The series of GOP debates we just witnessed has shown America once again that the Republican and corporate Tea Party leadership is unwilling and totally incapable of handling the complex problems the country is now facing.
For example, they claimed that Social Security has serious problems. Really? Republicans and their corporate Tea Party counterparts stated they will deal with this imaginary problem by simply calling it a Ponzi scheme and abolishing it. Note to tea baggers: Social Security cannot be a Ponzi scheme because you paid for it with deductions from your paychecks, which is invested solely in U.S. government bonds, the safest place for your money in the world.
Unlike a Ponzi scheme, Social Security's finances are fully disclosed to you, the American people, paying into the system. The last annual report was published on May 13, 2011, and is available at the Social Security administration Internet web site.
A true Ponzi scheme inevitably collapses when the organizer runs out of new people to defraud since investors will expect to be paid regularly. However, the government can continue to collect taxes to pay Social Security and unlike a Ponzi scheme, Social Security will be able to pay earned benefits for the foreseeable future.
The Social Security fund is valued today at over 2.6 trillion dollars, which means it is fully solvent through 2038 and will pay at the 75 percent level afterwards through 2085, assuming no changes in funding are made. Social Security has been working successfully in the United States since 1935 and the first modern social insurance program started in Germany in 1889 has also been operating successfully and continually for more than 120 years.
Compare that to Charles Ponzi's scheme, which lasted only 200 days! Another tidbit regarding Social Security unknown to most Americans is that Social Security taxes are capped at $106,500 of income. This means that a person earning one million dollars in income pays the same amount in Social Security taxes as does the individual earning $106,500. Thus, $893,500 of that income is not subjected to the Social Security tax and therefore, the million dollar earner pays a much smaller percentage of his earnings in taxes than that the average wage earner.
Yet, the Republican and corporate Tea Party leaders and their cheerleaders at the Fox propaganda channel would have you believe our so called "socialist" government is soaking the rich and persecuting these poor, downtrodden gentry.
A question to tea baggers: name an instance tax cuts to millionaires and corporations created a single job? Taxes in America today are at their lowest level since 1958! Why then are these so called "job creators" not producing any private sector jobs today?
Better yet, name an instance where a large cut in government spending created a single job? Still stumped? If you are inquisitive enough, find out what happened in 1938 and 1982 to the U.S. economy when Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, and Ronald Reagan, a Republican, respectively, imposed severe austerity cuts in government spending that were enthusiastically promoted by Wall Street banking interests.
Guess who made off like bandits and guess who took it on the chin? By the way, tea baggers, Reagan got the country out of the economic mess he created and even propped up Social Security by raising taxes several times! Don't believe me? Look it up!
Still think our gilded gentry and corporate mavens are overtaxed, abused and misunderstood? Here's another nugget for you.
Many corporations paid zero dollars in federal income taxes last year and collectively received over 287 billion dollars in federal refunds despite the fact they earned profits in the trillions thanks to the myriad of loopholes in the tax code, which allows them to loot the federal treasury (your tax dollars) with impunity.
All of this paid for through the many contributions to their favorite senators and congress persons on Capital Hill and the five members of the Supreme Court, who declared corporations to be people. Here's a novel idea. What if Congress and the White House had the courage to remove the cap completely on Social Security taxation? The country, according to respected economists who have extensively studied this scenario, would be so awashed in money that Social Security would be solvent for centuries, health care and education mandates would be fully funded.
We could even double the level of payments to seniors and still have plenty of money left over to pay off the national debt. After the debt is retired, payroll taxes could be further reduced. Thus, we really do not need a very ill conceived and destructive Balance Budget Amendment, which would cripple the country in a time of national emergency or in the advent of a natural disaster.
Unfortunately, Congress, the republican presidential candidates and the White House will never consider this or demonstrate the kind of leadership required in these times of difficulty dealing with real complex issues. For them, it's party, banking and corporate interests first and foremost and the hell with the rest of us.
We need to find strong, competent individuals who have the courage, honesty and intellectual acumen to fight for the American people's interest addressing our country's problems.
Donald W. Goebel Jr.