At a recent town hall meeting on Tybee Island, Congressman Jack Kingston made the case for the Bush administration proposal for reforming Social Security.
He gave a polished presentation complete with Power Point slides. He then took questions from the floor and even stayed past the allotted time to continue the discussion.
However, a little research shows that some of Kingstons claims are misleading. The most outrageous claim is that if the government doesnt borrow $950 billion now to implement the private accounts program, it will cost an additional $600 billion each year we wait.
Evidence shows that Social Security is in much better condition than Kingston is claiming. A recent Congressional Budget Office report says the Social Security system will be able to pay full benefits until 2052, and 80 percent after that.
Social Security trustees recently put the date at 2041. Either way, that is a long time.
An article in the March/April issue of the AARP magazine states ...Social Security is in better shape today than at any other time since it was enacted in 1935. Thats because of some judicious adjustments suggested in 1983 by a commission set up by Ronald Reagan and headed up by Alan Greenspan. Since then, trust fund reserves have gone from nearly zero to $1.6 trillion.
So why this need for a major overhaul of the system? The Social Security program has had many minor adjustments through the years, which have left it in sound financial shape today.
In spite of this, the Bush administration is proposing radical changes that would effectively dismantle one of the most popular and successful government programs in the history of this country. The proposed private accounts would be financed by heaping more debt on future generations, cutting benefits for retirees, and increasing payroll taxes.
All this so that people can put their money in risky investments.
The Congressional Budget Office has released a study showing that Americans can expect higher benefits from Social Security as it stands than from a privatized system.
SCHIAVO CASE SHOWS HYPOCRISY OF CONGRESS
Congress sanctions actions that unjustifiably kill one or two hundred thousand Iraqis (but whos counting, really), lowers pollution standards and reduces accessibility to healthcare, while abusing a brain-dead, tortured woman to demonstrate their reverence for life.
I dont know if starvation is a torturous affair, but most certainly our governments sending of prisoners to foreign prisons to be questioned is.
Hypocrisy has never been so well-defined. The worst evil is evil done under the guise of righteousness. They are using her tormented body and soul as their political football.
Congress is now the protectorate only of the brain-dead, the unborn and the wealthy. But then, maybe I am being too harsh and judgmental of Congress, and should assume the best intentions.
Maybe what Im seeing is simply one brain-dead body empathizing with another.
A side note: it is ironic and tragic that bulimia contributed to Terri Schiavos current condition and Congress wont let her stop eating.
BE AN ORGAN DONOR
How do you feel about organ and tissue donation? Chances are you think its a natural, appropriate and giving thing to do and have no real objections to the idea. If so, youre one of the nine out of 10 Americans who supports organ and tissue donation. But are you also part of the 66 percent who dont know how to commit to organ, eye or tissue donation?
This spring is the perfect time to learn those steps. Thats because April is National Donate Life Month four weeks when donation and transplantation professionals increase their yearlong efforts to educate the public and fellow professionals about the critical shortage of donated organs and tissues.
The steps are simple. Obtain the facts about donation, make a decision, and tell your family members of that decision. One could also choose to designate organ donor on a driver license, or carry a donor card.
LifeLink can provide you the information to make an informed decision. Call 800-544-6667 to learn how you might donate life.
Dennis F. Heinrichs