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February 5th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

How to handle gov't squandering Social Security surplus?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

First it was the banks and car companies... and now it looks like Social Security is the next in line for a taxpayer bailout.

A man dressed as a Social Security card demonstrates in front of the Capitol Building.
A man dressed as a Social Security card demonstrates in front of the Capitol Building.

Fortune Magazine's Allan Sloan writes that for the first time in 25 years - Social Security is taking in less than it's spending on benefits.

That's because For decades - the government has been using the surpluses from the nation's largest social program to pay for other things; and now Social Security is running out of money and pretty much consists of IOUs.

Sloan points out that no one has officially announced that Social Security will be cash-negative this year; but it becomes clear pretty quickly when looking at a report from the Congressional Budget Office.

This is outrageous - another bailout looming on the horizon because the government mismanaged these surpluses. And because there's no surplus, there's no interest income - tens of billions of dollars that are nothing more than a bookkeeping entry because the cash, which would earn that interest, is gone. replaced by IOUs.

Things haven't been so bleak for the government trust fund since the early 80s - when it came very close to running out of money. Back then, the government wound up trimming benefits and raising taxes - which led to the significant cash surpluses.

Meanwhile Social Security already provides more than half the income for most retirees; and with millions of people seeing their home values and stock portfolios slashed, this probably means they'll become even more dependent on social security in the future.

Here’s my question to you: What should be done about the government squandering the Social Security surplus?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Paul from Helenwood, Tennessee writes:
Heck, this is no surprise. Whenever there is a lot of money just sitting around, there is always someone with their fingers in the cookie jar. I would rather bail out Social Security then those damn banks that are handing out big bonuses now. Now tell me, where’s that tea party at?

Steve from Virginia Beach writes:
I reject the premise that Social Security needs a bailout. What it needs is restitution from our elected thieves who stole the money from our senior citizens' trust fund and hence stole their financial security, just as the current elected thieves are stealing the financial future of several generations. Beyond repaying the IOUs, we also need legislation to prevent future thieving from trust funds and an apology from the Republicans for mocking Al Gore for proposing this legislation almost a decade ago.

Max writes:
For almost a decade we have been and continue to spend several billion dollars a week chasing guys in caves around the other side of the world and we have the nerve to ask why we have no money?

Rick writes:
The best way to regain fiscal responsibility is to vote both parties, the Dems and the GOP, out of office and make it clear that the people will no longer be ignored.

Sheldon writes:
I remember when Bush and Gore debated the Social Security surplus in 2000. It was going into a lock box, according to Gore. Endless references by both to a lock box, which became fodder for the media. I guess someone forgot to actually lock the box!

J.T. from Florida writes:
I have paid into this fund since I was 12 years old. I'm now 65. The government took this money by mandate, I had no choice but to pay. We had a surplus now we have IOUs. Pay us our money!

Vern from Anaheim, California writes:
Stop the government from using Social Security funds to pay for other things. The answer is so simple "even a caveman could understand it."


Filed under: Government • Social Security
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. David in Raleigh, NC

    All of the social security funds need to be put in a dedicated account.

    The government needs to repay all of the IOU's against the Social Security fund needs to be repaid immediately and deposited into this dedicated account.

    February 5, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    The best way to regain fiscal responsibility, is to vote both parties, the Dems and the GOP out of office, and make it clear that the people will no longer be ignored.

    February 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  3. wahela

    They should put strict regulations on what happens to SS. My neighbor years ago was on the original SS board, and she said SS was originally designed as only for people who had no other income, such as pensions, savings, etc. Instead of being needy and broke, the country was to provide a SS pension to the poor and needy. Now, however, everybody gets SS, even Presidents and Congressmen.

    I believe that if someone has a certain income level, one should not receive SS benefits. It should be used for people who need income.

    February 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  4. Darren

    We need to take that credit card away from our 'pet project' driven Congressmen/women and make our government pay back the billions borrowed against it.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  5. Arlene, Illinois

    What you mean Willis, don't touch my Social Security!!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  6. Willow, Iowa

    We need strict regulation on SS. Not for the people ON SS, but the corporations and companies involved in the SS/medicare messes. Its my understanding that someone (was it Reagan?) took the profits in SS and put them in the general fund to have a balanced budget that year. We have had far too many number twisters in politics. We need to delineate between politicians and government.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
  7. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Oh Boy Jack..........I want talk about this one.
    The lie that never ends.The lie is that SS is broke because more are taking out than putting in.While it "IS" true that more are taking out
    THAT IS NOT WHY ITS BROKE I REPEAT ""NOT""
    These losers have raided the trust fund of the people's money for years.................wasted the rest on pork and bridges to nowhere.
    This is one of the worst ever cruel lies that congress tells............
    Remember Jack these are the same people that ran Freddy and Fannie into the ground.
    David

    February 5, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  8. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    We need to have a law passed that prevents these bozos from using SS for their pet projects or wars and allow those of us that will qualify in a few years the opportunity to get back what we paid in for over 40 years. But this would require people to do something that is for the people instead of taking our savings account and throwing it away.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  9. Greg in PA

    Jack, Jack, Jack! Your question makes it sound like money grows on trees! It's too late for us, the damage is done, we are going to be a third or fourth world country before you know it. China and the rest of the emerging markets are going to own us. Think about it Jack, there is no future for us, for multimillionaires like you maybe but not the rest of us.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  10. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Jack, this has a simple solution. Congress needs to pass legislation making it a felony for any person involved in spending SS money on anything but SS. After that is passed, any member of Congress who votes for the spending of SS money, would be guilty of a felony. Since these people do not even read these bills, it most likely would pass. The net result would be a lot of congressmen in prison. Yes Jack I have been drinking.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  11. Russ in PA

    Except for Ron Paul, who is probably the only person following the Constitution in Congress, all others from President on down should be arrested, and charged with everything from fraud to outright thievery. They deserve nothing but our contempt, and should be forced to pay back what they've stolen...

    February 5, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  12. JENNA

    What should be done about the government squandering the Social Security surplus?

    How about making it illegal for the government to "borrow" from social security for anything..

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    February 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  13. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, the only way is to pass legislation that prohibits government from dipping into funds to pay for items in areas not related to it. I believe that if government has to bail out Social Security, it will be better spent than the funds that bailed out the failed automaker CEOs and their companies. Both government and the private sector have been guilty of squandering money because they failed to prudently manage the funds they were entrusted with. For government, legislation is needed and for private companies, no matter how big, a warning that no more government money will be forthcoming. This may be a start to improving financial management.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  14. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    The government needs to put the social security surplus in that lock box Al Gore used to talk about and only use it for social security.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  15. Phyllis Buckner

    So what else is new? Squandering Social Security didn't start yesterday. They have done it for decades by moving it into the "General Fund" and using it for their piggy bank to finance whatever they choose... including wars!! During the bailout, with all these billions of dollars floating around, wouldn't it be a novel idea for a few billion to go into Social Security, to save it for the people who actually paid into it? The salaries and health care of the congress just happen to be paid out of the General Fund. So if we go broke, do they... or will enough be help back to pay them for the rest of their lives??

    February 5, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  16. Ed Tallahassee

    Let the Baby Boomers fend for themselves, they done thing to help-out Generation X, or Y except suck-up all the healthcare, high paying jobs, and the call us slackers as they entitled themselves to our Futures, and Cut taxes on themselves.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  17. Phil-Wenatchee, WA

    Our government (Congress) needs to enact legislation to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan in order to free up money in support of the Social Security system.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  18. Tony from Southport

    Is jail an option?

    Who is responsible for tapping into the Social Security bank? We should have names of either party's President, Republican or Democrat, members of Congress, Republican or Democrat, and they should be made public.

    Americans who have paid into Social Security for years, now retired and not getting the cost of living increases they deserve, are being screwed by the wealthy politicians most of them today having been lawyers.

    Cut the earmarks and pork, put the money back. All SS payroll deductions should saty in the SS bank gaining interest.

    And if jail is an option......

    February 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  19. Terry in Texas

    File a lein on congressional salaries and expenses until it's paid back.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  20. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Simple. Increase taxes. Stop extraneous spending. Stop pork (from both Democrats AND Republicans). Tell the right wing that if taxes aren't raised, we may as well turn over the title to this country to China. What the hell is the matter with people that start two wars and cut taxes?? They should have all the millions of dollars they've made taken away.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  21. Ed from MD

    Rob from Paul to pay Peter or more likely RAISE TAXES, hire the Sheriff of Nottingham and get Robin the Hood to robbin the rest.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  22. Jane (Minnesota)

    I would hope that Washington wises up and makes it law that social security & Medicare taxes be restricted to a fund that can only be used by the social security and Medicare programs like individuals who set money away for retirement do now. That's how it should have been from the start. They also need to remove the ceiling on the social security partion of the payroll tax and look at possibly lowering the withholding percentage.

    Oh yeah, control their spending desires too.

    Fat chance of them doing any of those things. It's disheartening and disgusting.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  23. K

    We have self serving elected nonrepresentatives who could care less about representing the people who elected them. Obama promised accountability–where is it????

    February 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  24. southerncousin

    They should all be impeached and sent to jail.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  25. randy

    jack i think the goverment she stop miss spending peoples money and start buy cutting all the over spending of tax payers money.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  26. Layne Alleman

    Jack, #1. Presidents, nor Congress, nor any other government agency, should have the ability to even THINK about EVER touching Social Security. #2. Any person, or persons, or agencies who do should face MANDATORY life imprisonment(no paroles, pardons, or releases of any kind). Social Security was set-up to be just that, not the private cookie jar for Congress or anyone else, something it has been for generations now. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  27. jimmy in greenville, north carolina

    Whatever administration in power will just have to pay it back. And they will do it because the old people vote. The old folk still know how to run someone out of town.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  28. honestjohn in Vermont

    Jack the answer is really quite simple since the SS money was diverted to other sectors–we need to have those sectors bailout SS. But since I'm sure that money is long gone we should have the Republican Party bailout SS–they do know how to raise money ya know and they did change us from a surplus nation to one reeling in debt.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  29. Ed

    Ten years ago, candidate Al Gore proposed putting the Social Security surplus in a "lock box." Instead, the country elected George W. Bush who cut taxes and increased spending. Well, surprise, surprise!

    Ed
    Texas

    February 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  30. richp the poconos

    The only solution won't be possible till November, hopefully we will be able to clean both houses a bit, do that 3 times and we might get somewhere.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  31. Richard Texas

    Social Security is not an "entitlement program" paid for by government taxes. It is a completely separate program with its own revenue stream and retiree payments. Social Security is paid for by employees and employers, as is Medicare. The benefits provided by Social Security are earned, not bestowed by the government.
    The federal government has been taking money out of Social Security and dropping IOU'S in the bowl for years to hide their budget deficits which are around 300 billion a year since 2002 and growing.
    The federal government needs to keep it's IOU theiving fingers the hell out of Social Security and pay back every IOU that they owe it NOW.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  32. Charles in ohio

    Jack: Here is my question to you. Where are the jobs that pay into Social Security? I paid the max every year I ever worked. Those middle class jobs went over seas. Bring them back and Social Security won't have to worry!

    February 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  33. Mark

    Stop taking money from this socialistic program to pay for the failures of teh capitalistic economy. In the 1970"s when 1% of the people in this country owned 50% of the wealth we had a middle class. Now with all the capitalists getting rich over the years investing in other countries and taking jobs overseas that 1% owns over 75% of the wealth in this country and the middle class has paid the price to bail out what has become a failed capitalitic economy wheich the middle class agin has had to bail out just to keep the 1% in the money. Its time we change it back to at least 1% with 50% to balance the capitalistic economy. One way to do this is tax the 1% to cover the social security system shortfalls. Mark- Republican in PA

    February 5, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  34. chewy

    It's hard to say what should be done. They don't generally make public the borrowing of these funds. It should be said that the government has lied again as they have promised to leave social security intact on many occassions. They assured the american elderly that they wouldn't dismantle this program. I guess leaving more I.O.U.'s than money is their idea of keeping the program intact. Bankrupt will not pay the bills. With all of the people moving in with their parents these days, who may or not be receiving these benifits, trouble again looms on the horizon. This is another great reason why government needs a check and balance system in place for all facets of spending. The government bails out big business, the government bails out the government,and the american people continue to dig deeper in their pockets, but this time it's for food.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  35. Lisa, San Jose CA

    Let the Bush tax cuts expire and make paying back the social security IOU's the first item on the 'to do' list with the increased revenue.

