Robert Samuelson Shows that the Post Has no Fact Checkers on Its Opinion Pages
Social Security and Medicare are hugely important for the security of the non-rich population of the United States. For this reason, Robert Samuelson and the Washington Post hate them.
As we know, this is a question of basic political philosophy. In the view of Samuelson and the Post, a dollar that it is in the pocket of low or middle class people is a dollar that could be in the pocket of the rich. And Medicare and Social Security are keeping many dollars in the pockets of low and middle class people.
Today’s column by Robert Samuelson tries to tell us that Franklin Roosevelt would be appalled by the current state of the Social Security program. Of course, he produces not a single iota of evidence to support this position, although it is very clear that Samuelson doesn’t like Social Security.
Samuelson begins by telling us that:
“It [Social Security] has become what was then called ‘the dole’ and is now known as ‘welfare.’ This forgotten history clarifies why America’s budget problems are so intractable.”
He later adds:
“Millions of Americans believe (falsely) that their payroll taxes have been segregated to pay for their benefits and that, therefore, they ‘earned’ these benefits. To reduce them would be to take something that is rightfully theirs.”
Of course Samuelson is 100 percent wrong here. Payroll taxes have been segregated. That is the point of the Social Security trust fund and the Social Security trustees report. These institutions would make no sense if the funds were not segregated.
Samuelson is welcome to not like the way in which the funds were segregated, in the same way that I don’t like the Yankees, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Yankees have a very good baseball team. Since its beginnings, the government has maintained a separate Social Security account. Under the law, no money can be paid out in Social Security benefits unless the Trust Fund has the money to pay for them.
In this sense, the funds are absolutely segregated. Samuelson doesn’t like this, but why should any of the rest of us care? The rest of the piece shows the same dishonesty and lack of respect for facts.
Samuelson later tells readers:
“But now, demographics are unfriendly. In 1960, there were five workers per recipient; today, there are three, and by 2025 the ratio will approach two. Roosevelt’s fear has materialized. Paying all benefits requires higher taxes, cuts in other programs or large deficits.”
Okay, let’s think about this for a minute. We went from five workers per retiree in the 1960s to roughly three workers for each retiree in the 90s. This ratio is projected to fall to roughly two workers per retiree by 2030 (not 2025, as readers of the Trustees report know).
On average we were much richer in the 90s than in the sixties, in spite of the fall in the ratio of workers to retirees. The same will be true in 2030, even assuming that we see the projected decline in the ratio of workers to retirees.
A small fact that Samuelson never mentions in this piece is that the Congressional Budget Office projects the program to be fully funded through 2038, with no changes whatsoever (i.e. no new taxes, contra Samuelson). If we want to make the program fully solvent for the rest of the century, a tax increase that is equal to 5 percent of projected wage growth over the next three decades should be roughly sufficient to do the trick. Are you scared yet?
There is an issue that most workers have not shared in the economy’s growth over the last three decades. This is indeed a problem. If recent trends in inequality persist then any increase in Social Security taxes will be a burden, but the problem here are the policies that have brought about this upward redistribution of income, not Social Security.
Then Samuelson gives us his coup de grace:
“Although new recipients have paid payroll taxes higher and longer than their predecessors, their benefits still exceed taxes paid even assuming (again, fictitiously) that they had been invested. A two-earner couple with average wages retiring in 2010 would receive lifetime Social Security and Medicare benefits worth $906,000 compared with taxes of $704,000, estimate Steuerle and Rennane.”
Okay, this is a really nice trick. Remember we were talking about Social Security? Note that Samuelson refers to “lifetime Social Security and Medicare benefits.” It wasn’t an accident that he brought Medicare into this discussion. That is because Steuerle and Rennane’s calculations show that this average earning couple would get back less in Social Security benefits than what they paid in taxes. That would not fit well with Samuelson’s story, so he brings in Medicare (remember this is the Washington Post).
And, the high cost of Medicare benefits is not due to their great generosity. The high cost is due to the fact that we pay our doctors, our drug companies, and our medical equipment suppliers way more than do people in any other country, and we have no better outcomes. If our per person costs for health care were comparable to costs in Germany, Canada, the UK or any other wealthy country, then workers would be paying far more for their Medicare benefits than the cost of what they are getting in care.
