Is Pete Peterson Writing Yahoo News Now? Social Security Isn't Going Broke!


The framing in this video and the accompanying article is so utterly dishonest that I have to believe it came straight out of the Pete Peterson foundation. It is that disingenous. However, in this case I think Bank of America and Merrill Lynch might get credit for the actual content, based on the ad at the beginning.

If anyone happened upon this travesty of an "explainer" of a video and actually trusted what was said because it came from a source that is heavily trafficked, they might actually believe the nonsense they spew.

Beginning with the title, where they state as fact that Social Security is running out of money. Except it isn't running out of money. It's the most solvent government program there is. The most solvent.

Then there's the pyramid graphic they show in the video. Nothing subliminal there, is there? This is the thing they forgot to mention called a surplus in the trust fund. As to the unexpected deficit for 2010, that was simply the result of a slow economy and lower than expected payroll tax collections.

But here's the real clue about where they got their tips about Social Security:

The money you pay towards Social Security does not go into a personal account for when you retire. Instead, Social Security is a "pay as you go" program meaning the money that is collected now is used towards current payouts. So…current benefactors rely on the current work force to fund their payments. As baby boomers continue to retire at a record clip, approximately 10,000 on any given day, this model becomes harder to maintain. Back in 1950, there were 7.11 workers per retiree. That number today is 4.5 and in 30 years, economists estimate that number will be 2.6 workers for every retiree.

This is the Peterson connection right here. It's a top talking point of Peterson Foundation devotees. And it is not true. Simply not true. When the tax code was "reformed" in 1986, baby boomers were factored into the equation. They are already paid for.

While it's true that no one anticipated the oligarchs shipping thousands of jobs overseas leaving some baby boomers without an income for the final years of their working lives, it's still not cause to start sounding the SOS alarms. It means that some adjusting will need to be done but not the kind of adjusting that involves "personal accounts." Adjusting the wage base upward will fix it easily.

Yet. Social Security is fully funded until 2036, by Peterson's own documentation. There is no other government program funded 24 years into the future. None. Zero. That projection is exactly on target with what was expected in 1986 when all of the "reforms" were made law. The reforms that screwed people like me into having to defer retirement for two extra years in order to make sure the funds were there to pay my benefits.

When your friends send you these nonsensical emails hysterically screaming that Social Security must be fixed, just remember that the only people who hate social welfare programs are billionaires. Everyone else sees them as their weapon against poverty in their old age.


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