    February 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  36. Uncle Sam in Florida

    Squandering? I guess you could call it that.
    The basic concept of social security would work if the government
    would stop using the money from social security for every other program that they do not have money for, including Congress giving themselves a raise.
    What really gets to me this year is that the president said there will be no increase in social security benefits for 2010 because the
    consumer price index said that there was no increase in the cost of living. Yet the members of the house and senate can give themselves
    a raise again this year.
    Last year when the price of oil went up, the price of consumer goods
    went up. When the price of oil decreased a little bit, the price of consumer goods stayed the same. If that is not an increase in the consumer price index, I don't know what is.
    Our reps in Washington are so out of touch with the real world and what it takes to make ends meet.
    Our government needs a complete overhaul, but it dose'nt look like that will ever happen.
    I probably won't see it in my lifetime, but once the middle class in this country is gone, we will be in the ranks of other third world countries
    where you have only the very wealthy and the poor.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  37. Ed

    According to the Social Security web site, the Social Security Trustees report that tax income will exceed expenditures until 2016, when a deficit is forecast due to the retirement of the Baby Boomers.

    Ed
    Texas

    February 5, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  38. Colleen Brooks, Charlotte, NC

    Jack: You ask this question like it was some big mystery. This day has been dawning for 30 years. at some point the spending has to stop, there is a huge burden looming for the next generation. if they could fix health care it would go a long way to aiding the aging in making ends meet in the future.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  39. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Social Security has been a campaign mantra for the last twenty years. Every candidate running for office has espoused how they were going to fix it. As the old song goes: and here we stand in a box of sand.

    The politicians of the last decades are indeed culpable, yet it is us who are responsible. We keep electing these blinded ideological people. Either we as a people must demand term limits, or in this election and next, in primary or general election, we vote for anyone but an incumbent and begin anew.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  40. Jim

    Jack,

    Yet another gift from the Conservatives that Obama inherited. Of course, if he trims benefits and raises taxes as was done in the 80s, he will be vilified by those same Conservatives. The program must continue. Too many vulnerable Americans will be hurt by its demise. Trimming payouts for those who don't need it might help some, but it's hard to see how tax increases, at least on the wealthy, will be avoided.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    February 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  41. Mari Fernandez, Utah

    Dear Jack,

    This is nothing new. Google "Social Security deficit" and an interesting article pops up from the Conservative "Heritage Foundation", I quote:

    "The debate about whether Social Security faces a problem and needs to be fixed is over. The 2008 Trustees Report shows that the program faces massive annual deficits starting in just nine years. Now is the time to focus on solutions." ~ March 26, 2008 The Heritage Foundation

    Are you trying to blame this on President Obama, Jack?

    February 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  42. Kevin Lunenburg MA.

    I guess the first thing is to pass means testing into law so only the folks that need social security get it. (sorry about that Wall Street, your bad). Then eliminate the cap on FICA so that it extends to all wages. Lastly, gather all the representatives and senators in the house chamber, give them a fair trial and then hang them.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  43. Rory Murray

    Jack,
    1. How about if we kick all the Lawyers out of the Senate and the House, and replace them with Accountants and Efficiency Experts? We need less Pork and more Bean counters!
    2. In California, we should end the outrageous overtime and union stranglehold that has bankrupted us, and transfer all those undeserved pensions into a Social Security Emercency Fund.
    3. We should also immediately end the No-Bid, Cost-Plus contracts with Halliburton, Blackwater, et al. It would add Billions more into the coffers.
    Have a good weekend Jack.
    Go Saints!
    Rory Murray
    San Bernardino, CA

    February 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  44. Homeless D in Atlanta

    I do not think there is a SURPLUS anywhere in our economy, governmental or otherwise!

    In fact, I do not think we have any REAL money at all. It's all just so much paper.

    But to stop the government 'squandering' our assets, SOMEONE must be in charge. and I mean someone who really runs the show.

    The problem with that is, to have that kind of control e would be a dictatorship.

    There is no control in our form of government. In theory THE PEOPLE are the control. In fact, we are like a runaway train with no one at the controls.

    Personally, I just hope the 'money' holds out untilo I die. Then I will not have to worry about it, and I don't really care about the 'future generations', because at my age they are the ones in charge NOW and doing a lousy job!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  45. Joe M

    Jack,

    What a mess! These clowns want us to provide health care to everyone when they cannot manage the social security surplus. I say vote out all incumbents in 2010 and the rest in 2012. It would be a start in the right direction.

    Joe M (Mn)

    February 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  46. Kyle, Irvine, CA

    Jack,
    I'll give you the short answer from Congress "we have no idea" Were screwed!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  47. chris

    a start would be cut their pay and get rid of their benefits and their retirement cause we know they will get it an extream would be cut their pay all together and cut govt spending and get ride of pork spendign that would be a start if anythign they would feel what the people on ss or not going to get ss in the future

    February 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  48. Carl

    Jack,
    Put the Scumbags in jail. No wonder Social Security is going broke. The way to pay back Social Security is to take the politicians pensions away until it is paid back, also reduce there pay, these idiots make way to much money to begin with. Think about it, if there are so honest, why then would you spend Millions of dollars to get a job that pays only a few hundred thousand, I tell you, they are all just plain crooks.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  49. Penny, Bellvue WA

    The answer is simple. Remove the cap on wages subject to the Social Security tax. My wages are 100% subject to the tax; why not the wages of rich people?

    And if more money is needed, extend the tax to investment income, in addition to wages.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  50. T.Thomas in Abilene Tx.

    I know this is totally cynical, but you still sound as though you believe average Americans actually have a say in what the government does to us. If we learn nothing else from the health care debacle,we should at least know that all power is now in the hands of lobbyists who have bought and paid for our lawmakers.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  51. Stan in Boston

    I believe the first one to raid the trust fund was Reagan. He used the money to pay for those famous tax cuts that conservatives still want to emulate. Remember laughing at Gore when he said that he wanted to put the trust fund into a lock box? But we got Bush instead who continued not paying for tax cuts. We need to recognize that the conservatives are not fiscally responsible. So, the first thing I would suggest that we do is vote the tax cutting, deficit building conservatives out of office. I don't like taxes anymore than the next guy, but eventually we need to recognize that the only way for us to go forward is to stop buying things on credit and to pay as we go. But that's not going to happen as long as the conservatives can wield their filabuster power.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  52. Mark

    Obviously, our nation's Social Security Funds should be turned over to someone responsible who can manage the funds wisely.....like China.

    Mark
    Oklahoma City

    February 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  53. joy

    hi Jack,
    are u now a member of the tea baggers. u sound so mad these days, like u are not going to take it anymore. i wish u were more mad like this when Bush destroy this country for 8 years. maybe, just maybe we will not be in this mess. hang in there, change is coming to America. if u and your network will just give President Obama some time to clean up the mess he inherited. but it will take time. u don't expect him to clean up the mess, Bush left him in one year. it took Bush 8 years to make the mess, believe me it will take more than one year to clean it up. there is still hope for America.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  54. Mike from MI

    Step 1: Replace the government.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  55. Dave

    Jack, are you serious? This isn't about surpluses, this is about Social Security being a pyramid scheme. It was doomed to failure from the start, it just happened quicker than they expected it.

    Bottom line, if you want to force people into a retirement plan then make it THEIR plan, not some general fund that I personally have to kick money into for myself AND my employees but I have NO SAY how it is managed.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  56. Chris

    Up the retirement age, lift the SS taxable limit, and march congress out behind the capitol building and shoot 'em

    February 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  57. Jim Z..Ft. Worth...Texas

    The Feds have borrowed and bankrupted from Social Security when it was known by another name. Anybody remember? The money was never repaid and it has been used and abused ever since. Bottom line...we are all going to end up "a nation of vagabonds riding the rails of poverty into a land of no retirement"- cajazz76:24:8...unless we save for our pot of "milk and honey'...Either way, that honey will not be very sweet and the milk sour. To make you regurgitate that honey and milk you swallowed...try thinking about repaying what they borrowed from you to begin with and trillions besides...I need a mouthwash...now! Can we say and see quadrillions in our descendants futures. Please pass the pepto.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  58. Nimzovich

    That would've been a good question to ask 10 years ago ...

    February 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  59. Cat, Detroit

    Easy, eliminate the pensions for government officials who have had a hand in gutting the social security fund. Let them grocery shop at the dollar store and eat bargain "food" like the seniors they resign to that fate.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  60. Bryant

    I suggest removing the current contribution caps for social security. If the mass majority of employee's are contributing 6.2% of all of their income to social security then everyone else should as well.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  61. Charly Del Mar

    Well Jack –

    I think that the government workers, starting with Congress, should put their pension funds into Social Security. After all, that's my money too. And don't forget dumping their very generous health care plans into Medicare. I'd trade them across the board for both of those gracious, taxpayer paid programs that none of us will ever enjoy.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  62. Chris

    This just shows that the politicians in Washington only have short term concerns. They try to complete their own short term goals at the expense of our long term interests. State College, PA

    February 5, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  63. Matt of Boston

    Not another bailout Jack; we cannot take it.

    My neighbor was so depressed over the prospects of another bailout, he called a suicide hot line. He got a call center in Pakistan. When he told then he was suicidal, they all got very excited and ask him if he could drive a truck, and if he wanted a job in Iraq.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  64. Uncle JG

    Run the military on IOUs for a couple of years instead; that ought to cover it.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  65. danny leedy

    What a "shame". I have worked since I was 15 years old and have all the credits to qualify. Now, I will probably not have benefits. Is there some reason politicians don't have a "brain" or is it they are NOT affected by the problem?????? How about this, for every dollar removed fron Social Security, the members of Congress have to take a $10,000 dollar reduction in their salary!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  66. Darryll Pederson

    Jack Cafferty:

    Require that congressional pensions must be paid out of surplus Social Security Funds. If surplus funds are not available no congressional pensions.

    What's fair for one is fair for all.

    Lincoln, Nebraska

    February 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  67. Kyle

    Well I know who to blame!! this is all Bush's fault!! At least I know every Dem including our savior Obama will be saying. This is all the American people's fault. Everyone wants something for free and doesn't want to be accountable for it.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  68. jordan katz

    There should be no income limit on SS contributions. 100%
    of my income is taxed, so why not 100% of everyones salary.
    Lets even the playing field, which should put SS back in the surplus.

    If we raise the SS tax I'll still be paying more on 100% of my income,
    with no guarantees that SS will be there when I retire.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  69. Greg Grieco

    It's simple Jack, just raise the the level of limits – in the 1930's the limit on income deductions for Social Security was $90,000 – in todays money that would in the millions – crank up the "jack", that's a fact, and the supply of money will greatly increase.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  70. Earl

    Obama,s senior healthcare program will take care of social security, there won't be any seniors.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  71. John - San Diego, CA

    I have heard for years that the government takes from the Social Security surplus funds to use for other programs (maybe for "bridges to nowhere" projects? Apparently this has been going on for decades. What kind of a stupid government do we have anyway?? Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Just great!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  72. Doug S

    I don't expect to ever get a penny from social security so I don't really care. I don't even consider social security when it comes to retirement planning. I say get rid of it all together. I'm 42, have paying in to SS for 25 years, and doubt I'll ever get one thin dime out of it. I would much rather be able to put that same cash every paycheck into my IRA or a 401K type vehicle. The numbers don't lie. As the boomers start to retire by the millions over the next 5-10 years, SS is going to be paying out at a completely unsustainble rate. It will be bled dry and we're going to spend billions to try to save it, even though it's pretty much unsavable. Our government couldn't manage a lemondade stand if their lives depended on it.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  73. JW Georgia

    This is a woulda shoulda coulda question. Many years ago at a town hall meeting held here by Congressman John Linder I complained LOUDLY that Congress removed billions from SS to pay for bombing Bosnia, and I told him to keep his hands off those funds. He argued the necessity of bombing Bosnia of course. So now we have a huge pile of IOU's where Congress "borrowed" money from SS for this, that, the other as if it were general funds available to their discretion, and now the very predictable boomer-bill comes due. But like all other bankrupt entities, our blood has been sucked up by the turnips of Congress. What can be done? Aside from firing squads, I'm not quite sure.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  74. Bertina

    Social Security surplus makes absolutely no sense. Next your going to be saying that if only Obama lets the rich keep those tax cuts that will solve the problems of Medicaid, Medicare and the debt.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  75. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, it doesn't make a bit of difference what "should be done", the seniors WILL get the government shaft again, as they did in the 80's. Congress doesn't know any other way to operate, except force those who have already paid for their future to pay for it somemore. Do you think they would consider dropping anyone who hasn't paid into SS from the rolls, like the illegal aliens who are here drawing SSI, medicaid, etc, and have not paid a dime into the system? Not a chance! We seniors will pay, and probablly end up relying on our children to take care of us, when we can no longer afford to live on our own.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  76. Mark

    I've always laughed when Democrats have talked about the Social Security "Trust Fund". Patently ridiculous. The employer and employee taxes fund current benefits and surpluses have always found their way into the general fund. The arguments against Bush's idea to self-direct a tiny portion of what an employee pays in were based on a system that existed only in theory.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  77. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    All of those IOUs should immediately be called in. The people put that money into the fund directly from their paychecks. It was not for a corrupt bunch of politicans to say it's OK to "borrow" from the Social Security Fund. See exactly who/what owes the fund and if they cannot pay the "loan" back in it's entirety then put them on a payment plan.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  78. Mike A in Providence, R.I.