The story here is that Samuelson wants to punish ordinary workers for the fact that we pay doctors and the other big winners in this story too much. That may not make sense, but they don’t call this paper “Fox on 15th Street” for nothing.
- Heaven Mourns Every Day the Washington Post Liquidation Is Delayed… (delong.typepad.com)
- Stan Collender Thinks Robert Samuelson Is a Reason the Washington Post Should Shut Its Doors Immediately (delong.typepad.com)
April 10, 2012 - Posted by aletho | Deception, Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Supremacism, Social Darwinism | Dean Baker, Medicare, Robert J. Samuelson, Social Security, United States, Washington Post
No comments yet.
or go to
From the Archives
The “Policy Wonks” Behind Covert Warfare & Humanitarian Fascism
By Kieth Harmon Snow | Conscious Being Alliance | August 13, 2012
From the 1980s to today, an elite group of Western intelligence operatives have backed low-intensity guerrilla warfare in certain African ‘hotspots’. Mass atrocities in the Great Lakes and Sudan can be linked to Roger Winter, a pivotal U.S. operative whose ‘team’ was recently applauded for birthing the world’s newest nation, South Sudan. Behind the fairytale we find a long trail of blood and skeletons from Uganda to Sudan, Rwanda and Congo. While the mass media has covered their tracks, their misplaced moralism has simultaneously helped birth a new left-liberal ‘humanitarian’ fascism. In this falsification of consciousness, Western human rights crusaders and organizations, funded by governments, multinational corporations and private donors, cheer the killers and blame the victims—and pat themselves on the back for saving Africa from itself. Meanwhile, the “Arab Spring” has spread to (north) Sudan. Following the NATO-Israeli model of regime change being used in Central & North Africa, it won’t be long before the fall of Khartoum. … continue
Aletho News Original Content
By Aletho News | January 9, 2012
This article will examine some of the connections between the US and UK National Security apparatus and the appearance of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory beginning after the accident at Three Mile Island. … continue
Also by Aletho News:
March 8, 2011
February 25, 2010
February 7, 2010
December 26, 2009
December 4, 2009
May 9, 2009
Visits Since December 2009
- 2,865,054 hits
Follow Aletho News on TwitterMy Tweets
Greg M on Left degeneracy plumbs new… firstname.lastname@example.org… on Accused ETA Militant Extradite… Brian Harry, Austral… on US-Israel settlement negotiati… Brian Harry, Austral… on New Israeli settlement project… Kriegspropaganda in… on Israelis can tell the whole st… Wallflower on Why Israel is ‘Deeply In… email@example.com… on David Rockefeller & a dark… Wallflower on Why Israel is ‘Deeply In… Brian Harry, Austral… on How the CIA Plants News Storie… Brian Harry, Austral… on Trump Envoy Asks Israel to Hal… traducteur on Israeli forces raid Tulkarem p… Brian Harry, Austral… on What Exactly Was Bin Laden’s R… rediscover911com on Dual US-Israeli citizen arrest… 5 dancing shlomos on Russia Ready to Discuss Nuclea… NobodysaysBOO on Israel’s propagandists shoot t…
- US charges Lebanese businessman with evading sanctions March 25, 2017
- Accused ETA Militant Extradited to Spain Despite Torture Claims March 25, 2017
- The Obama Plot to Sabotage Trump March 24, 2017
- Left degeneracy plumbs new depths March 24, 2017
- US-Israel settlement negotiations stall March 24, 2017
- New Israeli settlement projects planned in Jordan Valley March 24, 2017
- Two UK universities cancel speeches by author of UN anti-Israel report March 24, 2017
- US troops to stay in Iraq after fight against ISIS ends – Defense Dept. officials March 24, 2017
- David Rockefeller & a dark legacy in Brasil – A critical obituary March 24, 2017
- US senators introduce bill to tighten sanctions on Iran March 24, 2017
- London terrorist attack: Westminster’s jihadis come home March 23, 2017
- Court Rules in Favor of Police Who Pounded on Wrong Door, Didn’t Identify Themselves, Then Killed Innocent Man for Holding a Gun March 23, 2017
- Trump Envoy Asks Israel to Halt Construction Outside Settlement Blocs March 23, 2017
- Israeli forces raid Tulkarem print shops, confiscate equipment March 23, 2017
- New York Man Arrested for Spray Painting Swastikas on Own Home March 23, 2017
