March 14, 2001, Alexandria, VA-`The TREA Senior Citizens League adamantly opposes any efforts to tap the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for any new or continuing programs-including a tax cut,` said George Smith, chairman of The TREA Senior Citizens League (TSCL).
`Certainly, many Americans will support a tax cut that would have an immediate positive impact on their lifestyle. But to take the necessary funds from the Social Security Trust Fund would ultimately result in a `pay me now` and `don`t pay me later` situation. This may well jeopardize our nation`s ability to provide our senior citizens with the money they need to pay for housing, cover medical expenses, purchase medication, or buy food,` Smith added.
President Bush`s chief economic advisor, Lawrence Lindsey, hinted about `temporarily` tapping the Social Security payroll tax surplus to pay for a massive $1.6 trillion tax cut. That proposal is intended to reduce all federal income tax rates, raise the child credit, reduce the so-called `marriage penalty` and repeal federal estate taxes. According to Lindsey, the Social Security surplus should be considered part of a unified budget, making some or all of the surplus funds available for other government spending programs.
Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released new budget figures that estimated a budget surplus of $5.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Approximately $2.5 trillion of that comes from Social Security, and about $400 billion comes from Medicare.
`Budget surplus estimates are based on previous years, where we`ve had a booming economy,` Smith pointed out. `But all the economic indicators point to a slowing economy, so the surpluses over the next 10 years might not materialize at all.`
Indeed, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress last month that the economy had all but stopped growing, noting that, `we have had a very dramatic slowing down, and indeed we are probably very close to zero at this particular moment.` Greenspan warned that while there was room for a tax cut, it should not be so big that it would plunge the government back into deficit if the budget surplus failed to materialize.
`We currently have people on Social Security who suffered a loss in Social Security benefits in 1977 as a result of the recalculation of Social Security benefits-namely the notch babies,` Smith noted. `If we continue to look to the Social Security Trust Fund as a source of money to pay for other programs, we risk wreaking havoc on a system that has already been `fixed` once. It`s imperative that we safeguard the programs that provide assistance to our nation`s seniors.`
TSCL is a national group of politically active seniors concerned about the protection and defense of their earned Social Security, Medicare, military and other retirement benefits. TSCL members participate in a number of grass roots lobbying and public education campaigns to ensure governmental bodies live up to commitments. "For more information, send $1.00 for shipping and handling to: TREA Senior Citizens League, Dept. W10304, 909 N. Washington St., Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314".