anything that President Roosevelt did or could have "promised." It was the result of a series of administrative rulings issued by the Treasury Department in the early years of the program. In 1983 Congress changed the law by specifically authorizing the taxation of Social Security benefits. This was part of the 1983 Amendments, and this law overrode the earlier administrative rulings from the Treasury Department.


From:

MYTHS AND MISINFORMATION ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY- Part 2

Myths and misstatements of fact frequently circulate on the Internet, in email and on websites, and are repeated in endless loops of misinformation. One common set of such misinformation involves a series of questions about the history of the Social Security system.

One Common Form of the Questions:

Q1: Which political party took Social Security from the independent trust fund and put it into the general fund so that Congress could spend it?

Q2: Which political party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

Q3: Which political party started taxing Social Security annuities?

Q4: Which political party increased the taxes on Social Security annuities?

Q5: Which political party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?

----

Q1. Which political party took Social Security from the independent trust fund and put it into the general fund so that Congress could spend it?

A1: There has never been any change in the way the Social Security program is financed or the way that Social Security payroll taxes are used by the federal government. The Social Security Trust Fund was created in 1939 as part of the Amendments enacted in that year. From its inception, the Trust Fund has always worked the same way. The Social Security Trust Fund has never been "put into the general fund of the government."

Most likely this question comes from a confusion between the financing of the Social Security program and the way the Social Security Trust Fund is treated in federal budget accounting. Starting in 1969 (due to action by the Johnson Administration in 1968) the transactions to the Trust Fund were included in what is known as the "unified budget." This means that every function of the federal government is included in a single budget. This is sometimes described by saying that the Social Security Trust Funds are "on-budget." This budget treatment of the Social Security Trust Fund continued until 1990 when the Trust Funds were again taken "off-budget." This means only that they are shown as a separate account in the federal budget. But whether the Trust Funds are "on-budget" or "off-budget" is primarily a question of accounting practices--it has no effect on the actual operations of the Trust Fund itself.

Q2: Which political party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

A2: There was never any provision of law making the Social Security taxes paid by employees deductible for income tax purposes. In fact, the 1935 law expressly forbid this idea, in Section 803 of Title VIII.

Q3. Which political party started taxing Social Security annuities?

A3. The taxation of Social Security began in 1984 following passage of a set of Amendments in 1983, which were signed into law by President Reagan in April 1983. These amendments passed the Congress in 1983 on an overwhelmingly bi-partisan vote.

The basic rule put in place was that up to 50% of Social Security benefits could be added to taxable income, if the taxpayer's total income exceeded certain thresholds.The taxation of benefits was a proposal which came from the Greenspan Commission appointed by President Reagan and chaired by Alan Greenspan (who went on to later become the Chairman of the Federal Reserve).

Q4. Which political party increased the taxes on Social Security annuities?

A4. In 1993, legislation was enacted which had the effect of increasing the tax put in place under the 1983 law. It raised from 50% to 85% the portion of Social Security benefits subject to taxation; but the increased percentage only applied to "higher income" beneficiaries. Beneficiaries of modest incomes might still be subject to the 50% rate, or to no taxation at all, depending on their overall taxable income.

This change in the tax rate was one provision in a massive Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) passed that year. The OBRA 1993 legislation was deadlocked in the Senate on a tie vote of 50-50 and Vice President Al Gore cast the deciding vote in favor of passage. President Clinton signed the bill into law on August 10, 1993.

Q5. Which political party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?

A5. Neither immigrants nor anyone else is able to collect Social Security benefits without someone paying Social Security payroll taxes into the system. The conditions under which Social Security benefits are payable, and to whom, can be found in the pamphlets available on our website.

The question confuses the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program with Social Security. SSI is a federal welfare program and no contributions, from immigrants or citizens or anyone else, is required for eligibility. Under certain conditions, immigrants can qualify for SSI benefits. The SSI program was an initiative of the Nixon Administration and was signed into law by President Nixon on October 30, 1972.

An explanation of the basics of Social Security, and the distinction between Social Security and SSI, can be found on the Social Security website.
-----

Other FAQs


Q: Is it true that life expectancy was less than 65 back in 1935, so the Social Security program was designed in such a way that people would not live long enough to collect benefits?

A: Not really. Life expectancy at birth was less than 65, but this is a misleading measure. A more appropriate measure is life expectancy after attainment of adulthood, which shows that most Americans could expect to live to age 65 once they survived childhood.

Q: When did Social Security cards bear the legend "NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION"?

A: The first Social Security cards were issued starting in 1936, they did not have this legend. Beginning with the sixth design version of the card, issued starting in 1946, SSA added a legend to the bottom of the card reading "FOR SOCIAL SECURITY PURPOSES -- NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION." This legend was removed as part of the design changes for the 18th version of the card, issued beginning in 1972. The legend has not been on any new cards issued since 1972.

