Joe Burton: Social security secure

January 9, 2013 

Social Security secure

In his Jan. 3 Point of View article “A no-difference deal,” Davis Brown characterized Social Security as an “institution of grace” (a gift to the elderly?) and suggested that cuts in Social Security and defense spending can help decrease the budget deficit.

But how is this possible? Social Security is self-funded by payroll taxes (contributions) of workers delivered to a trust fund, specifically (and only) to provide income for their retirement and for disabled persons. Social Security is solvent for the next 20 years, and long-term solvency can easily be fixed by various congressional actions. So Brown’s concern that Social Security will not be around when he grows old is unfounded hyperbole.

Defense spending, on the other hand, is funded primarily by income taxes and competes with spending for infrastructure repair and maintenance, and other important needs of our nation.

So military spending can and often does contribute to the national debt. It should be noted that spending on domestic needs, like research, infrastructure and education, creates jobs and improves the long-term health of our people and economy. Defense spending, much of it off-shore and on unneeded weapons, provides fewer jobs and has no immediate long-term impact.

Joe Burton, Raleigh

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