Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sid Salter: Whistling Through the Graveyard

Both here in Mississippi and nationally, congressional candidates are making no mention of the serious challenges faced by the present iterations of the Social Security and Medicare programs. Baby Boomers poised to collect the entitlements are decidedly not ignoring the issues, but are nervously reading disturbing warnings that fiscal danger looms.

 The Social Security and Medicare Trustees released their annual report earlier this month and documented the fiscal realities of the two programs. The latest projections show that Medicare Hospital Trust Fund (Part A of Medicare) will be depleted in 2026, three years earlier than projected last year.

At the point, trustees project that Medicare could continue to pay out 91 percent of current benefits in 2026, then see that decline to 78 percent in 2039, then rebound to 85 percent in 2092. Bottom line, less Medicare benefits to cover skyrocketing healthcare costs.

Social Security Disability insurance is projected to experience similar difficulties in 2032, which the Social Security retirement program is projected to be impacted in 2034 – that is to say that the Social Security Trust Fund will deplete its reserves by 2034.

What does that mean? It means that Social Security will in 2034 not be able to pay beneficiaries in full and that beneficiaries will face a 21 percent across the board benefit reduction from numbers shown on the annual benefits projections from the Social Security Administration.

 Those facts matter only to voters who have plans to actually receive Social Security and Medicare benefits from the same federal government who deducted taxes supposedly dedicated from their paychecks expressly for the purpose of funding the programs.

What retirees and Baby Boomers really have in terms of that “nest egg” they thought they had in Social Security and Medicare when FICA was being deducted from their payroll checks is in reality a pile of congressional IOUs in a U.S. Treasury Department Bureau of the Public Debt’s filing cabinet in Parkersburg, W. Va. The bonds aren’t backed by the cash we gave the government from our payroll deductions.

They are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the federal government. But Congress long ago spent the actual assets to fund other government functions and to redeem the bonds, the government would now have to borrow money or raise taxes.

Conservative Republican former Social Security and Medicare public trustee Charles Blahous recently wrote: “What’s really important is the magnitude of the (Social Security and Medicare) shortfalls and the difficulty of correcting them, which grows each year. Whether depletion is distant or near, the problem had to be confronted sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, later has come sooner than the trustees thought it would.”

Democratic former chief economist to former Vice President Joe Biden took this posture on the entitlement programs: “What is the way forward? Surely, the sooner we tackle these shortfalls, the better. Wouldn’t it be awesome to avoid yet another one of those fiscal cliffs that we know is coming but are too dysfunctional to address until the last minute, when we kludge together some patch?”

The bottom line is that Social Security and Medicare as we know it today is on borrowed time. “Saving” the programs – and even that concept is a stretch in the current fiscal and political climate in this country – will require additional government revenues and austerity measures both in terms of healthcare costs and in program eligibility.
In other words, the entitlements have to be reformed at the same time that new revenues are found to shore up the shortfalls. And yet, while cruising through congressional elections, voters aren’t having conversations with the candidates about these two vital issues – and that fact is a true electoral mystery.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at sidsalter@sidsalter.com


Anonymous said...

Sid Salter is a ultra conservative Republican. Social Security's problems will be worked out. Salter is a highly overpaid MSU employee who does nothing to earn his pay but write a few stupid press releases.

Anonymous said...

I stopped at 'iterations' and refuse to read Sid's sentences that contain thirty or more words. How did he develop this nauseous habit?

Anonymous said...

Trump is fixing this problem. Every move he is making foreign and domestic will bolster the tax base and get more people pulling the wagon than riding on it. Welfare recipients are now at the number they were 10 years ago, and corporations are incentivised to HQ at home rather than abroad. Billions to the tax base and there is more to come. Heard him the other day explaining how we built the interstate highway system out of cash flow, No Debt. The more I hear him talk the more I like the way he thinks.

Anonymous said...

Sid Salter is a ultra conservative Republican.

Your commenting privileges should be immediately revoked.

Anonymous said...

7:59 am Social Security Disability used to be Aid to the Aged and Disabled.

If we stopped using the money paid into SS by working people to pretend that those who haven't worked enough quarters aren't welfare recipients, Social Security would still be flush.

And, how come the projections for Social Security are so dismal if the economy and employment projections are so good? There should already be more revenues coming in ,right?

And, uh, you might bother to found out from whence " the cash flow" came for the Interstate highways. Hint: it was a tax that could only go into building the system so it was fully funded in advance and doled out to States accordingly. It's what a funding bill should be...not "pie in the sky".

Please, learn how things worked when they worked so you won't be so easily misled.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS