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.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/05/art.soc.sec.jpg caption="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.
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?
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.
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."
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.