    Social Security benefits should be eliminated for anyone under age 75, and then the benefits should be paid only to the destitute.

    Social Security was created in a time when people died by age 60. It was never intended to fund luxurious decades-long retirements for people who can live without it.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  79. Jon B. Jacques

    Social Security cannot continue without massive funds coming in from the present generation. Of course many of them are now out of work. Medicare cannot continue without more funding. Medicaid is broken. We see vendors gleefully advertising on television while they rip off Medicare. The Congress is corrupt and owned by the industry lobbyists. Nothing will change unless the voters elect honest people. Is that even possible? Government seems to exist for its own continued existence and nothing more. I am appalled.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  80. pat in michigan

    I am not really sure what to do but I do believe this is just the tip of a titanic iceberg and the poorest of the poor are gonna be forced to go down with the ship.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  81. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    They should go back to the post office and everyone else they gave the money to and demand it back with interest. Then they should take the money from cutting government spending and replenish it before they use it for the federal deficit. And if they are not going to criminally prosecute the execs at AIG, Goldman Sachs, etc, they should at least have civil suits and fine them the price of their bonuses. They never should have usurped our money to begin with.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  82. Joe F.

    Give em a shovel. time to go back to work!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  83. What should be done?

    The US needs to copy the successful transition that Chile did. The plan is simple:

    1. Current retirees keep their current benefits.

    2. Those near retirement get treasury bills for the net present value of their eventual SS fund, to be placed in a private retirement account.

    3. Those just starting out have the option of opting out of SS completely and placing a few percent of their income in diversified tax-free stock funds (sort of an SS IRA).

    4. The government guarantees a minimum income for all retirees in case their private account falls short.

    5. Sell useless government assets to finance the transition.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  84. Scott Hines; Janesville WI

    The banks and the auto makers should be forced fork over every extra cent of profit they've got and start helping bail us out. Seems only fair if you ask me.

    Then, eliminate SS benefits for all DC politicians, including any who've retired in the last 15 years.

    It won't get us all the way there, but it'd be a start.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  85. JT Florida

    Pay the money back, Cut foreign aid not social security. I have paid into this fund since I was 12 years old, am now 65. The government took this money by mandate I had no choice but to pay. We had a surplus now we have IOU's. Pay us our money!!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  86. Tony

    I think we need to base benefits off of how many descendents you have. The more children you helped raise that are now contributing to Social Security, the more you should be able to receive. You made an investment in the next generation when it was your turn.

    If you decided to forgo children and abdicated your responsibility to future generations, you should have more money that you can use to support yourself.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  87. SJ Johnson

    Simple:
    1) Increase retirement age for 100% draw over a period of months/years
    2) Continue contributions for taxpayers earning over $102,000 instead of limiting those taxes
    3) Revisit in five years

    S Johnson
    Minneapolis

    February 5, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  88. Ralph from Carterville Illinois

    If I recall correctly, the Clinton administration left a surplus which the Bush administration promptly spent. They could have used that money to bolster Social Security but instead they burned it up with tax breaks and two wars. So obviously the Republicans cannot be trusted to fix this mess and I doubt if any of them want to. I am certain though that the Republicans will blame Obama for it. You want to fix it then vote out all Republican incumbents and a few of the Democrats and elect people with a sense of fiscal responsibility. Easier said than done I fear.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  89. Sharon M

    It's my understanding (although, I've never done the research myself) that Social Security funds have been used to pay for other things, as far back as WWII. And, that no "borrowed" funds have ever been replaced, much less received interest payments, which would've been payable on any other type of "loan."

    I certainly can't speak for everyone. But, I don't believe I'm alone in my lack of faith in the U.S. government, and more especially in their squandering of our tax dollars. Every single day, funds are mis-spent to pay for unnecessary travel and training of federal employees. I know, I used to be one. Money spent on research that has no valid benefit for our society, may as well be flushed.

    Personally, I think an independent audit is called for, back to the WWII era, and the government should be forced to cut spending on all non-essential programs, until they can reimburse the Social Security fund, with interest, based on the average commercial banking interest charged to consumers, for each year the government failed to reimburse the Social Security fund.

    The U.S. government made a promise to the American public, with the implementation of the Social Security program. For decades, our citizens trusted our government to follow-through with their promise. Well, nowadays, we get it that a huge percentage of our elected officials are liars and philanderers. We do NOT trust them to fix anything.

    Personally, I just hope I die, before things get much worse for this country.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  90. Ed from California

    The Social Security Trust Fund has been the home equity line of credit for our government for decades. I remember when LBJ raided it to pay for Vietnam. Of course no one pays it back and it's used for more than it was intended, senior retirement. Social Security is the most abused asset we have. It's used as disability insurance, even if you worked for just one day, get hurt, you're on the doles forever. As long as we have SSDI attorneys or members of Congress that can get their grubby hands on these funds, it'll remain broke. Don't worry, it's guaranteed, by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  91. wowlfie

    Raise the taxes and age to receive. Again.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  92. Matthew

    Benefits must be reduced until it no longer spends more than it takes in. That may be harsh to some people, but it's Financial Management 101. You simply can't spend what you don't have.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  93. Chet

    If Social Security goes belly-up in this country, there will be hell to pay for.

    When is this gonna stop?

    February 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  94. Paul Watson

    Currently, no social security tax is on income above $106,000. A solution would be to reinstate the social security tax on income above a set amount – say above $250,000. Also, make it illegal for Congress to spend the surplus.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
  95. John S

    But let's add another government run program like health care. Great ideal Democrat's. Let's just spend money now and worry about paying for it later. That has been our government for so long. What's going to happen is American's our going to get hit with huge tax increases across the board from local government to federal and we will have no spending power. We have got a taste of it already and its not looking good. Right now the government is trying to find ways to tax only the wealthy. But they will find ways to skirt that and the end result will be the rest of us will get the bill as usual. Our government has not helped the average consumer. It has passed consumer credit card laws but with such a long window before they took effect we ended up with huge interest increases. How is this going to inspire spending? Sorry for the rambling but every day I am more upset with our government wasting away any hope of being strong again!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  96. Kevin

    The simple answer would be to arrest those responsible for stealing the money for purposes that it was not intended to be spent for. Of course since the politicians who are guilty always accept the "responsibility" without actually feeling the heat of the penalty, perhaps we should zero their retirement accounts first to pay for the negative surplus, aka deficit, that they've caused.

    The real answer of course is unpleasant. The congress should put aside politics and address the real problem with Social Security and that is that it is fundamentally unsound. It is a Ponzi scheme and always has been. We should no longer allow politicians to invest the funds in an "IOU" system. They spent the money because the recognized that the true "interest payers" would be future taxpayers, our children grandchildren and great grandchildren.

    Clearly we can't afford to rely on a system that has 2-3 payees per recipient. That is where we are headed when the boomers retire en masse.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  97. Dennis North Carolina

    arrest and jail the people who have used these fund. this is a public trust which should not be abused by any one not even the government which set up the trust.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  98. Doug - Dallas, TX

    The government cannot keep their hands off of any surplus; never have and never will. They can solve their problem by applying social security taxes to ALL income earned not just those earning below $106,000. Dumbest damn rule I've ever seen, but then we are dealing with the government. They seem to have the market cornered when it comes to dumb ideas!!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  99. Tom Arndt, Memphis TN

    They should squander it out of existence. It's pure socialism, which as we know is scary and evil. While they're at it, the government should stop all socialist programs. For instance, all subsidies for crops (corn, cotton, wheat, rice, soybeans, dairy, peanuts, sugar, oilseeds, tobacco, wool, mohair, vegetable oil, honey) and gasoline, all welfare / financial aid programs, student loans, all government insured financial instruments, public education, medicare, all government sponsored enterprises (GSEs, mostly related to agriculture, home finance, & education), and all rescue operations (for stranded/missing mountain climbers, hikers, earthquake victims, etc). Whew, won't we all feel better when we get this socialist devil off our backs!

    February 5, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  100. Ervin Hargis

    Some one need to go to jail
    Bart.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  101. Roybee -- Oregon

    It would help if our government understood that the growing lack of access to basic health insurance and impending insolvency of the social security system are at least as much an issue of "national security" as is nation-building in the Near East.

    When will basic healthcare and modest financial security for an aging population be on a footing with securing Iraq? Or stabilizing Afganistan? Or solving the Israeli-Palastine issue? Or whatever the hell else we seem to think is our business over there.

    I suspect that we could easily fund the social security system for decades forward with the equivalent of merely a few days' worth of what we currently squander in places where we are not wanted, not trusted, and not likely to succeed.

    Bailout for Social Security? Bring it on. It's about time . . .

    February 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  102. Jeff

    The United States was not formed with the intention to provide government entitlements for anyone - you earned what you deserved! It is a sad day when you have to bailout an already existing government bailout program.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  103. Chris

    We should thank "W" for, in just 8 years, going from the surplus created under the Clinton Administration to the huge deficits created, in large part, by two unfunded wars. Funny how the Republicans conveniently forget these facts.

    February 5, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  104. Sandra Endicott

    take away the retirement benefits that senators and congress voted in for themselves and make them draw social security like everyone else. when it effects their money I bet you our social securirty will be fixed and we won't be short. Senators and Congress needs to be charged with treason against this country, all their money be tied up to pay for the bailout for this mess they made.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  105. Ken sanders

    Leave it alone. It is sacred. Is there no end to what these people in Washington will do ? K.S. Vancouver Canada.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  106. Jo Ellen

    Someone, somewhere, needs to realize, OLD people vote! Yes, we do! I have voted democrat since I was 18 and I voted for JFK, Never Again. You want to not give me a raise, but, you want to raise the price of bread to $3.99? We make a choice, food or medicine? Do ANY of these people in DC even KNOW any Old People? NO! My husband isn't voting again, ever, but, for me, I will not vote for any incumbents, and yes, that includes Boxer and Feinstein!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  107. adamrussell

    How is it a bailout exactly? The US government has been borrowing from SS for years. So if they are forced to pay it back this year what twisted logic calls it a bailout?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  108. JD

    I'm shocked, shocked I tell you! This has come out of the blue. Lockbox my ***. Thanks to the 500 plus capital gang that who couldn't shoot straight. This is, and has been, the 500 pound gorilla in the room. It is time to tell the Emperor he has no clothes. Time to cut government costs by an honest 3-4% ASAP. No raises for Federal employees, since Social Security did not get an increase because of no cost of living increase. Time to share the pain. It is time for Washington to face up to reality and confront the issues instead of this 2 party self preservation movement we call a democracy.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  109. Mitch

    Since Ponzi schemes are illegal, throw all present and past congress / senate members in jail. Terminate all their benefits and sell off all their assests as damages to all of us. Then make them work in a chain gang to pay for the cost of their jail time.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  110. William Noble

    Here's a simple solution: when any member of Congress reaches retirment age, was in office at any time during the past 15 years and applies for Social Security, their monthly amount should be reduced by at least twenty-five percent as a tax and penalty on their ineffectiveness to do something about the coming shortfall – making it personal like this might finally get their wandering attention -

    February 5, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  111. adamrussell

    Its not a bailout if the US government pays back what it owes.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  112. Doug Peters

    Didn't Bernie Madoff go to prison for this same scheme?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  113. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Hands off Social Security...To those who squander even one dime, it's the third rail. How about selling off surplus items,

    STOP wasting millions on rounding up the wild horses and then paying out millions of dollars to house and feed them...And for what?? The cattle ranchers most likely! And the list is endless!

