"Ponzi scheme!", "bankrupt", "liberal conspiracy". These are terms you often hear from the teapublication party and radical conservatives when describing the Social Security program. The issue with those terms is that they're all false. Whether it's your conservative uncle around the dinner table, conservative mouth pieces like Rush Limbaugh or the Tea Party members of congress, these flat-out lies are being told across the country.
Social Security is important in people's lives, especially retirees who rely on these benefits. Social Security is not part of the budget and doesn't contribute one nickel to the national debt. Social Security is part of a payroll tax, which is 100% solvent until the year 2038, and can pay out over 80% of the benefits until 2085. Social Security, from its creation under one of our countries greatest presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt, has been one of the most successful programs the government has ever provided its people.
While Social Security is solvent for the short-term, there are long-term issues with the program that stem from situations that occurred over thirty years ago. In the 1980s, Republican President Ronald Reagan cut tax rates drastically. In 1980 the top tax rate was 70%, which was cut to 50% by 1984 and finally down to 28% by the time Reagan left office in 1988. Supply side economics, or "Reaganomics", was the economic system that Reagan used and was the idea that giving wealthy Americans more money would create jobs which would then "trickle down" to other Americans.
The supply side theory didn't exactly work as planned and Reagan needed a way to make up for the loss in revenue. Reagan ended up tripling the debt while congress raised the debt limit 18 times during his presidency without hesitation. With the lack of revenue coming into the government, Reagan needed a way to keep his fiscal house in order. In addition to raising the debt limit, Reagan also raised taxes multiple times and he did it on the middle class by attacking Social Security.
In 1987, Ronald Reagan appointed veteran business man Alan Greenspan to become Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Before he stepped into his new job, Greenspan already had a big impact on American economics. Under the advice of Greenspan, Reagan took money from the Social Security trust fund to help pay down the debt. The payroll tax was raised in 1983, and the government spent the surplus of Social Security each year to help pay down the giant debt that Reagan created by giving the wealthiest Americans more money each year with the promise of "job creation" for the middle class.
When teapublicans scream about "big government spending" today, they fail to mention that their party was a major reason behind our debt getting out of control. When it comes to Social Security, we need to eliminate the "cap" that is on the program. The cap currently is at $106,800. Anyone who makes more than $106,800 doesn't get taxed for Social Security on their additional income. A person making a million dollars is only paying into the Social Security system 10% of their income, compared to someone making $50,000 a year who is taxed for Social Security on 100% of their income. Shared sacrifice? Not so much.
The "golden child" of the teapublican party, Ronald Reagan, was the man who started the problems for Social Security and the teapublicans have been scaring the American people, especially the elderly, ever since. Social Security is solvent, but we wouldn't even be having the discussion about its future if it wasn't for Ronald Reagan.