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To the editor:
Social Security is a major issue that all Americans
face today. Although it was once a highly effective system, an
increase in those retiring and a decrease in those working gives
cause for struggle. There are becoming fewer people to pay taxes
toward supporting current retirees. Within the "Coming Generational
Storm" (2004), Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns presented detail
after detail in order to demonstrate the peril that the Social
Security system is in today, but they had no idea what was going to
occur only a few, short years later.
Within the past few weeks, "congressional officials said they
expected a request for legal authority to buy up bad loans," says
the Huffington Post. Currently, these "bad loans" are estimated to
equal about $700 billion. This huge sum of money will save several
failing corporations, such as AIG and Fannie Mae, but also pose new
problems. This $700 billion has to come from somewhere, and this
amount is much too high to tax the American people with. The
proposed solutions include printing the money or borrowing from
China. Both bring about their own problems. Printing money will
devalue the dollar even more than what it is today, and borrowing
money from China will not only give them the "higher hand," but also
leave the U.S. even further in debt.
This $700 billion bailout affects every issue throughout the 2008
presidential election, but especially Social Security. Both Barack
Obama and John McCain offer diverse solutions for this crisis.
According to the Washington Post, John McCain proposes to supplement
the current Social Security system with personal accounts. He wants
a portion of the money currently withheld for Social Security to be
placed into private accounts. It may sound like a good solution, but
where is that extra money going to come from? McCain has said that
he will not raise taxes, but what other solutions does that leave?
Somehow, more money must go toward the Social Security system in
order to use the private accounts that he speaks of. Unfortunately,
that money is not going to magically appear. With the new bailout,
the likelihood of money being available has greatly diminished. The
U.S. is going to be even further, $700 billion, into debt. The use
of the personal accounts that John McCain proposes seem nearly
impossible with the possibility of a bailout of this magnitude in
the near future.
[to top of second column in this letter]
Barack Obama disagrees with John McCain's solution to the Social
Security crisis and believes that the best option is to "ask the
highest income Americans to contribute a little bit more by raising
the ceiling that is currently paid on the amount of earnings subject
to the Social Security tax." Since the government only taxes the
first $102,000 that an individual makes, a person making $200,000 is
paying the same amount as someone making $1,000,000. Obama
understands that having the "wealthier" people of America contribute
more toward Social Security is not only a good idea, but also a
rational solution. The Washington Post demonstrates how Obama's
"Doughnut Plan" will allow taxes to be imposed on those making over
$250,000. There will be a "doughnut," or gap, between $102,000 and
$250,000 where no taxes will be paid.
Obama's solutions to the
Social Security crisis seem more legitimate considering the $700
billion bailout. As much as America does not want to hear it, tax
raises are inevitable. Taxing those making over $500,000 will not
only aid in saving the Social Security system, but it may also
contribute to a lessoning of the debt America will face following
the bailout. Even a small amount of money raised through taxes can
affect how much is borrowed from China or required to be printed.
Less money borrowed is less debt, and less money printed is less
inflation. Overall, the tax raises that Barack Obama speaks of can
not only help the Social Security crisis, but also the current $700
Whether it is Barack Obama or John McCain, a resolution must be
found to end the Social Security crisis within the United States
today. The ideal solution would also help counteract the amount of
debt America will possess after the $700 billion bailout. Social
Security was an issue within the United States before, but it is at
even more risk now that Congress is about to spend $700 billion
toward restoring failing financial corporations. Action must occur
immediately in order to not only save the Social Security system,
but the economy of the United States as a whole.
Editor's note: Jessica Owen in a Lincoln resident studying at
Eastern Illinois University.
September 29, 2008]
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