- Dual US-Israeli citizen arrested for wave of bomb threats against Jewish centers March 23, 2017
- Why Israel is ‘Deeply Interested’ in Continuation of Syrian War March 23, 2017
- SIGAR Report Notes US Failures in Afghanistan March 23, 2017
- Weapons of mass derision: Is Russian comedy the Kremlin’s secret weapon? March 25, 2017
- Left degeneracy plumbs new depths March 24, 2017
- What America’s Coup in Ukraine Did March 24, 2017
- Corporate media busy convincing US public that the Deep State does not exist March 23, 2017
- Palestinians shot with live ammunition during demonstration near Al-Mughayyir March 24, 2017
- Political Prisoners absent during Palestinian Mother’s Day March 23, 2017
- The fire under our feet: a journal piece March 22, 2017
- China’s Great Leap Forward: Western Frogs Croak Dismay March 23, 2017
Looking for something?
CategoriesAletho News Civil Liberties Corruption Deception Economics Environmentalism Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism Fake News False Flag Terrorism Full Spectrum Dominance Illegal Occupation Islamophobia Mainstream Media, Warmongering Militarism Nuclear Power Progressive Hypocrite Science and Pseudo-Science Solidarity and Activism Subjugation - Torture Supremacism, Social Darwinism Timeless or most popular Video War Crimes Wars for Israel
Tags9/11 Afghanistan Africa AIPAC al-Qaeda Argentina BBC Benjamin Netanyahu Brazil Canada Central Intelligence Agency China CIA CNN Colombia Da’esh Donald Trump Egypt EU European Union FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation France Gaza Germany Hamas Hebron Hezbollah Hillary Clinton Honduras Human rights India International Atomic Energy Agency International Solidarity Movement Iran Iraq Iraq War ISIL ISIS Israel Israeli settlement Japan Jerusalem John Kerry Latin America Lebanon Libya Mexico Middle East Military National Security Agency NATO New York Times NSA Obama Pakistan Palestine Press TV Qatar Russia Sanctions against Iran Saudi Arabia Syria The Guardian Turkey UK Ukraine United Nations United States USA Venezuela Washington Post West Bank Yemen Zionism
Contact:atheonews (at) gmail.com
This site is provided as a research and reference tool. Although we make every reasonable effort to ensure that the information and data provided at this site are useful, accurate, and current, we cannot guarantee that the information and data provided here will be error-free. By using this site, you assume all responsibility for and risk arising from your use of and reliance upon the contents of this site.
This site and the information available through it do not, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Should you require legal advice, you should consult your own attorney.
Nothing within this site or linked to by this site constitutes investment advice or medical advice.
Materials accessible from or added to this site by third parties, such as comments posted, are strictly the responsibility of the third party who added such materials or made them accessible and we neither endorse nor undertake to control, monitor, edit or assume responsibility for any such third-party material.
The posting of stories, commentaries, reports, documents and links (embedded or otherwise) on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such posted material or parts therein.
The word "alleged" is deemed to occur before the word "fraud." Since the rule of law still applies. To peasants, at least.
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more info go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
This is information for anyone that wishes to challenge our “fair use” of copyrighted material.
If you are a legal copyright holder or a designated agent for such and you believe that content residing on or accessible through our website infringes a copyright and falls outside the boundaries of “Fair Use”, please send a notice of infringement by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will respond and take necessary action immediately.
If notice is given of an alleged copyright violation we will act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material(s) in question.
All 3rd party material posted on this website is copyright the respective owners / authors. Aletho News makes no claim of copyright on such material.
Site infoAletho News
Blog at WordPress.com.