Friday, June 19, 2009

Oh, that good ol'e fashioned manufactured outrage...

If you're like me, right-wing fantasy occasionally shows up in your inbox masquerading as history... Well, that happened this morning when a very good friend forwarded me a msg.

As usual, the email does a good job at generating outrage at those liberals in government who have backed away from promises and are, in general, ruining our American way of life... If only the 'facts' they list were actually, well, facts.

This one is about Social Security; how democrats from Eisenhower to Carter & Clinton have systematically screwed the American people out of promises and benefits.

Of course, all it takes is a quick visit to the handy snopes site to debunk this stuff. But again, what good conservative worth his salt would want to confuse truth with a caricature of history?

Well, I've taken the time to respond, point-for-point, to the emails assertions. As you'll see, 99% of those points are outright wrong. Even the ones that have a modicum of truth to them cast the villains as the evil liberals. I take a bit of joy noting that it was Reagan who signed into law the legislation that started taxing SS annuities... the one item listed that is partially true.

Anyway, read for yourself. If you want more details, check out snopes and here the Office of the Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration, May 20, 1997. My research (if you can call looking at a couple of websites research) are in red.

Subject: SOCIAL SECURITY ROBBERY
If there is anyone out there that doesn't know this, this is an excellent visual presentation....Now it is too late to be angry, just remember who did this when you vote....

Thank you for sharing Social Security, How It Got Stolen with Our Social Security

Franklin Delano. Roosevelt
32nd. President, Democrat
Terms of Office March 4, 1933, to April 12, 1945
GOOD TO HERE ! Our Social Security
Franklin Delano. Roosevelt (Terms of Office March 4, 1933, to April 12, 1945), a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program.
He promised:
1.) That participation in the program would be completely voluntary,

FALSE: There was no provision in the Social Security Act of 1935 (nor has there ever been any provision) for the payment of Social Security payroll taxes to be voluntary. Since the inception of the Social Security program, the law has required that payroll taxes for persons working at jobs covered by Social Security "shall be collected by the employer of the taxpayer by deducting the amount of the tax from the wages as and when paid."

2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the program,

MOSTLY FALSE/misleading: Social Security taxes were never limited to the first $1,400 of annual income, nor was there any provision in the Social Security Act of 1935 to permanently fix the tax rate at 1%. The Social Security Act of 1935 set the original rate at 1% of the first $3,000 of annual income, with provisions to gradually increase that rate to 3% over the next twelve years.

3.) That the money the participants elected to put into the program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,

FALSE: The original Social Security Act of 1935 specifically stated that Social Security payroll taxes were not to be allowed as income tax deductions. Social Security payroll taxes have never been deductible from income for tax purposes, either when the program was originally instituted or at any time since.

4.) That the money the participants put into the Independent 'Trust Fund' rather than into the General operating fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program, and ...

PARTIALLY FALSE: The Social Security Trust Fund was established in 1939 to receive monies collected for Social Security through payroll taxes. The monies in this fund are managed by the Department of the Treasury; they are not, nor have they ever been, put into the "general operating fund." However, the government can "invest" Social Security funds by lending them to itself, then spending that money on programs not related to Social Security. The government "pays back" this money when the Social Security program redeems the bonds - with interest. Every retirement fund works like this. You money does not sit in a bank, it is used by others and repayed (hopefully) with interest.

5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.
Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month -- and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to 'Put Away' -- you may be interested in the following:

PARTIALLY FALSE: It is true that Social Security benefits were not originally considered taxable income. However, that status was not due to any promise or act on the part of President Roosevelt, nor was it specified in the Social Security Act (or any other law); it was the result of a series of rulings by the Treasury Department in 1938 and 1941 that excluded Social Security benefits from federal income taxation. Those rulings were overriden by amendments to the Social Security act enacted in 1983.

----------THEN-----------------------------------

Dwight David Eisenhower
34th. President, Republican,
Term Of Office: January 20, 1953 to January 20, 1961 Insert by Vincent Peter Render,

If I recall correctly, 1958 is the first year that Congress voted to remove funds from Social Security and put it into the General Fund for Congress to spend.
If I recall correctly, it was a democratically Controlled Congress.
From what I understand, Congress logic at that time was that there was so much money in Social Security Fund that it would never run out / be used up for the purpose it was intended / set aside for.