    Government waste is already staggering, and Social Security is seen as a very large piggy bank

    February 5, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  114. dan

    an immidiate suspension of all of the senates and houses benifits medical dental retirement, etc. until that cash is replaced. they have made enough sweet heart deals forthemselves they should be ok and if they are not???? oh well....

    February 5, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  115. Victoria, Pensacola, Florida

    I am tired of hearing the boo hoo's about the budget and how we will be leaving our children and grandchilden with a big debt to pay. Has everyone forget that we seniors carried the bills for our parents and grandparents? We were there for them when they need help, but I can't say the same for the current generation. We paid into the system for our future and the government stole the money.... So who are they going to be punish over this.... as usual nobody. Who is going to pay.... everyone....

    February 5, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  116. Michael

    "Social" Security......hey all you Baby Boomers!!! we do have socialism in this country!!! Thanks for hurting my future with your reckless, selfish, me me me demands!!! You could learn a thing or two from your parents!! Down with the Republicans and Democrats!!!! They BOTH cannot be trusted!! We are the people!!! Let us fight for what is best for everybody!!! Vote OUT Republicans AND Democrats!!!! THEY MAKE A MOCKERY OF OUR DEMOCRACY!!!! STAND UP AND DEMAND REAL CHANGE!!!! NEW PARTY NEW PARTY NEW PARTY........LETS HAVE A 6 PARTY SYSTEM!! REAL PARTIES FOR THE PEOPLE!!!!! STAND UP AND REVOLT!!!! WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!!! DOWN WITH OUR LEADERS!!!! THEY ALL STINK!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  117. Dick

    The problem is not with social security...it is with the government! The incumbents...Democrats and Republicans...need to be removed from office. It is a national travesty.

    Louisville, KY

    February 5, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  118. Rick McDaniel

    Ok, let's look at it this way.....if we cut off all aid to foreign countries......we should have absolutely no problem paying for SS.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  119. Bob Playa Union Argentina

    One thing for absolute sure!!!! Do NOT allow ANY illegals to collect from it or use unearned benefits!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  120. androloma

    From Denver, Colorado.

    "What should be done about the government squandering the Social Security surplus?"

    How about a sedition law which brands any politician raiding the fund with high treason? Is nothing untouchable? Too much corruption and political malfeasance has led the nation to this mess... and no one is taking the blame. The media stands guilty as well for not publishing the names of the villains, who will be literally torn to pieces by wild mobs of seniors (myself included) when we ever find out the names of the culprits responsible.

    Is this a conspiracy to plunder us as taxpayers from the cradle to the grave? Try and cheat us again. The whole house of cards is depending on our country's fiscal solvency, and we're plummeting down the cliff of bankruptcy at breakneck speed. There's only two political parties to blame. And they had better both beware should the Fund become insolvent.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  121. Karl from SF, CA

    How about raising taxes on whatever it is they are borrowing from Social Security to keep operating? Keep SS solvent and cut whatever it is subsidizing if no one wants to pay to make it self-supporting. I think Bush’s tax cuts for the rich and two wars have done the most damage. Bring back Reagan’s tax increases of the 80’s. That will help.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  122. Ted

    Scrap the whole thing

    February 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  123. Pat

    Jack, why can't we, the citizen/taxpayer, sue the Congress for embezzlement, malfeasance, theft, stupidy? Aren't we the "stockholders" of the country? This is just so wrong.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  124. Lenny from New York

    Do not stop taking Socail Security out of peoples pay each year no matter how much they make. It was my understanding that at a certain point (when you've earned 75,000?) each year, they don't take it out of your pay. Each dolar over 75,000 has no deduction for SS. I'm not sure if it's 75,000 or more.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  125. Dimslie

    When a bank robber is ordered to pay restitution do we say that he is "bailing out" the bank?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  126. Robert Tulloch

    Gee Chris. WWII was an unfunded war. Remember we were attacked on 911 and responded appropriately. If Obambi doesn't screw up the situation we will see a semi-democratic Iraq, a stable Afghanistan and some stability in the region.

    I would much rather have "W" at the helm that the inexperienced idiot who never so much as flipped burger in his life. Obama is the epitome
    of the failure of affirmative action placing unqualified people in positions
    they would never other wise qualify for. In this case it is destroying our country.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  127. Kyle

    Chris February 5th, 2010 5:52 pm ET

    We should thank "W" for, in just 8 years, going from the surplus created under the Clinton Administration to the huge deficits created, in large part, by two unfunded wars. Funny how the Republicans conveniently forget these facts.

    Here we go!! I was waiting to start hearing this!! Time to find a new scape goat my friend. Its getting a little old now.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  128. Keith - Ohio

    When Social Security was first established, the funds were to be 'hands off'. What good is it to have the foxes watching the hen house?

    These scoundrels can't keep their hands out of the pockets of others... The system is not broken, it's those charged with protecting it.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  129. Max

    Put personal fiduciary responsibility on Congress and see what happens.

    Max, Los Angeles Financial Advisor

    February 5, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  130. Ramses

    It has been known for a long time that the Fed has been borrowing SS funds for a long time. It is very certain SS is going or already in Red. Don't bank on it. It is a gone case. Don't you guys know US is a bankrupt country?The Govt Taxes, Taxes & Taxes & misuse funds. This is a Bankrupt nation & we all should be very proud it. At least now among the Greatest nations on earth, we are First in something. We do not know how to run the families, How can we run a Nation. Just give up & move to China or Timbuktu. Barrow more money from China & put US up for sale. Bad investment, no buyers.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  131. Jon

    Forgive me if I am mistaken in my judgment here, as I can only go by what I see on a daily basis. But I see people getting Social Security, SSI and Disability (not sure if these are all the same things, or feeding off each other). I would bet that 75% of the people we see coming through our ER do not have anything wrong with them to the point where they can not work or function in society. My problem is this – those programs have been set aside for seniors or profoundly disabled individuals who have no other means to survive. What I've seen since about 1996 (when a five year welfare limit was signed into law) is a trend where, once people get close to that five year cut off, they show up in our department with the SSI packet. They want a doctor to sign their papers – proof of emotional disturbances, proof of fibromyalgia or some other emotional disorder. Some will even claim they are suicidal in the belief that, if they do this enough times, they will be diagnosed with chronic depression. They see SSI/Disability as a golden ticket to get something for nothing. Never have to work, and get paid (not much) every month.

    This is bankrupting our system. I saw someone who is only 28 but has been on SSI for years because his mother (who had 10 kids by 10 different men) coached her children years ago to act out so they could be labeled ADHD – and she got checks for each of her kids. This guy, at 28, has never been verified – there's nothing wrong with him. But he is still getting a check every month, has never had a job of any kind, and refuses to get job training because that means his 'benefits will be cut'. This guy is screwed for life and we have a whole generation of young people who've been brought up on this and will never have any sense of work ethic or values. You can't teach someone like this the value of working and pride. It doesn't register that in order to get Social Security someday, you must have done something to put money into it. You aren't owed it 'just because'. I think that everyone on these programs need to be re-checked every year or two by a different doctor and if they do not show signs of profound disability, they need to be forced to get a job and no more benefits.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  132. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Robbing Peter to pay Paul. what a novel concept. People should keep in mind that beginning with Ronald Reagan until Obama's election; there's been a republican president for 20 of those years. The 8 years of Clinton actually produced a surplus. Republicans are the spend-a-holics. Go by the facts, not the politican spin of lower government spending and taxes, they're untruthful.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  133. Richard Texas

    You know Jack if I were to go out to my bank walk up and take thousands of dollars of other peoples money out of the till I would be arrested tried and jailed. Isn't that exactly what the government did to Social Security? They took money that was not theirs to take?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  134. sheldon, Deloraine, Manitoba, Canada

    Remember when W and Gore debated SS surplus from 2000. It was going to in a lock box according to each man. Endless references by both to lock box which became fodder for the media. I guess someone forgot to actually lock the box!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  135. alex badme

    Its easy, just keep raising the debt ceiling until the whole country is bankrupt. Print more money. keep buying more votes. Pelosi, Reid, Frank, are losers and we are letting them kill this great country

    February 5, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  136. Brian

    I see a real accountability issue here, if your receiving SS now, where were all your reform efforts over the past 30 years of your life in order to sure up the Social Security program. Goverment is the voice of the people, and these generations allowed politicians to run wild while paying no attention. Now it will fall in the lap of the younger generation who were even born yet to be asleep at the wheel. SS was meant to pay for those who outlived the average lifespan, and to cover the difference between their retirement plans and their extended life. At the time the bill was drafted, 65 was close to the average age. We are living longer then ever now and those receiving are going to receive more then they paid. I would raise the withdraw date to 75, instead of forcing your grandchildren to pay for past generations mistakes.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  137. Jim

    Congress has set themselves up as a self serving elite. They have their own retirement plan so they do not feel the pain of the American people.

    The game has been bring home federal dollars to their districts, (pork) win order to secure reelection. I blame the American people for being dumb.

    Go ahead people, suffer through your golden years. Blame Bush if it makes you feel better. You are gonna get what you deserve.

    Good luck.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  138. Barry

    @Ralph from Carterville Illinois: I agree Repubs don't have 'fiscal responsibility.' But, can you honestly say with any shred of seriousness or intelligence after the last year that the Dems do? Bottom line is when those of us who have actually planned our retirement (i.e. via 401k, Roth, etc) get to that point and the powers-that-be see that we have already looked out for ourselves, they will pass us over and give SS to someone else, thereby giving us hard-working folks that actually plan a retroactive 6.25% tax increase (over howmany ever years we paid in). Face it, big governement ultimately results in punishment for planning and hard-work and reward for failure and stupidity...

    February 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  139. A. Smith, Oregon

    This is the hidden issue which the entire Republican Party has been actively attacking since the Ronald Reagan era. Namely and specifically the removal of the entitlement programs known as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    Notice all of the talking points over and over again that America cannot afford Social Security entitlements, America cannot afford Medicare payments. Over and over again, the News Media sounds like the Republican Party's talking points.

    Offing the Social Security entitlement is the holy grail for the Republican party.

    Everyone noticed that Bush jr. found plenty of money for funding two foreign wars after borrowing it from China and gutting all essential federal spending on public safety, federal highways, library's, schools, dams, canals, harbors etc. etc.

    Money is not the problem, the problem is the distinct philosophical difference that exists with Anti-Entitlement lawmakers in the Republican Party vs Entitlement lawmakers in the Democratic Party.

    The Republican Party gutted America's surplus specifically to destroy these federal entitlements down the road under a Democratic Administration.

    I hope senior citizens on Social Security and relying on Medicare realize the nefarious hands of the Republican Party in this fiasco.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  140. Jeff

    I find it rather odd that you view repaying IOU's as a bailout. I never realized that when I pay a debt I'm actually bailing out the lender. I just thought I was paying what I owed.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  141. Lilarose in Bandon, OR

    First of all, ALL members of Congress should lose their health insurance benefits (what they have now and Medicare when they are eligible). This should be until the rest of us have similar plans.

    Hey, Senator Sexy Brown! That would apply to you, too!

    As to the question, I have another question. Who is responsible for the IOU's you talk about, Mr. Cafferty? Specifically, who took my social security monies? What was done with it?

