In case you believe the bunk that Social Security is a bloated and bankrupt “entitlement” program that will destroy the US economy, read Saul Friedman’s succinct explainer on Time Goes By. Don’t jump on the bandwagon for privatization or dissolution of this important benefit before you’ve read this post or one of Saul's earlier stories on the same topic.  

You’ll find his recent piece at

Blogger Ronni Bennett has put up some must-read posts outlining an initiative designed to have a huge impact on Social Security and Medicare. In fact, the initiators want to dismantle both “entitlement” programs. 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any problem collecting that money. There’s nothing slimy to me about the word entitlement when it comes to Social Security and Medicare. 

I clearly remember those two itemized deductions printed on my paystubs, every two weeks, over 37 years in the full-time workforce. As far as I’m concerned, I’m getting back  MY own money, with interest. They just held it for me to make sure I didn't spend it too early. A wise move...

But, I digress. I urge you to read Ronni’s two reports, written with clarity and passion, at. They will make your hair stand on end: 

Here’s economist Barbara Kennelly’s take on what’s really worth worrying about (hint—we’re trying to reform it):
… a CBO analysis explains that if every entitlement in the federal budget were repealed outright — eliminating Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other critical programs — but nothing were done to slow the growth in health care costs overall, we would still find ourselves spending almost 70 percent of the nation’s wealth on health care by 2082. On the other hand, if the rate of growth in overall health care is restrained so it is no longer growing faster than the rest of the economy, Medicare’s long-range financial deficit could be cut by well over one-half.

Contrary to the political crisis rhetoric, the Social Security Trustees report that Social Security will have sufficient funds to pay full benefits through 2041. Even better, the CBO projects that full benefits can be paid through 2049. No other federal program is subject to such strict, long-term spending restrictions and oversight.

The Social Security Trustees report every year on the income and outgo of the fund over a 75-year period. Over the next 75 years, Social Security has a funding gap, but that gap is both modest and manageable. Moreover, even if no changes at all were made in Social Security, and no one is recommending that, incoming revenues after 2041 would be sufficient enough to finance 78 percent of benefits.

Barbara B. Kennelly
published in Roll Call, March 11, 2009