Social Security should be neither cut nor privatized

BRATTLEBORO — President Obama, congratulations on your victory!

Since the 2009 depths of financial crisis devastation, your stimulus programs have produced modest-but-steady U.S. job growth, while Eurozone-adopted austerity-only measures - foolishly favored by many U.S. Conservatives - have faltered. Please keep it up!

Furthermore, would you please ignore the foolish, false, self-interested recommendations by banking interests to the effect that Social Security should be cut or privatized? It should be neither of those things.

Not only does Social Security provide an indispensable and irreplaceable living for so many of us who cannot work, it is also a form of stimulus since the program provides only for minimal needs and invariably is all spent each month.

As you know, the Social Security Trust Fund contains a $2.7 trillion surplus now, and an annual surplus - $95 billion in 2011 - continues to flow in.

This trend is in no danger of discontinuing any time soon, though there are projections that Social Security as now configured could go into annual (but not total) deficit in a few decades. This is normal, predictable behavior for a large trust and requires only modest adjustment, which we have plenty of time to do.

My recommendation for this adjustment is to merely increase the Social Security wage base (“base”) that is taxed to support the program. The base in 2010 was $106,800, a very low number, as millions of people in the U.S. earn much more than that and a large percentage of them will actually need to draw on Social Security in the predictable future events of old age or disability.

An increase in the base to $150,000 or a similar reasonable amount, and further increases to adjust for inflation in the future, should be more than enough to offset the demographic trends that could otherwise turn the Social Security annual collections to deficit decades from now.

As you well know, the banking industry conducts itself according to a very short term, near-quarter perspective that is inimical to appropriate long-term state or national governing and has yielded disastrous results for itself and the rest of the nation in the very recent past.

Furthermore, this industry disregards the greater needs of the nation.

I personally don't know why they are not embarrassed at their own behavior, but I leave it to you as to how to handle their unreasonable and potentially harmful demands for access to our needed Social Security funds, which must, by their nature, remain safe from the risks to which the greedy, heartless, unpatriotic bankers would expose them under a privatized regime.

Thank you for your attention and service.

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