A recent letter lambasted Social Security and Medicare spending. Like many others, the letter was long on emotion and short on facts.
In the 75 years since its inception, payments from the Social Security Trust funds have been made to the retired labor force or those who were disabled and couldn't work. These monthly payments have been made without a single failure despite the many predictions of its demise.
This unmatched record should serve as a model for the many private plans that have faded with time.
The writer comments that the payroll tax has not been raised for more than 20 years, but ignores the fact that the taxable income base (or cap) has risen 10 times in the last 13 years with the next increase to $113,700 scheduled in 2013.
In the 10 years from 1980 to 1990, the payroll tax was increased six times and not since then, due to trust balances and estimated payouts.
The Disability Trust Fund and the Old Age and Survivors Trust Fund, from which Social Security and SSI payments are made, have amassed a combined $2.7 trillion as of December 2011 and are estimated to be viable through 2033.
So much for the mysterious commission that in 1994, according to the writer, predicted the bankruptcy of these entitlements.
Under discussion are improvements to the system, eliminating the cap and means testing, but let's not throw out the baby with the bath water.
Hilton Head Island