King Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon,
In that very same hour, as the words
were in Nebuchadnezzar s mouth, he was smitten with madness,
and driven out from the presence of men where he dwelt amoung the
beasts of the earth, and ate grass.
It seems it is the nature of mankind
to tempt God with his pride and arrogance. When we boast ourselves
against God, we are certain to face doom. The wicked shall be
turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
Everyone is in a quandry today
wondering where our nation is headed. We seek for justice, but behold,
inequity. We seek for light, but behold, darkness! We hope for economic
recovery, but behold, emptiness, desolation and doom! & our hands
wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in
travail. Jer. 6:24. All this because we will not hear nor give heed to
the words of wisdom!
Facing Looming Social Security Crisis
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
agonizes over health care, an even more daunting and dangerous
challenge is bearing down: how to shore up Social Security to keep it
from burying the nation ever deeper in debt.
What to do
about mushrooming government payments as millions of baby boomers
retire? How about a giant federal Ponzi scheme? That might work for a
That's pretty much the current system. Social Security takes
contributions from today's workers and uses them to pay the old-age
benefits that were promised to retirees. But there are serious concerns
how long that can last.
Barack Obama has said he'll tackle Social Security and related
"entitlement" programs when the health care overhaul is resolved. But
the anger and intensity of that debate could complicate his
health care could make it harder, if not impossible, for Obama to
successfully tackle overhauling Social Security, Medicare and
health care debate is "a bad omen for any change in social policy,"
said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University who's also
a former Senate aide.
"People seem to
be very fearful of tampering with what already exists. It may be a
simple reaction to the uncertainty that's been introduced into people's
lives by the recession," Baker said. Still, he said, if not Obama,
"some unfortunate president down the road is going to have to deal with
it when the crisis strikes."
calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme think of the huge frauds that
sent billionaires Bernard Madoff and R. Allen Stanford to prison may be
a bit of a stretch, there is one clear similarity.
As in a Ponzi
scheme, the concept works fine at first. So long as there are more new
"investors" pumping money into the system to pay off the earlier ones,
everyone is happy. But at some point not enough new money is coming in
and the scheme collapses.
"We had a
remarkable 25-year run in terms of the economy. We had this wonderful
demographic holiday where the baby boomers were moving through their
main earning years," said William Gale, co-director of the nonpartisan
Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the
economy's in tatters, the boomers are ready to retire, the world is
sick of our debt. The problems are much bigger," said
boomers working, Social Security the biggest social spending program
has produced a surplus that has helped finance the rest of the
government for the past quarter century. But that will change within a
Trustees of the
system recently said that in 2016 a year earlier than previously
forecast money paid out in benefits will start exceeding the tax
dollars flowing in. With no changes, Social Security will be completely
depleted in 2037, the trustees said.
government health care that now covers 45 million elderly and disabled
people is in even worse shape. It's been paying out more than it takes
in since last year and is projected to go insolvent in
economists argue that such doomsday calculations ignore a growing
propensity of older Americans to work beyond traditional retirement
age, the day of reckoning is fast approaching under any
Security, Medicare-Medicaid, defense spending and interest on the
national debt now account for 75 percent of all federal spending.
They're on track to one day gobble up the entire budget.
everything goes just right for the administration the economy recovers,
new jobs sprout, housing markets rebound and Congress passes some
variation of Obama's health care proposals without sending deficits
soaring further the federal government will still find itself in a
deepening debt hole.
and economists are hard-pressed to find a way to dig out short of major
tax increases on middle-class and wealthy taxpayers, draconian benefit
cuts or an unthinkable default on paying interest on the national
said Wednesday the federal deficit reached $1.27 trillion for the first
ten months of the budget year, and it's expected to climb to a record
high of $1.8 trillion for the full 12 months. Budget years run from
Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
debt the grand total of accumulated annual deficits is now $11.8
trillion, so high that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner asked
Congress last week to raise the legal limit above the current $12.1
trillion, a ceiling Geithner said could be reached as early as
allow more borrowing "so that citizens and investors here and around
the world can remain confident that the United States will always meet
its obligations," Geithner wrote lawmakers.
officials say the annual deficit was already heading above $1 trillion
when Obama took office.
And the long
recession has added significantly to the government's debt. Revenues
are down at the same time the government is spending hundreds of
billions for business bailouts, economic stimulus and two
reduces the revenue base in a permanent way in the sense that even as
you recover, you're now starting from a much lower space. So the
recession increases not just the short-term deficit, but the long-term
deficit," said Rob Shapiro, a former economic adviser to President Bill
Clinton and now with NDN, a centrist think tank formerly known as the
New Democratic Network. Or, as Obama said recently,
"We have a steep mountain to climb, and we started in a very deep
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