Q: Did President Franklin Roosevelt make a set of promises about Social Security, which have now been violated?

A: This question generally refers to a set of misinformation that is propagated over the Internet (usually via email) from time to time.

Q: I have seen a set of questions and answers on the Internet concerning who started the taxing of Social Security benefits, and questions like that. Are the answers given correct?

A: There are many varieties of questions and answers of this form circulating on the Internet. One fairly widespread form of the questions is filled with misinformation.

***

For more on why Americans want Social Security, and would benefit by keeping Republicans out of power, see:

Social Security Keeps 20 Million Americans Out of Poverty:

Social Security benefits play a vital role in reducing poverty. Without Social Security, according to the latest available Census data (for 2008), 19.8 million more Americans would be poor. Although most of those kept out of poverty by Social Security are elderly, nearly a third are under age 65, including 1.1 million children...

20 comments:

an average patriot said...

Unbelievable Dave! The proposition is scary and the threat against social security more than real. Bush's entire Presidency was marked not only with war but by ending FDR's legacy.

Remember his drive to reduce unfunded liabilities i.e. social security, Medicaid, and Medicare? Can you imagine the crisis if he was allowed to let social security be privatized as Republicans want not?

When the full scope of this financial collapse is realized average Americans would be screwed and there would be a Revolution.

It is a frightening thought, discontinuing social security or even cutting social security, Medicaid, and Medicare. It is all millions have.

I remember Romney when stumping for McCain saying it should be discontinued and the countries big enemy was the Democrats and their effort to take care of the elderly and the needy.

Bush spent years cutting "unfunded liabilities" and trying to wipe out President Roosevelt's legacy. If the Republican's get back in they will do just that.

Dave Dubya said...

Jim,
More than just government public service is at peril. We're at the point where we are one more Republican president from fascism. The fact Obama let the entire Bush Administration's war, torture, and warrantless surveillance go without investigation only allows the next Republican to take us that much further into totalitarianism. Democrats forgot they are supposed to OPPOSE Republicans, not aid and abet them. No wonder nobody wants to vote for them anymore.

an average patriot said...

Yeah that too and you're right if they get back in we're fucked big time!

Tim said...

Holy crap!!! Dave incredible amount of work here. With your okay I have to save it. Reference and all.
Mother Jumper what a great post!!!

Dave Dubya said...

Tim,
Thanks, and by all means, help yourself. This is information to be shared.

And it really wasn't all that much work, compared to what I've put into Social Security that the Evil Empire wants to steal.

Anonymous said...

In the important field of security for our old people, it seems necessary to adopt three principles:

First, non-contributory old-age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance. It is, of course, clear that for perhaps thirty years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions.

Second, compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations.

Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age. It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.

It seems FDR is advocating the same thing Bush advocated. Seperate Annuities that pay you even more income on retirement.

I think the left wing radicals in response to the right wing radicals cant see past their own noses when they make stuff up about what the other side makes up.

Pretty soon everyones debating made up stuff about each other and no one knows the truth anymore.

One tea partier says SS should be abolished. Now suddenly everyone on the right say it should be abolished.

Nan said...

The Social Security misinformation must be the reich wing's round robin of the month -- it landed in my e-mail today. I was glad I'd seen your post yesterday -- I used some of the info you provide to do a "reply to all" (because of course the person who sent it to me had also sent it to several dozen other people) refuting the misinformation point by point.

Every time I do a reply-to-all ripping apart one my reich wing cousin's emails I hope it will inspire her to delete me from her contacts list, but no such luck yet.

Tom Harper said...

Damn, you sure do get a lot of these zany Reich Wing e-mails.

I like that idea of clicking on "Reply To All" when responding to one of trash pieces. I'm gonna have to try that. Come on, rightwads, send me an e-mail.

Weaseldog said...

Our economic woes are just getting started.

We are doing everything Argentina did.

And if this continues, one of the upcoming steps is to end social security. Then the bankers will steal the pensions, IRAs and 401ks.

The Tea Party folks will by learning what personal responsibility means, right after their retirement has been stolen out from under them. they'll learn to compete with younger and cheaper workers for crap jobs as unemployment keeps rising. And if at the age of 75, they can't bust a hump and unload three trucks a day and take orders in Spanish, they can become homeless.

After all that's what this personal responsibility mantra is leading to.

We've seen other nations do exactly what we are doing. It's a script. And getting conservatives to dismantle all government functions that serve the people, is a major step towards creating a government that only serves the interest of international bankers.

Our value as citizens will be determined by how much money we can make for Sheiks in Dubai. If the answer is 'not much', then you can expect that's how much consideration you'll get.

