Over the past several months on editorial pages – as well as in Republican debates having to do with the party’s nominee for president – we have seen the strong injection of Social Security policy changes. First, let’s be honest and clear: The president of the United States has very little ability to actually change the laws of the land. He or she may hold a professional or personal opinion, but the chief executive merely is a vessel to uphold and defend the laws of this country.
This brings us to another important point: Why is Social Security coming up so much in the primaries and, ultimately, the presidential election?
Simply put, the media, for the most part, are and will continue to be on the side of President Obama’s re-election. Several Northeastern races were decided in Democrats’ favor by using Social Security changes as a scare tactic with seniors. It will be the same game plan to tip the playing field in favor of Obama in November 2012.
The fact is that Social Security has been changed several times in ways that do not benefit seniors. Every time, these changes were spearheaded and accomplished with Democrats in control of the bodies that have the authority to change such policies.
President Lyndon Johnson, with the Democratically-controlled Congress, took Social Security out of trust fund status and put the funds into the general fund for use. Under President Clinton, with a Democratically-controlled House and Senate at his back, made sure that 85 percent of Social Security payments could be taxed. The Democratic Party also ended the income tax withholding deduction for Social Security payments.
Al Gore, as vice president, was able to actually cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate to make sure that Social Security annuities would be taxed. It also was the Democrats, controlling Congress, that sent a bill to Jimmy Carter, which he signed into law, that ensured immigrants who never paid into the Social Security system would receive Social Security benefits.
If this was a world based on truth and facts, the Democrats would fear the utter idea of any discussion concerning Social Security policy. Instead, they believe such a discussion will help them in the coming elections because of willing and supportive accomplices in the media, and short memories or a lack of policy knowledge on the part of the people of this country.