Democrats should shut up about the Social Security "crisis"

The leading Democratic candidates, most prominently Barack Obama, are discussing their plans for “fixing” Social Security. Obama accuses other candidates of, “…ducking the issue. Because conventional thinking in Washington says that Social Security is the third rail of American politics. It says you should hedge, and dodge, and spin, but at all costs, don’t answer.”

This is a bad sign. While Obama’s general idea is OK (raising taxes and preserving benefits), his pledge to “save” Social Security plays into one of the Bush administration big lies, that Social Security is facing a “crisis” in the first place.

The right-wing argument goes like this: Social Security is expected to start paying out more money than it takes in through payroll taxes in 2017. At that point, Social Security will have to start using the money it has been investing in its trust fund during all those years when it was running surpluses. But, *gasp*, the fund’s resources will be all gone because big-spending liberal congressmen used those payroll taxes to buy pink Cadillacs for welfare queens.

It sounds scary, but it’s actually pure baloney. For now, and for a good while to come, Social Security is actually paying for itself. It takes in more money than it pays out and it invests that extra money in U.S. Treasury bonds. There will come a point when payroll taxes don’t cover all the programs payments that’s when it starts cashing in on those bonds, which are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.*

Basically, Social Security is funded through a very well-designed system that will run without any changes or adjustments into the mid-twenty-first century and perhaps beyond. This is in contrast to the Federal Government as a whole, which is running deficits today (not that we should be hardass deficit hawks). If payroll taxes were slightly increased, Social Security would basically last forever.

One of the few progressive victories of recent years (albeit a defensive one) was the foiling of Bush’s scheme to privatize Social Security. Now is not a good time to reopen the Social Security “debate.”


* The conservative talking point is that these bonds are worthless “IOUs.” This would come as a great surprise to the banks, foreign governments and zillionaires who regularly invest in U.S. securities. If right-wingers are really worried that the government is going to “go broke” they should reconsider their support for the Iraq war, Bush’s tax cuts, etc.

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Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)