In the clamor that substitutes for discussion about reducing the federal deficit, we are constantly reminded by conservatives that everything must be on the table, even Social Security.
Some adjustments need to be made, but Social Security does not contribute one single cent to the deficit. Social Security is a defined benefit program designed to be entirely self-sufficient. It is financed with contributions from employees, employers and the self-employed and the money is held in “trust” (remember “the Lock Box?”). The plan has no borrowing authority, so it does not and cannot contribute to the deficit.
Another bit of right-wing misinformation is that Social Security is going broke and will run out of money in 2037. That is simply not true. If nothing is changed, Social Security can pay all benefits in full until 2037 and 75 percent of scheduled benefits from 2037 to 2084.
The plan needs to be “tweaked” periodically (as it was in 1983), but Social Security actuaries plan 75 years in advance and report to Congress every year. If you want to truly understand how to fix the deficit, read more and watch Fox News less.
Lee Van Leeuwen
San Luis Obispo
On Valentine’s Day, I was a passenger on the Route 3 bus. A young mother and her 14-month-old son were also on the bus. The mother presented me with a Valentine bag containing suckers and chocolate, but best of all was the Valentine from Connor (her son) sporting his picture. She also gave a bag to the driver.
What a pleasant gesture on a rainy Valentine’s Day! I thank her and Connor for being such lovely people.
San Luis Obispo
Use those savings
I am so happy to see that it’s business as usual in Sacramento. While thousands of state employees suffer pay, benefit and job cuts, legislative aids are getting pay increases (“California lawmakers approve more pay for some staff,” Feb. 10).
All this at a time when our governor wants to increase taxes! Remember, while your public safety agencies and education and care programs suffer critical cuts, these hard-working employees (26 who already earn more than $100,000 per year) will be spending our tax dollars.
The Legislature justifies the raises through budget savings. Shouldn’t those savings be used to fight the state’s growing deficit?
Voters will decide
I agree with and support Republican legislators’ “no new or increased taxes” pledge as I am someone who believes that our state’s financial problems are due to spending too much, not taxing too little.
However, I appreciate Gov. Jerry Brown’s commitment to submit any tax proposal to a statewide vote this coming June. That leaves the final decision in the hands of California voters, not our state Legislature.
So Republican legislators who vote to put the matter on the ballot are by no means violating their tax pledge. If we vote to enact more taxes on ourselves, then it will be our choice and not that of Republican legislators.
Following the vote, I would expect these representatives to continue to honor their pledge by opposing any and all new or increased taxes that come before the state Senate and Assembly.
I’m not going to argue about the police and fire unions’ decision not to participate in the city task force or about the details of their pensions.
I just want to say “thank you” to the San Luis Obispo Fire Department for continuing to sacrifice your safety for others and risk your lives every minute you are on the job.
Whether it be a drunk Cal Poly student vomiting on you while you are trying to make sure she does not choke to death, a homeless man who is soaked in his own feces who would like a hospital bed for the night or a person who is seconds away from death from a heroin overdose, you care for all of these people and more, on a daily basis, with the utmost professionalism and compassion.
You don’t discriminate, you don’t judge, you don’t complain, you don’t turn the other way. The greatest thing about you is that you do it because you want to.
So I am not going to do what a lot of other people do and say “thank you for your service, but your pensions, your wages, your overtime, etc.” I am just going to say thank you.
San Luis Obispo
I keep hearing about our fire and police departments moaning because they are not getting raises for two years and because they do not want to revisit anything regarding their retirements.
I say they are spending the goodwill and stature they have built up over the years. I have friends in both departments and I feel this whining is beneath them.
In the past, the city, county, state and federal governments have all over spent and everyone is going to have to give up something.
That means the rich, poor, young and even the seniors who have not received an increase in Social Security in two years have to do what they can to get us out of this financial mess, no exceptions.
Bill Lockyer, our state treasurer, was asked if the state should declare bankruptcy to get relief from the devastating contracts forced on us by public employee unions. He replied, “No state needs to declare bankruptcy.
The states have sovereign taxing power the big companies don’t.”
This validates the warning Franklin D. Roosevelt gave union leaders back in 1937: “Unions must never be allowed to represent public employees because that would mean collective bargaining against the people. In your contracts with private employers, you have to leave them enough money to keep their doors open. In the public sector, there is no such restraint, since their power to tax is unlimited.”
It was John F. Kennedy who opened federal employment to unions with executive order 10988 while Congress was in recess. Gov. Jerry Brown let them in during his first term in the 1970s, which also allowed them to invade our counties and cities.
Unions always pander to public employees’ greed. How can a San Luis Obispo firefighter or police officer possibly survive on less than $10,000 a month when he retires at age 50?
Robert L. Hyde