    I would go after these people first.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  142. Nick San Diego

    The voters followed the Pied Piper for 8 years, waving the flag and foaming at the mouth for revenge . Did'nt matter that Iraq, had nothing to do with 911. So we spent the surplus and went into debt and now we wake up to this. And still I read comments blaming Obama. God please save us from ourselves.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  143. Nancy - Tulsa, OK

    And the people who mismanaged Social Security wonder why we're so reluctant to accept their version of health care?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  144. Moby

    Jack, Its simple. Take back the 3 trillion we gave the banks and put it in social security.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  145. John Lindlof

    This is not a "C" or "W" or "O" problem, it's an endemic Washington problem. The politicians in Washington don't have our best interests at heart, they have their own best interests at heart, that's why there is wasteful pork barrel spening. What we need is a Constitutional amendment that will protect SS contributions and earmark them ONLY for SS purposes and nothing else. No more borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. We need a lock on the SS safe deposit box so Congress can no longer rob from it.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  146. mary

    It's simple, Jack. Raise the Social Security Tax. It hasn't been raised in years.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  147. Nick

    There's a social security surplus? That's good news to me. Last I heard, Generation Y wasn't supposed to get a dime of social security money.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  148. Mark

    Jack,

    The Mayans talked about a realignment or spiritual rebirth in 2012. What I hope that means is that Washington finally succumbs to the political quagmire that has been building in our government so we can emerge as a country of prosperity with less greed, corruption and no wars. Then we will have a solvent social security and medicare fund, until then I remain a doomsdayer. By the way don't get me going about means testing.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  149. Carole, Flowery Branch, Ga.

    Well BIG DAMN SURPRISE THERE! Nobody's working so tere's no $$ coming in to the fud! Well, they founf the billions for the bankers and traders, they etter damn well find it for us Seniors too!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  150. robert wonders

    it just shows you how all americans live, spent now, pay later. It was at one time that the people who serverd this country, loved this country. Now its all money ,they get paid full pay, for the remainer of there lives, after serving just a term in office.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  151. Gary Brutsch

    The SS fund has become a financial vehicle to generate votes. We could turn this financial fiasco around if we closely defined elegiable participants. Many of us have donated to SS for decades. For the gov to spend my dedicated funds on a polital pet project should be illegal.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  152. Cliff Glass - East Rockaway, NY

    Jack,

    How about collecting the money from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who pronounced the Clinton-era budget surpluses as injurious to economic health ?
    We could garnish the royalties on his recent bokks, that is if any have been sold.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  153. Bud Rupert, Reston, VA

    Jack – I usually have a thought or idea on your questions but I have to say on this one – I'm lost for words.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  154. Nick D. Neighbour

    Jail-Time!
    Nick. N.
    Pasadena. CA.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  155. Rhea, Los Angeles

    I think that the pension plan for Congress should be dissolved and the funds held by that plan be turned over to Social Security. Then make it mandatory for Congress to contribute to and participate in the same Social Security plan that we have.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  156. Lillian Norgren

    It was the fools in government who raped the Social Security Fund, so government should replace that money...and quit adding MORE social programs to the Social Security Fund.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  157. Jim

    This is so typical of people who are temporary employees. Our elected officials are as shortsighted as a teenager. This program should have been funded from the beginning. Remember, reelect no one.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  158. Rick ......Port St Lunie,Fl

    Hi Jack,
    It is all time to get out our guns and transform this country back to what it was at its inception.You can vote this party out and you can vote that party out and unfortunately nothing will change. I never thought that i would type this but it is true. The United States of America has to change the way it operates and it has to change drastically. Drastic measures take drastic means.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  159. Ron in Minnesota

    Seems to me that it's theft and someone in the government should go to jail for stealing money from the Social Security.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  160. Ben in Maryland

    Take it out of the pensions of current and past members of Congress

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  161. rena hutchins, kingman az

    Thank you Jack for bringing this up, retirees are not on entitlements when on social security........we paid and they, (govt) took the money that was put aside for us.........all would be fine if they would have kept thier sticky fingers off it.
    Solution, make them pay it back.........it is not a bailout it is an IOU that needs to be paid.........Yea, Too simple , right?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  162. Patricia/Georgia

    The government who did the least was the last administration. Many promises were made to people on many things and nothing was done. This is a disgraceful situation and it is my hope that our President will address this. We old people need this money.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  163. Paul

    Those surpluses were used by Republicans, not Democrats. Also, it was Bush/Cheney who tried to push through tying Social Security to the Stock Market. Social Security would be at zero today, if they had gotten away with that. So, the solution is obviously to penalize those who squandered it, which might have been technically illegal. Levy an enormous tax on all registered Republicans to fund the lost surplus. It was their choice, let them pay the price for their egregious actions.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  164. Don

    Every politician that has dipped his grubby mitts into the Social Security funds should be outted, charged under the governments own Waste, Fraud, and Abuse, system. Tried and convicted, and kicked out of office. Washington politicians have a complete disregard for the American public and are only concerned with their own advancement.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  165. Joe Travis

    Jack,
    I am asking for my IOU, do not blame President Obama for generations stealing from my Social Security Fund. As soon as the current administration goes to payback what is owed I can see the naysayers of the Republican Party saying this should never be done. Why, because paying out on what is owed to Social Security is money that is desperately needed in an era of executive bonuses that could easily take care of this money difference.
    Joe, Binghamton, NY
    Oh yes, since when did CNN talk about the millions of unemployed who were never counted during the Bush administration?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  166. Tom

    How can we ever become solvent again? The democrats and republicans like to spend, but neither has the balls to pay for their purchases with tax increases. Americans need to learn you don't get a lot for little money.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  167. Tom

    re.: SS
    Jack, SS was fully funded at the end of the Clinton presidency. The Bush regime squandered these funds – and Obama is let holding the empty bucket.

    Bottom line is this: the governments should NOT have the authority to used SS funds for anything but benefit payment. This MUST be changed immediately – perhaps this is as important a change as healthcare has been positioned as

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  168. Deborah Holden

    The government has bailed out everyone but the Pope yet we are not getting an increase in our Social Security Benefits this year. Being a Baby-boomer, it is time they bail us out, we are the largest demographics, if we don't have money to spend, there goes the economy. The government does not want to piss off the Baby-boomers.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  169. Pati Collins

    Squandering is what the gov does best, both REP & DEMS. At this point, it is a bit like the old adage of closing the barn door after the horse has been stolen!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  170. David Ollman

    Jack,

    It's not the government, it's Congress. If you or I managed our business the way Congress manages the nation's business, specifically Social Security, by co-mingling funds, we would be in jail which is probably where most of Congress belongs.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  171. Durk Brownlee

    It would be nice, if the government is going to continue robbing Peter to pay Paul, that it take from the defense fund (which seems to never be in the red). I'd like to see Congress pass a law that we no longer borrow from these securities. The same thing is happening in the State of Illinois with teacher's pension funds. It's criminal.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  172. Dean in California

    Jack this is an easy question to answer. The government needs to pay back the surplus they borrowed from social security with interest. This is what they do to citizens who do not pay their income taxes. The federal government should be treated no different than you or I...:-)

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  173. Duane in Lock Haven PA

    Cut the social security tax in hafe and take the cap off. If you make under $200,000 a year this, along with not taking income taxes off payroll checks of the 70% of American workers who John Boehner and others say don't pay income taxes any way. This would give them more to spend helping small business grow,creating more jobs. More people working = more money going into social security. Gee it would be good for the economy also.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  174. algore's revenge

    Perhaps if the news media weren't making fun of UberNerd Al Gore and following the Republican lead in ridiculing him for distorting his words about the provenence of the Internet, perhaps you could have looked into his proposal about a Social Security lockbox.

    Instead, everyone went out and tried to have a beer with the Boy Prince who robbed the money from Al Gore's proposed lock box and gave it to all his buddy's.

    You people are like a little kid soccer game, 22 kids following the ball instead of playing long. Shameful.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  175. Ken McConnell

    Perhaps we should ask our elected officials in DC if they would be agreeable to give up all pay raises to help with the SS fund, since they were the ones who have placed the IOU's! Another example how Washington is out of touch with reality.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  176. fred davis exiled az

    Come on! Social Security was raided to pay for 8 years of bush mismanagement especially two worthless wars and deep tax cuts to the very wealthy so they wouldn't need to pay their fair share.They are really the ones with the most to protect.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  177. sandy isenberg

    Have congress,senate, and government employees pay into it.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  178. patricia Albuquerque, N.M.

    We should have Chinese style justice System.....Execute ....the culprits that spent the social Security surplus

    February 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  179. Mike

    As I understand it, the looming Social Security deficit is tied into the new 14 billion dollar debt ceiling. It seems radical but practical to do one of two things to fix the lack of money. First, either arrange for our debtor countries to forgive our debt, as we forgive theirs, or just outright declare bankruptcy so the debt goes to $0.00. Secondly, and more favorable, is to arrange for the 70-some nations that the U.S. is treaty-bound to defend to pay down our debt for us, so long as promise not to borrow any more. But leave out the extorting overtones of the situation.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  180. Jim Blaney

    Jack,
    I have been contributing to Social Security since I was 14(44 years ago}! As an adult, I worked at a well paying job at NBC and paid the max amount every year fior 21 years. I am on SS disability from an accident on the job. I could have taken that money, invested it and would have funds to live and pay my bills on time these days. I did contribute the maximum into my 401k and , thakfully, put most of it into annuities before the crash. I am unsure about my future nowadays.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  181. Donald Cameron, NC

    Why do anything about it now?
    The Americann people have sat back and kept their mouths shut while they allowed Congress and Presidents to raid this fund to cover their budget short-falls through careless and wreckless spending.
    Why hold anyone accojntable in Washington when every voting age American is as much to blame?
    Not until the voters of this country shed their selfish, apathetic attitudes and force change in Washington will this country prosper.
    At the current rate, I don't foresee because of the voters' past responses and nothing but scare tactics and hot air from both political parties. This country is in a tailspin, yet NOONE wants to be held accountable or responsible for it!!!
    When the pot runs dry maybe then voters will arise, but don't hold your breathe. Retirees and baby-boomers prepare to spend the rest of your live working because you didn't VOTE!!!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  182. Ray Victory Vero Beach, FL

    We can start by getting back the bogus Bush tax cuts by raising the income taxes on the recipients thereof and reducing benefits to those recipients of social security who have other incomes over $50k. The program was designed as income insurance for those who would otherwise have little or nothing in their old age. It was never meant to be an across the board entitlement.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  183. Scott

    Time to let Social Security sink. This problem has been known since Reagan, and all the politician did was nothing. I know it hurts, but its best to start reducing the payouts than have no payouts at all.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  184. Charlie

    What's done is done..shouldn't have been, but was. The question is, the future!
    Take the ninety or ninety-five thousand cap off! There are tons of people making well over $95,000 a year, and they don't have to pay social security on allllll that money. So again, big money earners are getting away with not having to pay! If there were no ceiling? ... hmm, that deficit might disappear rather quickly!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  185. Chaney. Louisiana

    We are going to have to let the Bush tax cuts expire, and when the economy gets better the SS funds need to be replaced post haste, also raising taxes is a must....and Congress has got to keep there hands out of these funds.....period.....

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  186. Lucy

    As I understand it the IOU's the goverment owes Soc. Security do earn interest. The only problem is that congress (especially the Republicans) the don't want to use funds to repay the IOU's. Instead they want to make it look like Social Security is failing so they can privatize it for their Wall Street friends.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  187. Dave Keane

    I think what the government did with these surpluses is criminal. Their spending was based purely on immediate political considerations. Their health care is taken care of. Their retirement is taken care of. What gave them the right to spend ours? When will this stop?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  188. Denis Duffy

    It's called fraud in the private sector and you go to jail. Should be the same for government. Jail every single politician who has had a hand in allowing this practice. Start with those in office now and then go back. No statute of limitation. Jail them all. If you don't, they'll just spend us retired folks into penury.

