Originally Posted by ziggy29
Whether we've had a surplus for the last couple decades is a matter of semantics and definitions, I think. Depending on how one defines the terms -- and either way is defensible in some ways -- either we have a surplus, or we spent it all to bring the budget closer to balance year after year.
Doesn't seem like semantics to me. Calling the SS surplus a mater of semantics seems to me to be a technique used by SS opponents to justify doing away with it. The surplus was generated on the basis of a specific legislative promise and was tied to substantial taxes on main stream level wages (15%) above and beyond income taxes. We payees lent that money to the Government to pay for wars, enable tax breaks, etc. To now treat that loan as just a part of the general deficit that should be made up by reforming SS itself is, in effect, to retroactively convert the payroll tax to a very regressive income tax. And proponents of doing this don't want even modest (Clinton era) tax rates to apply to the rich? Shameful.