FALSE - a complete fabrication as far as I can tell. SS funds are INVESTED (oftentimes loaned to the gov). However, those investments (loans) pay interest and the trust fund as earned more than an average of 8% annually since 1960. The fact that the gov borrows against the trust fund (paying it interest) is no different than a company investing it's pension funds in stocks/bonds. This is another example of FALSE statements being used to stir-up the masses...

-------------WORSE STILL-----------------------------

Lyndon Baines Johnson 36th.President, Democrat
Term Of Office: November 22, 1963 to January 20, 1969

Question
: Which Political Party took Social Security from the Independent 'Trust Fund' and put it into the General Fund so that Congress could spend it?

Answer: It was Lyndon B. Johnson (Democrat, Term Of Office: November 22, 1963 to January 20, 1969) and thedemocratically Controlled House and Senate.

SS funds are NOT part of the general fund... The requirements for how the Social Security Trust Fund is to be financed and invested have not changed since the fund's inception in 1939. The reference to Lyndon Johnson indicates that someone was probably confused by a change implemented at the end of the Johnson administration (1969) that altered how the fund was accounted for in the federal budget but did not change the actual operations of the fund itself.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Question: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax Deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

Answer: The Democratic Party.

FALSE - Social Security withholding has never been deductible from income for tax purposes. The original Social Security Act of 1935 specifically stated that monies paid into Social Security via payroll taxes were not to be allowed as income tax deductions.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
William Jefferson Clinton
(Bill Clinton)
42nd. President
Democrat Term of Office: January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001 Albert Arnold Gore, Jr.
(Al Gore)
45th. Vice President
Democrat Term of Office: January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001

Question: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?

Answer: The Democratic Party, with Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. (Al Gore) [Vice President Term of Office: January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001] casting the 'tie-breaking' deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the US

Not completely FALSE, but manipulated to make it look like dems did something 'bad'.

Prior to 1984, income derived from Social Security benefits was exempt from taxation. Amendments to the Social Security Act passed by Congress in 1983 allowed for 50% of Social Security benefits to be considered taxable income for taxpayers whose total income exceeded specified thresholds. Responsibility for this change cannot fairly be assigned to either political party. The idea originated with a proposal issued by the Greenspan Commission, which had been appointed by President Ronald Reagan, a Republican. The amendments were passed by a House of Representatives in which the Democrats held a clear majority of the seats (296‐166), but the proposed amendments received "Yea" votes from members of both parties, and they were signed into law by President Reagan.

-------THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK !!----------
James Earl Carter, Jr (Jimmy Carter)
39th. President, Democrat
= Term of Office: January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981

Question: Which Political Party decided to start giving Annuity payments to immigrants?
AND MY FAVORITE:

Answer: That's right! James Earl Carter, Jr. (Jimmy Carter) (Democrat, Term of Office: January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981) and the Democratic Party.
Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive Social Security payments! The Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!

COMPLETELY FALSE:
No one — whether he be a citizen, immigrant, or illegal alien — is eligible to collect Social Security benefits unless he (or someone else, such as a parent or spouse) has paid into the system. Someone has confused Social Security itself with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — the latter is a federal welfare program "designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income" by providing "cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter." Immigrants can qualify for SSI benefits under certain conditions, but SSI is financed by general revenues and not Social Security taxes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Then, after violating the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away!
And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it!
If enough people receive this, maybe a seed of Awareness will be planted and maybe changes will evolve... Maybe not, some Democrats are awfully sure of what isn't so. But it's worth a try. How many people can YOU send this to?
Actions speak louder than bumper stickers..
AND CONGRESS GIVES THEMSELVES 100% RETIREMENT FOR ONLY SERVING ONE TERM!!!
Apparently, this is being sent around a lot. Another example of right-wingers trying to re-write history to generate outrage. Kudos to my buddy who sent it to me so I could debunk this stuff... at least on this site.

Maybe pass the link to this blog entry around … of course, the truth never stood in the way of a good-ol'e conservative world-view. Still, pass it around. Who knows, maybe someone will actually read it.