    Denis Duffy
    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  189. Claire Melbourne FL

    How quickly we forget Jack – remember all the jokes and mocking Al Gore was subjected to in the 2000 Presidential Campaign when he kept saying he would put SS in a lockbox away from Congress?
    Oh well – we get what we deserve! Looks like we're going to forget again and elect the Republicans back into power so they can finish the job of destroying our once great nation.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  190. Glenn from St.Petersburg

    Jack, the country can't blame Pres. Obama for this one. It's been happening ever since the beginning of the Bush debacle. Pres, Clinton left a surplus and that can't be disputed. Granted Republicans and Democrats alike have been in a spending frenzy for a long time, but the former administration could have put a stop to it, but, NOPE, they didn't. I just applied for Soc. Sec. and I say it's probably the first bailout that acually is for PEOPLE, CITIZENS, and not banks, corporations, or wall street...in other words, the folks who got us into this mess in the first place.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  191. sean

    Arrest one senator on the floor for squandering money. Charge with criminal activity and watch them fall in line. Somebody need to be made an example of.

    Sean H
    Texas

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  192. Kakky

    Well, you know that if the government bails out Social Security, you can be sure that no one will get a $100 million dollar bonus down the line. The American workers who paid their taxes diligently, on time, each paycheck, should get more than they're already getting now. First and foremost, they should get retroactive cost of living raises which they didn't get in 2010 right after the banks, the investment firms and auto industry were bailed out. Shame on the government for choosing to look the other way for social security recipients!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  193. samwright23

    Easy...Everyone contributes to Social Security but in order to receive you should have to NEED it. There are plenty on Social Security that don't need it.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  194. Steve

    Jack,

    Let's see what the republicans have to say first. No bailout? After all, the first line of people affected by this are many of their base voters. Will the dems be blamed for spending all this money? How about reporting what this money was spent on? I foresee a lot of flip-flopping going on.

    Steve, South Pasadena, CA

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  195. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Paying into social security should be an option and not a benefit or entitlement. As long as it is an entitlement our Government will always feel entitled to squander it away to their benefit.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  196. Michael Dibbert

    The squandering of the social security system, should be treated as an act of treason against the American people. The govt officials never had a legal right to dip their greedy fingers into this fund. And originally your ssn could not be used as a form of ID. It even said so on the card. What happened to that privacy?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  197. Jon

    Congress should pass legislation requiring future contributions, effective 1 October (the next fiscal year), to be held and invested in a manner similar to that done for Federal Employees' retirement funds in the Thrift Savings Plan. This legislation should further require that funds received under the authority of the Social Security Act may only be used for benefits administered under the same, without exception. Programs having benefited from the surplus should be analyzed and those which are no longer necessary, or which are not a priority for the nation, should be terminated, assets liquidated, and all remaining and recovered funds moved to this new TSP-style fund. Even the Postal Service is required to make payments into its employees' retirement fund in a protected manner, so too should Social Security funds be protected.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  198. thomas reilly

    Jack, the agencies that borrowed the social security funds should be required to pay them back.For example,if the funds were used to support wars the military budget should be adjusted to reflect a payback to the social securirty fund.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  199. Tim

    There is only one answer. Social Security has been robbed. Just as surely as if someone had entered my home and taken the money from my wallet with a gun to my head.

    The principal and interest should be replaced immediately and never touched again. Barring that, I should receive everything plus interest that I have contributed over the years of my working life. Every penny plus interest.

    Perhaps we will see a class action suit arise . . . .

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  200. Joe Travis

    We should stop paying on these crazy foreign wars. Will another 100 Billion Dollars improve the Social Security Bank account. A dedicated account for the people, by the people, not for personal whims.

    Joe , Binghamton, NY

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  201. Deborah Holden

    My solution is: let the government and our officials live on our incomes and benefits, see how fast it will take to straighten out the economy; fair is fair.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  202. Bill

    And now the Idiots we have allowed to run us into the ground, wants to give Social Security rights to Illegal Aliens , want don't they understand about the word ILLEGAL.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  203. Pete - Augusta Ga

    Jack –

    Simple – blend Social Security in with the Congressional/Federal Employee Retirement Fund – they wouldn't dare let that go broke as Congress draws their 100% salary pension from it.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  204. Leslie

    We should blame the Supreme Court, they decided the 2000 presidential election, and if we would have had a President Gore, that money would be in a lock box...I remember back when he talked about that all the time, nobody thought it was important, ha!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  205. Eric The Blue

    What can be done? That ship sailed when Congress ignored Al Gore's advice about putting Social Security funds in a "lock box".

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  206. Steve in New Mexico

    Al Gore and the "Social Security Lock Box" were a laugh line on the comedy shows during the 2000 Presidential campaign. Who's laughing now? Where would we be now if the surpluses had been locked away for the last ten years?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  207. Gary Lemmons

    For decades Congress has raided the surplus monies earned by Social Security funds and used them to pay for other projects. Now, Social Security is running out of money. In any other situation, the Congressmen and Congresswomen, who voted to "steal" these funds, would go to jail. Hey, that not a bad idea! Wonder how some of those fools would look in stripes!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  208. Ron

    I can't believe the media is just finding this out. The Social Security "Trust" fund has been raided for years. If managed like any other resposible caretaker, the exess funds would have been invested in our business enterprises creating jobs and earning a return on the Trust fund.

    No wonder we have a furious population.

    Ron

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  209. clint

    I'm in my early 30's and completely understand that there will be NO money for me in 35 plus years.... just please give my generation jobs so we can live for today.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  210. scott from atlanta

    Let's just get Halliburton to return the profits from cheney's illegal war. That should be plenty to shore up SS.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  211. str84wird in Sedona, AZ

    I was raised to believe that 'charity begins at home' and we have to take care of our own before we can take care of anyone else.
    It's time to stop rebuilding Iraq and leave it up to them to take care of their own. We just can't save the world and let our own home go to hell in a handbasket. No matter how much we spend, we can't save the world anyway...no matter what!

    If we concentrated our dollars on fixing the mess Bush and his rich cronies made of this country, we could keep our elderly from having to choose between meds and food...and keep them alive to enjoy their golden years and at least have 'enough' to live on without worry and fear.
    We've worked hard for a long time and paid into SS, it's a crime that it won't be there for us.
    I'm beginning to remember too much about 'soylent green'....this is getting scary for my husband and I who are 60 now and seriously trying to figure out how we'd live if he retired in 5 years.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  212. David

    To fix social security we need to raise the Social Security Wage Base to above the current $106,800 level and bring back Al Gore's "Lockbox" to keep social security seperate from the rest of the federal budget.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  213. jim Blevins

    Stop invading other countries. Eliminating expenditures on discretionary wars would have meant that we could have left the surplus alone. Now it has to be replaced with interest. Bringing all American soldiers back onto American soil would provide far more than enough money to do this.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    February 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  214. Tom

    If a private company had done this with their employees retirement funds the executives would be spending their retirement years in jail. It is too bad the politicians in Washington can't meet the same fate. Even the so called surplus during the Clinton Administration wasn't really a surplus. They used the Social Security funds too. Without those funds there would have been a deficit.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  215. Jim

    Immediate recall for every senator & congressman currently in office.
    Eliminate EVERY senatorial & congressional expence account. When they raised taxes and recuced benefits several years ago, it was sold to the taxpaying public as fixing SS thru at leat untill 2027.
    I don't recall voting on them being able to IOU anything related to SS.
    No incumbents! As for AIG bonuses, dosn't matter they were contractual in 2007. All contract are off when you fail. Taxpayers should never have to foot the bill for bonuses without being ask. The contract the elected officials have with the people they represent has been thrown in the trash!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  216. jimtx

    Just write me a check for everything I paid in SS tax over the years with interest and they don't owe me another dime. I'll just take the $2 million or so and spend it wisely.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  217. Joe CE

    You are right that the present crisis in Social Security funding is due to putting the money in the general fund and spending it wityhout paying intrest. Foryunately, the solution is simple. Place future contributions in a dfedicated fund tha can be invested in US securities AND eliminate the cap but keeping maximumn benefits at the same rate that would have applied under the present system. It is a WISE investment for those of us making more than the cap – especially the rich – since a stable society is necessary to enjoy wealth..

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  218. Audrey

    We have to get serious about the mishandling of money in DC..it seems to happen all the time! If it's not one Fund it's another.

    This is stealing and it is a CRIME! A Federal Crime. Congress will have to prosecute anyone who touches our Social Security Funds – punishable to the full extent of the Law.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  219. Mike

    Stop the raiding of the social security trust fund!
    As a SS retiree I get no COLA but the cost of living went up.
    Thanks to the bush administration the rich got richer and I and many other middle class folks got poorer.

    Mike
    Northfield, Vt.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  220. Delano

    One of the reasons the SS system is tanking is the fact the there are many people on SS Disability who are not disabled. I know of several in my tiny village who are "disabled" but I see them working as well as the next guy. It seems once a doctor confirms a condition then that is it for the rest of their life..they can collect the $ and work under the table too!! Not Fair!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  221. edw flaherty

    JACK.
    Nothing can or will be done as long as WASHINGTON remains WASHINGTON. Iif there is a nickle they can find or borrow they will spend it. The only solution is to oust them all and start with a totally new Congress in 2011!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  222. Edward C. Martin

    Govt. should pay back the SS funds taken, with no intention of paying back for decades. Had I taken funds from my bank the way the Govt. has taken from SS Fund, I would be jailed! Maybe Congress should be, too. Better still is to have term limits for all elected and appointed officials, beginning with the Supreme Court. (I am ma retired educator.)

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  223. Gigi Oregon

    They need to replace all monies borrowed with interest. That was our monies they used. If I/you took that monies It would be called embezzlement. Just how much is our government getting away with? When they set the example of dishonesty the nation of people will become dishonest...and sadly corporate America has done just that.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  224. William Richards

    Jack, you mention government as though it were some type of living, thinking, feeling entity. The congress, who members are actually our employees, sent to Washington to manage our government, have devolved into a group of partisan thieves whose primary and in most cases, only interest is in staying in office for life so as to steal as much as possible.
    To expect this group do "do the right thing" is to live in a fantasy world.
    If you leave a morsel of cheese unattended in a room full of rats, guess what happens.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  225. David Ost

    Jack–this is silly. The social security surplus is in government-backed securities, just like our debt to foreigners, and is just as safe. Did you expect it to be sitting in a shoebox? Or in one of those too-big-to-fail banks? Or maybe invested in AIG or General Motors? Social Security's going negative for one simple reason: the recession, and a lot fewer folks working to pay for those who are retired. Fix the recession, and Social Security's fine for decades–or at least with only minor fixes. Let's stop fearmongering about Social Security, and start looking at Medicare, where the unfunded drug benefit is likely to cause bigger and more immediate problems.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  226. Vick , Orange Park, Fl

    Jack,
    If it happened at a company the federal government would bring criminal charges against the upper management! Now if the President call for funding to keep it solvent, the Republicans and Tea Party Conservatives will say the Administration is spending again! I think I will look into moving to Australia!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  227. ya

    Charge the republicans more because the spent it all. Not only did the put us in debt the spent the social security money and set up the country to run at a deficit.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  228. Ray [Maryland]

    Jack how come our government borrows from China and has to pay interest, but when they borrow from Social Security or any other program they do it interest free. Company's and Unions do the same thing all we need is for them to pay INTEREST AND PRINCIPAL back and it would be in a lot better shap.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  229. Jackie

    Tell me why the gov can't print the cash, put it in the SS fund under real safeguards. What in the economy would change to cause inflation?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  230. Leslie

    Oh, and to Jeff above, we pay into social security with every check, that is NOT an entitlement, it's being paid back with interest!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  231. Paul

    Jack, I don't hold out much hope for our Democracy. But, I believe in just a few short years we will rip ourselves apart because of our extreme division and the countries debt will crush us.. Dictatorship we had with bush, Obama trying to dig us out of bushes debt is considered a socialist.. Socialisiam, communisiam, dictatorship? who knows what we will end up as but this Democracy is a failure. We just haven't realized it yet.
    Paul

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  232. Brenda

    The social security Monies should be credited back to the account. This is stealing from employees and employers of this country.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  233. Dan Leahy

    Gee, let's recall the thunderous ridicule heaped on Al Gore by the media when he called for a lockbox to protect the SS trust fund. Meanwhile, you're pushing BS scare tactics regarding the state of the system. The IOU's backing up SS do earn interest, just like all the IOU's the rest of the government runs on. Are you implying that the US government does not stand behind it's debts? Don't tell China or anyone else who owns government bonds. Quit lying about Social Security.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  234. Tom in Iowa

    If a big corporation had been borrowing money from their employees retirement accounts to pay for other projects the government and american people would be screaming bloody murder. This is no different only it is our own government that is doing it to US.. They need a law that tells them to leave the money alone but it is too late for that now.

