Monday, October 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Durbin’s Social Security miscalculation

By
From page A13 | December 05, 2012 |

Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said in a speech and in a TV interview that Social Security doesn’t increase the debt by even one penny. He is wrong. It adds 2,100 trillion pennies to debt calculated as all future obligations. That’s enough, along with the enormous amounts of money owed to other entitlements, to press down the American future to the point of its being squashed, but never mind. Durbin has politics to tend to.

Those politics start with hiking taxes on annual incomes over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for couples because income inequality is immoral in his view. He should start sending me checks. I figure he makes more than I do, and I’d applaud that moral gesture a lot more than I favor increasing taxes in his foolish way. It would hinder job creation while raising so little extra revenue as to lessen future deficits something on the order of a smidgen.

Some of us might say the real immorality is to play these ideologically lame games when the country is facing a major debt crisis. It is especially harmful in negotiations on averting the so-called fiscal cliff to back away from significant entitlement cuts. Durbin’s stance is to do nothing now about Social Security, which means failing to take advantage of a time when meaningful compromise seems possible. It thereby imitates past demagoguery that got us in the mess we’re in.

While working in Washington some 17 years ago, I heard the great, brilliant Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y. – a since-deceased Social Security expert who was also my favorite liberal politician – talk about the need to act. But every time some bold member of Congress suggested some move in the right direction, some opportunistic self-server would say this was heartless, mean, awful, a way of forcing the elderly poor to eat dog food, or something like that. We are therefore now in a situation in which Social Security is in the red and adding billions to the deficit.

Fact checkers and others tell us Social Security was in the red by $36 billion in 2010 and will have its annual payroll tax shortfalls rise as high as $86 billion by 2015. One commentator – columnist Robert Samuelson – observes that the total Social Security budget this year was $762 billion, compared with $651 billion for defense. Over the next 75 years, Social Security’s unfunded liability – the amount by which obligations to recipients will exceed anticipated revenues — is estimated by some at $21 trillion, money that would have to come from borrowing or higher taxes. A major reason is the extraordinary increase in the number of people over 65 – some 30 million more than today’s 40 million in less than another two decades.

My own sense is that President Barack Obama should long ago have embraced the Bowles-Simpson deficit-reducing recommendations made by the leaders of his own debt commission. They have sought both more revenue and serious spending cuts. Their approach to Social Security is nothing terribly hurtful – steps such as reducing cost growth through a new formula on increases in initial benefits for the best off, increased payroll taxes from the highest earners, redoing the formula for inflation adjustments and higher eligibility ages way down the road.

I also like their tax reform plans. They would lower rates to engender growth at the same time they simplified taxes and increased revenues through elimination of the least excusable deductions.

For all the public squawking back and forth between Republicans and Democrats, there are some reported signals here and there that the two sides may be finding their way to a resolution tackling deficits and avoiding the fiscal cliff. Durbin, who is Senate majority whip and has previously shown an exceptional willingness to compromise on Social Security and other issues, could be a major player in helping to save the nation from disaster. A first step would be to say Social Security does magnify the debt crisis, and by a whole lot more than a penny.

Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado. Email SpeaktoJay@aol.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Girl Scouts explore sweet side of chemistry

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Time again for my Cheers and Jeers

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 6 Comments

Total Home, Garden & Harvest Festival wraps up

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Pumpkin Patch Festival set for final weekend

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Sessions teach about child support process

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Arrivederci! Italian Festival

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Red Kettle Program returns for holidays

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Holiday Fashion Extravaganza registration deadline looms

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Elder depression and substance abuse topic of discussion

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Vacaville library to host composting series

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Senior Center hosts monthly travel presentation

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Napa man jailed for running over ex-girlfriend

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Local governments schedule meetings

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Weather for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Expelled Nazis paid millions in Social Security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Cruise ship docks with Ebola-watched health worker

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Friends, family of Ebola patient reach milestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Obama switches gears, confronting Ebola head on

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

CDC to revise Ebola protocol, Pentagon preps team

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California lottery sales top $5B for first time

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Archaeologists seek movie set in California sands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
The 10 semifinalists for World’s Funniest Person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

On the road to find the world’s funniest person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
New England raking in millions from leaf peepers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Police hunt for clues near where Va. remains found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Super drunk woman arrested, mistook jail for bar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Robotic device helps paralyzed groom walk aisle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Coroner: 6 fire victims died of smoke inhalation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Pope beatifies Paul VI at remarkable synod’s end

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
S. Korea: 2 Koreas exchange gunfire along border

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sweden: 3 credible sightings in submarine search

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
5 Things to Know about Pope Paul VI

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

UN says Iraq has executed 60 people this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Marine accused in Philippine killing tests US ties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Opinion

Is it truly affordable health care?

By Jim Mccully | From Page: A8, 21 Comments

 
Suisun mayor offers his endorsements

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

Which candidates support Alzheimer’s cure?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Beware a Trojan horse

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

Pulse poll question

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

I’m too scared to leave my abusive husband of 15 years

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Comedians honor Jay Leno with humor prize in DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Report: Nashville songwriter Paul Craft dies at 76

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Reported ‘Easy Rider’ chopper sells at auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘New Girl,’ ‘Cosmos’ win Environmental Media Award

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘Fury’ blasts ‘Gone Girl’ from top of box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Manning breaks Favre’s TD mark in 42-17 win over 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Tim Lincecum waits his turn, still yet to pitch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Keselowski keeps title hopes alive at Talladega

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Palmer leads Cardinals past Raiders 24-13

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Kings pick up G Ben McLemore’s option

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockets beat Warriors 90-83 in exhibition game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pacquiao makes professional basketball debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cal receiver Trevor Davis released from hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sounders rally for 2-2 tie with LA Galaxy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rangers net 2 in 4 seconds; Lundqvist stops Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

NFL roundup: Jaguars bounce Browns, gets first win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
SEC is 1st conference to put 4 in top 5 of AP poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ski champ Svindal injured while playing soccer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams hits back at Russian official

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Royals dependent on 3-headed bullpen monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Hend wins Hong Kong Open in a playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Baek wins playoff to take LPGA South Korea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ilonen beats Stenson in World Match Play final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Jay Haas wins Greater Hickory Kia Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ben Martin wins 1st PGA Tour title in Las Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Denkinger’s miss revisited as Series returns to KC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Facebook, Apple pay for egg freezing, sperm donors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

B.C. Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield October 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7