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Social Security in trouble

June 17, 2009
The Daily Mining Gazette

Apparently it has escaped the attention of many members of Congress - both liberal and conservative - and of President Barack Obama that the news about Social Security just keeps getting worse.

Last month, trustees of the Social Security program released their annual report on the entitlement's financial situation. It will begin paying out more than it takes in sometime in 2016, the trustees predict. That is a year earlier than had been forecast last year.

By 2027, the Social Security trust fund will be emptied, according to the report.

Of course, that assumes that the government somehow finds a way to pay back the hundreds of billions of dollars that it has "borrowed" from the trust fund.

It has been obvious for years that changes - perhaps drastic ones - need to be made if the Social Security program is to remain solvent. Yet Congress and the White House, under the leadership of both Republicans and Democrats, have refused to touch the "third rail of politics."

While Congress and the White House have fiddled, the fire engulfing Social Security has intensified. Predictions of when the program will run out of money have been changed several times - with the insolvency date always being set earlier, not later.

Opponents of change in Social Security claim major alterations are not needed. Minor tinkering will work, they insist. But not even that has been discussed seriously.

Social Security is among the most important programs offered by the government. It's time to recognize that - and act.



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