    Tom in Iowa

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  235. Richard

    Jack,

    It’s one thing to show us how stupid our government has been but what administration or administrations did that? I’ll bet the Republicans have a real share in this debacle. They would love to see this program fail. Also, let’s remember one thing both political parties are like a flying bird each one represents a wing but It’s the same bird. Let’s cook the bird and fight to have term limits implemented, that’s the only thing we can do to save us.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  236. Danny in Hillsboro, OR

    End the two wars and use that money to secure Social Security surplus.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  237. James Allen

    BS! The IOU's Sloan talks about are U.S. Governemnt Bonds. THERE IS NO TALK OF GOVERNMENT BAILOUT for SS. Just the typical canard from those who want to privatize SS. SS is solvent until at least 2041 by redemption of the Bonds. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities have already reported on the somewhat small fixes that will make SS permanently solvent. More right wing scare tactics.

    James Allen
    Euless, TX

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  238. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    We wouldn't have had this issue if Americans would stop putting foolish and tacky people in our government!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  239. Tony DeFilipps

    Hi Jack. One area that I think most Americans are not aware of is the Social Security Wage Limit. All earnings above $106,800 a year are not subject to Social Security Tax. Someone making $10 million per year pays the same amount of Social Security Tax as someone making $106,800 a year. How can this be justified? Wouldn't this simple and fair step put a big dent in the gap between what is needed to cover Social Security and what is currently generated? Let's start imposing Social Security Tax for everyone on ALL their income. Don't rich people get enough breaks as it is?

    Tony in Miami

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  240. Linda

    The problem is not the "ponzi" scheme nature...at least not until 2037...the problem is the $2.5 trillion paid in which should be in a lockbox but is actually already spent. The taxes were raised alot in the '80s because of the future shortfall, but all that just got spent anyway.

    I've learned one thing....the government will spend every $$ they can get their hands on...legally or not....the latest being TARP funds which "Shall" be paid back...until executive order or congress changes the law. So raising SS taxes will do nothing, but let the government spend even more money.

    Throw the bums out!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  241. Clyde

    This is nothing short of criminal! Corporations would be charged with embezzlement and people would go to jail for these same actions, but the gov't is given a pass and continues to steal from us via a social security tax. They force us to pay this as an investment, but this is money we will never see again....unbelievable!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  242. Tony

    You mean they squandered the Trust Fund? I'm flabbergasted! Who knew this could ever happen? Oh wait a minute–I just remembered. Haven't we known this for years, and done nothing but send the same crooked politicians back every election. The financial ills of this country fall back on us all. This is our government and we let them get away with stealing our future.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  243. Linda from KY

    Someone of authority should hunt down the members of Congress and executive branch of the government during this period, remove their plush medical and retirement benefits and force them to live on Medicare and Social Security. However, this would probably be fruitless, as they have amassed fortunes from lobbyists and other special interest groups.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  244. M Humphrey

    Give me the money I have earned. I paid in, now I want what is owed me........ Vote out the incumbants. Clean out all the politians that only care about special interest and certainly not the "We the People"....

    February 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  245. Jane Favor

    In 1961 I entered the work force. This year I turned 65. I worked on the books for 49 years. 1 year ago my son stole OUR company from under me leaving me NO income. No 401Ks – zip, nada, not a damned thing. All I have is my SS income and because I had to take it before age 67 I get a whopping $681 a month. No cost of living increase this year. Tell me please: where can you live in this country on $681 a month? It is armed robbery to take anything out of SS for anything other than SS. And this year the morons in Washington gave themselves a raise and cut SS benefits. Vote ALL of them out. Clean sweep. Start over. Could not possibly be worse.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  246. Bob

    We can fix Social Security by repealing the Regan tax cuts,
    Bob
    Chicago

    February 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  247. Darla

    OMG what next???? Our government needs to be replaced by someone who has a handle on what our country really needs. All government officials should work for free for a year so they might understand what the majority of the people that are out of jobs are experiencing. The way things are going there won't be any social security funds left!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  248. Liberal wing nut

    Get the gov't spending under control and then social security can be replenished.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  249. Mike from Boyne City

    I filed for social security at age 62, thinking that at age 65 that I could work as much as I could. Due to the lack of money, I continued to work from 62 to 64, losing 3 months of payments because I made to much money. How that 4,000 dollars over the $14,000 put me ahead I'll never know. This year, I worked an additional $$500 and had to pay then $199 back. Think they'd have more money if they just let us work at age 62 and beyond, paying our taxes, our medicare, and of course, social security..... no the system is wrong, and no one in office cares......they will not listen, and think that everything is wonderful for us retired, that still must work until we die.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  250. Paul F. Caron

    Jack: Why not deduct the Social Security money squandered from the politicians' salaries? Or better yet, have a special lobying fee. That would bring lots and lots of money.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  251. lucy gerin

    maybe we ought to consider taking some of the benefits and salaries away from the government officials-that should give us some $$$$$-just think if we stopped paying people in public office for maybe 6 months, that we would save alot of money-just a thought

    February 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  252. Jerry

    Here's what we should do Lets make a health care system for everybody in America Illegal or not, all based on the social security system. That should fix everything, Shouldn't it? Or would that make things worse? Jerry/ Iowa

    February 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  253. Jim Green, TX, www.Inclusivism.org

    Jack, The question re Social Security is whether we consider this to be an important social program–the American governent has always found the money to pay for programs they see as important–and unfortunately, over the past 30 years–wars and prisons have taken precedent over what is in the best interest of the American people...so the short answer is: If we want to keep Social Security we will need to raise taxes on the rich......

    February 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  254. S.S. recipiant Va.

    Fine heavily every legislature who voted for a budget that used S.S. money. It won't help the present problem but it might keep the legislatures from stealing funds from S.S. in the future. I am afraid the only way to save S.S. now is to raise the limit on the amount one pays taxes on.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  255. CINDY

    The Government needs to be booted out of the banking business, ASAP

    February 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  256. Ken in NC

    Sue congress and place leins against their properties and checking accounts. Take the funds and place them back into the SS Trust Fund.

    Now that the dreaming is over, stop robbing the fund and start replacing the stolen funds.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  257. Chuck Wright

    Jack,
    This one is easy. Create a fund for SS payback. Tax the assets, at a high rate' of all of those who have reaped the benefit of all of the bubbles and who also keep sending our children off to war and squandering wealth on the hardware and fuel to asuage fear! Those that have assets are the ones the ripped off the SS funds. Maybe an extra tax on current and past Governmental leaders who bathe in special plans for the "leaders?".

    February 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  258. Jack Taylor

    Great question, Jack. Although we think of Social Security as a "savings" account, perhaps we need to add a means test in order to be eligible for benefits. Perhaps if your other income is N times larger than the max benefit, you shouldn't get anything, or at least less than you do now. A phase-in would be needed to make it politically possible.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  259. Ann----Alaska

    SS money needs to be spent on SS and nothing else. The Goverment takes it to pay for just about everything else. There was plenty of money in the SS account to pay for SS to those who earnd it. Let them put it back and keep their hands off it !!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  260. rob fritz

    Jack;
    anyone with halve a brain would know that SS is the largest ponzie scheme on the planet, actually a real pyramid scheme if you make a payout diagram. so the question is why is bernie madoff in jail without congress for a cell mate?
    at 48 yrs of age I still don't and never have expected a penny from SS

    February 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  261. William J. Connor

    A petition should be started requiring Pelosi and Reid be made accountable for the Social Security Status.
    You are the first person I have ever heard from the media making the TRUE statements about how Social Security has been and is being mishandled by our Elected Officials.
    Ron Paul introduced a billed protecting the Trust Fund, but it must have fallen into the crack which most responsibles bills fall into, unless bless by head of the House and Senate.
    Time for Citizens to take action. Call your representative and really lay it on the line "you want action and you want it NOW"
    There hasn't been any "ACCOUNTABILITY" and there certinally hasn't been any "CHANGE"

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  262. John Weatherly

    Lockbox!..where I have I heard this before? Means testing would be a start (those who do not NEED it, do not get it) and remove the limit on income that keeps the wealthy from being taxed on anything above the current limit. This was supposed to be a safety net, not a retirement account.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  263. Corey from Atlanta

    Jack, we should place our wasteful government managers in handcuffs and lead them in a single file line to the nearest federal prison......like we did with the guys from ENRON! But to be honest, Americans are too content with our so-called "freedoms" that this too shall pass, and the fleecing will continue! You know what will fix it? Term limits!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  264. Tom Kerr

    We've squandered everything else..our standing in the world as an economic beacon, our standing as a moral beacon (look how we treated Native and African Americans for 200 years), our standing as environmental leaders (establishing the National Parks and Wildlife Refuge Systems)...why should we not squander financial security for the retired and the elderly and the deserving? It's all a pattern...a disturbing pattern. We are lost.
    Tom
    Cleveland Heights, Ohio

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  265. J.S.W.

    Social Security was originally intended to be a fund for American workers. During the past 30-40 years, it has been used to give SSI and other welfare payments to non-workers, and disabled children.

    The federal government needs to repay the fund, and establish a different type of program for non-workers. This would keep the program solvent, and prevent recipients from paying taxes until they die. Officials need to tell the truth about what happened to Social Security, and stop blaming recipients who paid for the right to use it.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  266. Anna in Itasca, Ill

    Maybe Ben can send couple of trillions of dollars to bail out Social Security and we can cut retirement payouts for retired members of house and senate and give that money to Social Security. Why do we make people that pay into the fund suffer and people 6that squander the fund we reward.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  267. Will Stacy

    Jack--after 35 years of employment in the same large corporation, I was dismissed because of this economy. For my entire working experience I was told, indeed, promised that Social Security would be there when I needed it. I have been counting on it for my survival. I will finally start receiving my first SS check in April of 2010 at the age of 63 years. I need Social Security to help get through the rest of my days on this rock.
    Will Stacy
    Greenville, Ohio

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  268. David

    Read all the emails above and you will find out exactly why we have a proble, with Social Security. The majority of people have no clue about how the system really even works and it is all about ME. Nobody is going to support any change until it is a benefit to them. If it doesn't benefit everyone equally then it becomes a battle. Increasing taxes on the upper end causes problems and giving benefits to those who didn't earn them causes problems.
    The whole system should be blown up and changed to indivdual accounts with a required percentage to be put in to it from income. Then basic conservative investments should be the only options. Then if you screw it up it is on you. How about some personal responsibility???

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  269. Tom Mikoy

    To relieve the Social Security surplus deficit, I suggest to immediately eliminate former elected politicians medical benefits and immediately require individual contributions to monthly medical insurance premiums for medical, prescription drugs, vision & dental to a range of $300 to $400 a month. Certainly this is relevant to federal legislators and senior staff members and all their staffs should be expected to contribute to their personal or family plans to a level comparable to levels of salaried employees of the U.S. auto industry (for example.) Social Security issue or not, the time is here now for major adjustments to be made in this very expensive job benefit area. A close evaluation should also be made to pension plans currently in place as far as the contribution arrangements and other higher level perks of these positions.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  270. Edward C. Martin

    Govt. should pay back funds taken from SS for decades, and with no intention of paying back. Limit terms of all elected and appointed officials beginning with the Supreme Court would help this act of stealing, hopefully.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  271. Kevin in CA

    Turn about is fair play – squander military spending to cover the social security shortfall ... the government version of "Whack-a-mole".

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  272. Burt, Sun Lakes, Az

    How about publishing the names of the polititions who voted to take the funds each time it came up for a vote. The voting public would then know who to vote out of office in the next election.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  273. Russ

    jack, think about it. The money comes in to SSA, and what are they supposed to do with it? Hide it under the commissioners mattress till time to pay it out? What they do with it is LOAN it the government ie. they buy US Treasury Bills with it. Those pay interest. When they need to pay it out, they cash them in. Sure, the fund is full of nothing but IOUs, but those are Government bonds. At least they weren't Wall Street stocks!!!
    The fact that the Gov. accounting treats the money SSA gets in as income to the gov. so that the deficient looks smaller doesn't change the fact that SSA holds Gov. debt just like China does and the Gov. will have to redeem that debt eventually. Non of this of course addresses the fact that more is now going out than comes in. That's another issue.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  274. tom mills

    Jack,

    Regarding governments mishandling of social security, we should hold all those in office over the years who had a hand in how that money was used, From state representatives to any president who served during the squandering of social security funds. We withhold 15% of their total earnings, past and present, and put it back into the social security fund.

