Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012

Social Security Surplus Dwarfed by Future Deficit
Associated Press
August 12, 2012

As millions of baby boomers flood Social Security with applications for benefits, the program's $2.7 trillion surplus is starting to look small.

For nearly three decades Social Security produced big surpluses, collecting more in taxes from workers than it paid in benefits to retirees, disabled workers, spouses and children. The surpluses also helped mask the size of the budget deficit being generated by the rest of the federal government.

Those days are over.

Since 2010, Social Security has been paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes, adding to the urgency for Congress to address the program's long-term finances.

"To me, urgent doesn't begin to describe it," said Chuck Blahous, one of the public trustees who oversee Social Security. "I would say we're somewhere between critical and too late to deal with it."

The Social Security trustees project the surplus will be gone in 2033. Unless Congress acts, Social Security would only collect enough tax revenue each year to pay about 75 percent of benefits, triggering an automatic reduction.

Lawmakers from both political parties say they want to avoid such a dramatic benefit cut for people who have retired and might not have the means to make up the lost income. Still, that scenario is more than two decades away, which is why many in Congress are willing to put off changes.

But once the surplus is spent, the annual funding gaps start off big and grow fast, which could make them hard to rein in if Congress procrastinates.

The projected shortfall in 2033 is $623 billion, according to the trustees' latest report. It reaches $1 trillion in 2045 and nearly $7 trillion in 2086, the end of a 75-year period used by Social Security's number crunchers because it covers the retirement years of just about everyone working today.

Add up 75 years' worth of shortfalls and you get an astonishing figure: $134 trillion. Adjusted for inflation, that's $30.5 trillion in 2012 dollars, or eight times the size of this year's entire federal budget.

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The Economy is Also About "Values"
by Star Parker
August 13, 2012

Somehow we’ve come to accept, regarding government policy, that there are separate “economic” issues and “social” issues. The former being issues having to do with our pocketbook and the latter being issues touching religious values and behavior.

But this is a mistake. The economy is also a social “values” issue.

It’s about the extent to which we respect private property and it’s protected from politicians.

Respect for private property is disdained in socialist countries. Respecting the sanctity of private property reflects our values as much as does our respect for the sanctity of life and marriage.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees protection from being “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of the law.”

The Ten Commandments demand respect for marriage (honor your parents) and for life and property (don’t kill, don’t steal).

Consider the Obamacare mandate, which went into effect August 1, requiring employers to provide “free” contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs to employees as part of their health care plan.

The uproar about this has been about its violation of religious liberty – forcing employers to provide these services regardless of their religious convictions.

But this wouldn’t be possible without politicians seizing private resources of citizens to pay for this mandate.

Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University activist who gained notoriety when she was verbally assaulted by Rush Limbaugh after she testified in favor of the contraceptive mandate, still promotes the cause.

In a recent Huffington Post column, she touts Obamacare as a victory for women’s “health care rights” and the fact that contraceptives are now available “at no cost.”

At no cost? Will contraceptives drop from heaven like manna?

In this case, women's "health care rights" is a claimed right for women to have taxpayers foot the bill for their birth control - to get others to pay for their contraceptives and abortion-inducing pills.

The "right" to transfer to others the costs of personal decisions regarding sex trumps taxpayers right to keep government out of their private property.

When blacks fought for civil rights in the 1960’s, the rights they fought for were equal treatment under the law. Protection of their life, liberty, and property.

It had nothing to do with claiming any so-called right to violate the private property of some and force them to pay for another’s lifestyle choices.

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House GOP to File Civil Contempt Suit Monday Over 'Fast and Furious' Documents
by Matthew Boyle
August 12, 2012

House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa is expected to file a civil contempt of Congress lawsuit Monday against Eric Holder, in the hope that a federal judge will force the U.S. Attorney General to turn over documents related to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal.

“The committee expects to file the civil contempt suit against the Attorney General Monday,” a Republican congressional source told The Daily Caller.

The lawsuit, the timing of which was first reported by CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson, comes on the heels of bipartisan June 28 House votes that landed Holder in criminal and civil contempt of Congress. Those charges were related to Holder’s continued failure to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents related to the controversial gunwalking program.

Those contempt votes came shortly after President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over the documents.

Holder’s Department of Justice directed Ronald Machen, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, to not enforce the criminal contempt resolution after the House of Representatives approved it. Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and others argue that move showed Machen is incapable of making decisions independent of political influence. Grassley has also said such a politically compromised prosecutor should not be investigating the national security leaks scandal that is running in parallel with Fast and Furious.

Because of the fear Machen wouldn’t be able to separate politics from the law, a bipartisan group in the House also approved a civil contempt resolution against Holder. That resolution allowed for Issa’s team to hire attorneys, and provided for resources to sue the administration over the release of documents Congress has not yet seen.

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