Because I used to vote Democratic, I still receive mail from the DNC. Today's over-the-top message is about Social Security reform, and how "George W. Bush and his Republican cronies" (don'cha just love that word cronies - doesn't it just convey that smarmy note of back-room deals?) will destroy that hallowed American tradition - "guaranteed" benefits.

From the official Social Security website
Your Social Security Statement is a concise, easy-to-read personal record of the earnings on which you have paid Social Security taxes during your working years and a summary of the estimated benefits you and your family may receive as a result of those earnings.

Yeah, notice that word "may" - they're not guaranteeing a thing. Worse, since I started working, they've come up with the Windfall Elimination Provision, which, as a teacher, affects me. I've read nearly every page on the SS site, and, for the life of me, I can't figure out what I'm going to make, if anything.

The State Teachers Retirement System benefit calculator is better, but only marginally. However, they're both making some unreasonable assumptions:
  • The amount coming in will not change
  • The number of workers supporting the retiree will stay constant, or even increase
  • There won't be any more changes to the Medicare/health system, such as a reduction in benefits, or a rise in co-pay

One of the scare tactics that the Democrats are using:
Fact: The Bush Plan Would Add Trillions to Our National Debt - by forcing the federal government to borrow $ 4.5 trillion from foreign nations to pay for it.

Maybe I'm just not that bright (No comments, please), but I can't find that reference. According to the Democrats website, it's a rebuttal to the State of the Union address - but I checked that address, and I can't find what they're talking about.

I also looked for another "fact" the Dems talk about:
Fact: The Bush Plan Would Cut Guaranteed Benefits - by slashing seniors' entitlements by up to 40 % to help cover the costs of privatization.

What Bush did say is:
Fixing Social Security permanently will require an open, candid review of the options. Some have suggested limiting benefits for wealthy retirees. Former Congressman Tim Penny has raised the possibility of indexing benefits to prices rather than wages. During the 1990s, my predecessor, President Clinton, spoke of increasing the retirement age. Former Senator John Breaux suggested discouraging early collection of Social Security benefits. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended changing the way benefits are calculated. All these ideas are on the table.

Could that be what they're talking about? Even that wouldn't affect seniors or those nearing retirement. Bush was real clear about that:
We must guarantee there is no change for those now retired or nearing retirement. And we must take care that any changes in the system are gradual, so younger workers have years to prepare and plan for their future.

Well, it's a fair bet that I won't be signing the Democrats' petition, or sending them any money.


"Cronies" is bad, but watch out for "ilk." If you ever overhear anyone speaking of "your ilk," either kill him at once, or shave your head and move into a cave. There's no salvation once you've been relegated to an "ilk."
Norma said…
I receive state teachers' retirement, and you are certainly correct that there is no SS for us. Nor will I receive a spouse's benefit.

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