Social Security Is Fine. Stop With the Chicken Little Stuff Already.

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The New York Times warns us that Social Security will be bankrupt any second now:

Next year, for the first time since 1982, the program must start drawing down its assets in order to pay retirees all of the benefits they have been promised, according to the latest government projections. Unless a political solution is reached, Social Security’s so-called trust funds are expected to be depleted within about 15 years. Then, something that has been unimaginable for decades would be required under current law: Benefit checks for retirees would be cut by about 20 percent across the board.

….“Fifteen years is really just around the corner for people planning their retirements,” said John B. Shoven, a Stanford economist who is also affiliated with the Hoover Institution and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Oh please. The last time Social Security was in trouble, the supposedly final, drop-dead, full-on crisis date was April 1983, when Social Security would start to run a deficit and check processing would be delayed. Do you know when President Reagan finally signed legislation to fix things? April 1983.

I’m all in favor of reforming Social Security now, because it’s easier if we give ourselves time to phase in the changes. But if we don’t, retirees are astronomically unlikely to face any problems. Congress might not get around to fixing things until a few weeks before checks will be slashed, but they’ll get around to it. Anything else would be political suicide.

The best time to do this will probably be a few years from now, when President Harris and Speaker Ocasio-Cortez agree on a plan to soak the rich in order to increase benefits to low-income retirees and stabilize payments for everyone else. Republicans could probably avoid this by cutting a deal now, but they’re too dumb and shortsighted to do it.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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