For more than ten years I've seen a parade of 'can't happen here' events, unfold before our eyes. The tea party/Republicans joyously welcomed every loss or freedom and every step into fascism. It was all good, until a Democrat started doing it.

When a Republican craps on the Constitution, the angels sing. When Obama does it, Hitler smiles.

Bush was a trailblazer. He made America comfortable with making it policy to have children beaten and raped in front of their parents as an approved form of torture. Who would've thought twelve years ago that this was 'Good and Wholesome', as Rush Limbaugh puts it? Now it is, it's normal boring, not a big deal.

Obama has been following Bush's path. He expanded the bailouts to include the insurance industry and got smacked for it. Because free money for rich people is Capitalism when a Republican does it but Socialism when a Democrat does it.

But otherwise he's just been a docile plodder. Keeping things in order for the Republican trailblazer to come.

And the next Republican will again change America into something we would not recognize today. If it comes to the point that Americans are being gunned down in the streets, you can bet that the Tea Party will be cheering! And if their IRA and 401ks are frozen for their protection, they'll support that move.

Dave Dubya said...

Anon,
"...FDR is advocating the same thing Bush advocated."

Yes, we need to keep a sharp eye out for that "made up stuff".

Here's the REAL FDR:

"...Out of this modern civilization, economic royalists [have] carved new dynasties.... It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction.... And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man...."

"These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power."

"Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power!"

"In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for." Franklin D. Roosevelt 1936

Nan,
I wonder if your cousin reads your responses. They typically choose to ignore what doesn't fit their indoctrination.

Tom,
And to borrow one more bit from FDR, "...I welcome their hatred."

Mauigirl said...

Beautiful response to the misinformation being peddled. It amazes me whenever my right-wing friend sends me stuff like this and I find out it is all lies. She believes every one of them and if I told her they were lies she'd say I get my information from untrustworthy liberal sources.

Dave Dubya said...

Wease,
Yes we can thank the Bush regime and its followers and apologists for making it fashionable and patriotic for Americans to hate. Look at all the "Patriots" spewing their republican endorsed anger and ignorance at Liberals, progressives, Democrats,(new interchangeable words for Marxist/Commie America haters) and Muslims.(new interchangeable word for terrorists) Anyone not goose-stepping in their American Fourth Reich hate parade is now the equivalent of a Jew in 1930's Germany. The fascism seething now will burst wide open when the next republican president, fairly elected or not, takes over.

Dave Dubya said...

Mauigirl,
Yes, that is exactly like cult members' indoctrination. It would require de-programming for many Americans to be open to anything outside their authoritarian leaders' control.

libhom said...

It's good that you are debunking the myths being put forth by the rightists.

Yet, that isn't enough. We need to fight Obama's Cat Food Commission which is trying to put the right's agenda on Social Security and other government programs into action.

Dave Dubya said...

libhom,
Yes, this is important. Obama created a "bipartisan", although with dems like Kent Conrad and Max Baucus this is almost totally right wing, National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, AKA Catfood Commission to gut social programs.

There's a petition against that agenda at AlterNet: http://www.change.org/alternet/petitions/view/tell_congress_stop_the_catfood_commission?=partner59

Kulkuri said...

Interesting, they started taxing Social Security about the same time they started taxing Unemployment Insurance checks. Another way to screw the little guy!!

Dave Dubya said...

Kulkuri,
And we "little guys" ain't seen nothin yet!

The economic elite and their Republican Party want nothing short of neo-feudalism, where they are the lords and the rest of us are serfs.

S.W. Anderson said...

"Like the fascists of last century's Germany, Reich Wingers accuse their political adversaries of being Marxist/Commies and other mortal enemies of the state."

Ironically, although the Reich Wingers, as you call them, won't admit it, Franklin Roosevelt undoubtedly prevented a serious, longterm growth of communism in America. A whole lot of scared, disgusted people started showing up at communist meetings and turning out for demonstrations during the Depression.They ranged from college age to old age, and some joined the party and stayed on until the postwar McCarthy period.

Had Republicans gotten their way in the 1930s, which was to let time and the invisible hand of the market work their "magic," we just might have had a revolt, maybe even a revolution.

Jolly Roger said...

The elites will not be satisfied until they have it all.

I feel the ill wind heading towards them, but their greed leaves them unable to feel it themselves. Stockman is exactly right; unless things change, people will be hanging from lampposts on Wall Street.

Dave Dubya said...

SW,
Or maybe, had Republicans gotten their way in the 1930s, we would've ended up with the fascists taking us to war with Russia as Germany's ally.

The struggle against fascism will continue as long as a quarter of humanity has authoritarian personalities.

JR,
Something tells me the elites won't be saisfied even when they have it all. This is why I say the economic elite and their Republican Party want nothing short of neo-feudalism, where they are the lords and the rest of us are serfs.