    And by the way, how about we take away the power of congress to vote on their own pay raises and put that power back in the hands of the people. We simply put it on the ballot: raise; no raise and reduction in salary due to poor performance.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  275. Peggy Spokane,WA

    We have little recourse at this point. Huge defict, huge unemployment means there are about a million less people paying into the system. The jobs that people are getting pay less than the jobs that were lost. Therefore less is paid into the system. The baby boomers will outlive most other generations and there are fewer youngsters coming behind to keep the system sustainable, even it they can find work.
    Those that look at social security as a handout, seem to forget that every day they work and pay FICA taxes, they are paying for this system.
    Those same people are going to be screaming the loudest when they are ready to receive this benefit and it is not there,
    The politicians have never been able to leave this fund alone, because in their view America was too big to fail. Now here we are as a debtor nation with an aging population and it seems we are on a slippery slope down the hill (pardon the pun)! I guess all they can do is bail it out again with play money, or everyone better clean up the extra bedroom for gramma and grampa!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  276. Tonto

    Yup, bleed it dry. Give our seniors an IOU. All the money we have put into it will be lost and I am sure no restitution will be made. Ya know, back in 1775 this type of stuff did not not go unpunished. In 1776 our ancestors designed a constitution to prevent this kinda thing. Time for another "Tea Party" if you ask me.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  277. A. F. Nariman

    February 5, 2010

    Dear Jack,

    Your outrage at nth Trust funds being looted is welcome, if many decades late. In 2003-2004, I participated in the Bush Commission to Save Social Security, as a citizen. My ideas were lauded by the liason from Social Security to the Commission, Michael Anzick (I think).

    The "fix" put in my The Greenspan Commission and Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O' Neill left the barn door open – they doubled FICA taxes (regressive tax), while using the 'surplus" created by the Commission to fund "Progressive" Income Tax cuts (Supply-side tax cuts).

    This has been the greatest redistribution of wealth from the working poor and middle class to the wealthy – just the opposite of what Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto and their ilk yelp about on that "Faux News" channel.

    Thank you.

    A. F. Nariman
    Williamsville, NY

    February 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  278. A. Carsten

    As an expatriot who left the country in the early 90's I was well aware of the robbery of our SS benefits by a greedy and unethical congress (both parties). The chickens are finally coming home to roost. When will the American public awaken to the theft of their savings, their futures, and their freedoms from the people elected to the Congress who supposedly are devoted to "public service"?

    February 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  279. Mark, Bradenton,FL

    This is why I am saying we need a revolt in this country. We keep paying these taxes and all they do is take the money and run.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  280. Brett - Denver

    The government should make up the Social Security deficit by giving illegal aliens a form of citizenship. In exchange for that, they would be charged hefty surcharges for breaking our laws all these years, which could be put into the Social Security fund. And for further punishment, they would not be allowed to collect Social Security when they retire.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  281. Dimslie

    I notice that several posters have suggested that Congressional pensions and healthcare should be lumped in with SS and Medicare. That's the best idea yet. While you wouldn't think that would affect their behavior, it apparently would. Witness the way they push for pay raises no matter what the economy. Excellent idea. Do that and the rest will take care of itself.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  282. paul

    Take all pay & benifits from the gongress & put It back In to ss for at least 20 years, see how they like a cut In pay.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  283. Charm

    As someone who just saw 80% of my "promised" pension benefit slashed due to the economy, it scares me to think social security won't be around when I retire in 15 years. I think that all the repaid bailout funds should be paid into the SS fund immediately and..people should do their fair share and pay taxes. Also, the way pension programs are funded should be restructed. It really bothers me that after 21 years of employment with the same company, someone who makes the same salary as I do, but with less seniority and who is closer to retirement, is fully vested at a higher benefit than I am! It makes no sense to me.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  284. Rob rinehart

    I have read most of these 101 comments not sure what I can add except I worked 45 years for 9 companies in the same industry .
    I liked what I did and going elswere would be one great paycut,
    but we wife and 5 kids lasted out did a lot of odd jobs but we made it
    not sure how. I am now retired and without s.s. I have no idea how we are going to exist!!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  285. Citizen DON

    about our lacking of funding for social security . America's NAFTA has
    not been modified to meet the changes past it's signing date. Corporations 15
    pluss years ago look to other countries for less wages, little if any
    enviromental costs, same with employee benifits. All this was to keep the labor
    costs down to keep the products cost down. So coporations could build goods
    overseas but charge us a price as if the same goods were built right here in the
    USA. I understand that things have changed and our money depends on a global
    economy to survive and that's fine. What isn't though is the fact that all those
    jobs that left were jobs were as employees paid normaly a weekly fee out of
    thier checks to fund Social Security. For those losses we need to amend NAFTA by
    figuring out how much Social Security has lost and create a stippen for foriegn
    products sold here. They money could be paid right at the shipping ports before
    put on our shelves for sale. It's not a tax but a stippen to pay back those lost
    monies and pay for the number of current lost jobs and S/S needs funds badly and
    thats a big reason why were in a pickle with S/S being underfunded. It would not
    hinder production of foriegn goods produced for us. Perhaps this will increase
    sales not only in the US but world wide . While on that subject . Why after the
    GAS surge of 2008 which went away since ,didn't pricers for goods comedown ?
    Goods skyrocketed in price and stayed during our bailout and tarp and doesn't
    come come still ,even with our job loss rates . Greed! That's how jobs get
    created ,bring the cost down people buy more goods and more people are hired to
    make more goods . We need to stop the greed and cap or have manufacturing
    selfcontrol as to create more jobs ,goods and money for all, Citizen Don

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  286. Fred

    The US has invaded and occupied lots of countries in the last 40 years. Recent military adventures have been "off budget". Can't think of any that have turned out very well. Maybe those wars were conducted with borrowed money from Social Security surpluses? And retirees and retirees to be are on the hook for the deficits? I guess the US will have to go the way of some Third World countries, default on our debts to China, Viet Nam (yes Viet Nam), default on the money borrowed from citizens who believed Social Security would be there for them when they contributed for 40 or so years of work. In the meantime, my congressman's earmarks are worthy, your congressman's are not, and wealthy farmers get government subsidies.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  287. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    Tax the people who benefited from dipping into Social Security fund. You know who they are. They all make over a million a year and cry about other people getting benefits.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  288. Dr. Richard Keeley Th.D

    Mr. Cafferty, If I had of been in charge of these surplus funds for SS, I would be up on charges of misappropriation of funds.....and so would everyone else unless they had a Government job. It seems to me if you are in an elected office, you have immunity from the law that would accuse, convict and jail the ordinary tax payer...

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  289. Harry Butcher - Baltimore, MD

    Hi Jack,

    The government officials that caused the problem should be held responsible for restoring that "borrowed" money to the Social Security Fund. I remember when the overpayments to social security began. I remember thinking (then) that this is just another way for the Republicans (in power at the time) to mask (hide) the money they are actually spending. For years, they under-reported the cost of government while blaming the Democrats for being the "big spenders". The Obama Administration has been caught in a dilemma of having to "spend" (buy) our way out of a deeeeeep recession, while creating jobs. As you can see, it fits the image of the Democrats spending more money than we have, even though the reason is due to Republican mismanagement of the economy. What makes everyone angry is to learn that even the "surplus" in social security we were suppose to have (and be earning interest from that "extra" money) has already been spent by the previous Administration. Why don't we force the rich Republicans to pay that money back to the Treasury? After all, it was there political assumptions that wrecked the economy and led us down this road.

    Harry – Baltimore, MD

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  290. Dona Syman

    Even the Government can't be stupid enough to think they can screw us out of our Social Security Benefits and get away with it. And, by the way, the fight goes on against the criminal acts of the Health Insurance Industry. The selfish Democrates and Republicans in the Senate are kidding themselves if they think we are just going to let this slide. Dona Syman Cooperstown, NY

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  291. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    Whoever or whatever is jacking money from the Social Security programs needs to stop. Then the government needs to put enough money in that account and leave it there. Too many Americans depend on those funds to live, because, for years, they have been told to rely on that money for their retirement. I am tired of Congress's excuses–get some work done for your constituents you partisan, bickering, lazy, soon-to-be not relected representatives.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  292. connie scott

    Borrowing from the social security should never have been allowed. They need to put the money back plus interest. Maybe they could cancel some of the pork barrel projects and use that money to shore up social security.

    Vista, Ca

    February 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  293. Brian

    Revolution, that's what we need

    February 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  294. Dean in California

    Another idea I had in solving our money problems. Require everyone who works in government. Whether it be the President, VP, Congress or the Senate be required to attend classes in Accounting 101...it is obvious that everyone in government have no clue in how to manage money!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  295. Bob Parrish

    Jack I "expect" to get my first Social Security check this month. I fear for those in charge of the empty "lock box" if several million hungry, mad, old people with canes and walkers appear in the halls of congress demanding their money. Perhaps every one in the party of tax cuts can accept a few poor old people living in their house with them and eating from their food supplys.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  296. Steven S

    Having paid into the program for over 38 years now and with 10 left to go before I can expect to retire and collect social security benefits, I would expect the government to return the funds they wasted ( stole ), just as they are demanding of the banks and wall street which have seen to it that my pensions have taken a huge hit over this past year as well. Unemployed for several months now, no monies have been going into any 'retirement fund'; be it social security or pension; times that lost dollar input with 1.8 million other unemployed non-contributors over a one year period and the situation looks even more disastrous. Thanks for bringing this up Jack, I can only hope that our government will make the right choices.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  297. Nell, Clemson, South Carolina

    My father-in-law worked hard all his life, but medical bills took his savings. If it were not for Social Security he would have had no money to buy food. When he became too old and ill to work, what would he have done? He drew the minimum, but that minimum made survival possible.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  298. Robert Arterbery

    This has been going on for decades. What makes you think Washington cares? I'm 63 and have NEVER VOTED. Why? Nothing has changed and nothing will changed. Voters have proved this to themselves forever.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  299. Brian Knight

    This is a DIRECTED response to ALL THOSE angry senior citizens who conducted those ANGRY town hall meetings about Health insurance reform, AND to all those who are ANGRY at the politicians about the insolvency of Soc Sec. They are BOTH tied in together. First of all, ALL you Angry Senior Citizens, do me a favor. LOOK at your LAST W-2 statement you got from your job. Look at the FICA amount. About $2500, right? Maybe $3K. Now LOOK AT YOUR MONTHLY CHECK you are collecting from THE GOV. Close to about $900 – $1000, right. Now, go get a 3rd grader to do this math. MULTIPLY $1000X12 mos) X 20 (yrs that you will be collecting SS) comes out to about $240,000. NOW, DO YOU SERIOUSLY THINK YOU CONTRIBUTED $240K into SS???? YOUR HIGHEST year was probably closer to about $3K, maybe $3.5K. LETS be GENEROUS and PRESUME that your average contribution was about $1500/yr times and lets say that you worked for 40 years. Go get your grandaughter again. 40X $1,500 is $60,000 GET THE PICTURE, and YET YOU ARE ANGRY AT THE POLITICIANS??? Everytime one of them talks about SS reform, you guys and AARP get them voted out of office. SHAME ON YOU !!! The same thing wih the Health Ins. Reform. You guys paid the LEAST into the SYSTEM (MEDICARE and MEDICAID) and think you OWN the whole DARN thing and want to keep EVERYONE ELSE OUT !!! SHAME ON YOU !!!

    February 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  300. Bernard Carter

    Stop pay people that have not paid into SS and do not use money for anything but SS. We had money in SS before we started using it for other programs. I could not live without SS. It is bad when people on SS do not get a cost of living raise, but members of groverment do. The groverment should be for the people not against the people. Just thought lets lay off have of the goverment in DC because all they want to do is fight and send money to their privete program.

    February 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm |