Looming catastrophe

The Social Security trust funds hold almost $3 trillion. The combined trust fund reserves are still growing and will continue to do so through 2021. Beginning in 2022, the total cost of the program is projected to exceed income, according to a 2017 press release of the Social Security Administration. In addition to the payroll tax the fund receives 3.2 percent interest on its Treasury notes, they say. Some Social Security benefits are taxable and thus return to the trust funds with the income tax. But the Social Security payments are funded in advance and do not contribute to the Federal deficit.

The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2034. At that time, there will be sufficient income coming in to pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits. The polar icecaps will be beyond the memory of most people living then and most of Florida will be under water — we will have much bigger problems then than Social Security. Agriculture will be destroyed by extreme weather conditions, bees will no longer pollinate our crops and we have already run out of phosphate for fertilizer. There may not be anything to spend our Social Security benefits on.

We have more powerful military forces than the rest of the world combined and the Trump administration is ramping up the funding for that. Does anyone see where some part of the budget really ought to be cut?

Ever since Reagan’s voodoo economics the Republicans have irresponsibly cut the Federal budget. Progressive taxation is done for and corporate welfare is in. We will destroy the economy and the middle class before we feel the full effects of environmental catastrophe … or a cut in Social Security funding.

Michael N. Ireland