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Online Social Security Statement In Limbo 160

Posted by timothy
from the don't-worry-your-iou-is-totally-safe dept.
coondoggie writes "While the debate over Social Security benefits is heating up in Congress, one of the most basic ways everyone interacts with the agency — the yearly Social Security Statement — is in limbo as the agency struggles to move it online. The Social Security Statement had been issued every year since 2000 to more than 150 million workers serving as the government's key way of communicating with workers about benefits, earnings records and how much retirement money they have. The statement is also a key tool for communicating with the public about the long-term financial challenges the Social Security system faces. However, whether you realize it or not, the SSA suspended mailings of the statement in March citing budgetary concerns."
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Online Social Security Statement In Limbo

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  • by Pete Venkman (1659965) on Friday July 08, 2011 @07:53PM (#36701182) Journal

    My grandma calls websites "double-u double-u double-u's". There's no frigging way that she could handle something like this online.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 08, 2011 @08:01PM (#36701246)

      My grandma can't read. There's no way she could handle a long document with words printed on it.

    • These aren't for retired people, they're the (formerly) annual statements sent to workers listing their expected benefits based on previous FICA taxes paid.
      • These aren't for retired people, they're the (formerly) annual statements sent to workers listing their expected benefits based on previous FICA taxes paid.

        I generally find for pure escapist fiction, I prefer Baen [baen.com].

        Anyone up for retirement more than ten years out better have arranged their own finances.

        • Re:Better sites (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday July 08, 2011 @11:12PM (#36702142)

          Anyone up for retirement more than ten years out better have arranged their own finances.

          you want to see pitchforks and torches? wait till the boomers retire and are told there is no money (or not enough) in the kitty.

          if anything will cause a rebellion, THIS would be it. people HAVE paid into the fund and they do have a right to expect a payback after working 3/4 of their lives.

          maybe if we had less wars (...) we'd be able to support OUR OWN FRIGGIN PEOPLE.

          we all will retire. this affects us all.

          I'm tired of stealing from our own people to line pockets of the aristocracy.

          they better hope there is money in the fund. even old guys can put up a fight if they are pushed to poverty.

          • maybe if we had less wars (...) we'd be able to support OUR OWN FRIGGIN PEOPLE.

            Nope, whole military (and you have to admit we need some military) is a tiny portion of EXISTING social security outlays. Even cutting back the military drastically does very little to cover forward SS obligations.

            • by maxume (22995)

              Maybe define tiny. Military expenditures in 2010 were about $650 billion. Social Security payments were about $700 billion. So 1/2 of the military budget would seem to cover a tiny 1/2 of the social security outlay.

              Linky:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_federal_budget [wikipedia.org]

              (I realize that the $700 billion present day outlay doesn't really speak to the future obligations, but you have the appearance of just making things up)

            • Nonsense. The military consumes a literally infinitely greater share of income tax receipts and borrowing. Social Security is funded by a separate, earmarked tax and has run a surplus every year since it began over 75 years ago. In the most recent fiscal year, expenditures were $712.5B, while income was $781.1B, with the difference $68.6B being taken by the general fund in exchange for non-marketable US bonds. (This system was a Reagan-era fraud. The Social Security Trust Fund is now the largest single cred

          • by slick7 (1703596)

            Anyone up for retirement more than ten years out better have arranged their own finances.you want to see pitchforks and torches? wait till the boomers retire and are told there is no money (or not enough) in the kitty. if anything will cause a rebellion, THIS would be it. people HAVE paid into the fund and they do have a right to expect a payback after working 3/4 of their lives. maybe if we had less wars (...) we'd be able to support OUR OWN FRIGGIN PEOPLE. we all will retire. this affects us all. I'm tired of stealing from our own people to line pockets of the aristocracy. they better hope there is money in the fund. even old guys can put up a fight if they are pushed to poverty.

            The smartest thing this government could do is to stop taking taxes out of the people closest to retirement, less than 20 years out but we all know that isn't going to happen anywhere this side of year 2511. The fact that this government would rather see people about to retire, die is more likely.
            It's time for these politicians to live like the majority of the population, no job, no health-care, no house, no pension after 35 of saving, then, maybe, they will get it.

          • by gtall (79522)

            The Lie that is social security is that you are somehow entitled to the promised benefits. That was always incorrect as anyone can see: you are entitled to amount of promised benefits that the American people can and are willing to afford. No more. So stop thinking there is a some sort of cosmic unity involved in the baby boomers getting their benefits. There isn't, there never was, and there never will be.

          • by gronofer (838299)
            There's no way the US government will meet all the payments that it has promised. It simply doesn't have the income, nor can it borrow forever. Sure, it has wasted a lot on wars, bailing out banks, and an out of control medical system, but that can't be turned back. Either they will change the rules and not pay it, or they will let inflation get out of control and pay in devalued dollars.
        • Re:Better sites (Score:4, Insightful)

          by nbauman (624611) on Friday July 08, 2011 @11:57PM (#36702336) Homepage Journal

          Anyone up for retirement more than ten years out better have arranged their own finances.

          Although I enjoy cranky anti-government fantasies too, it's better to stay closer to reality. The Republicans are beating this anti-Social Security line because they want to say, "Social Security isn't going to be there for you, so let's end it and save you all those tax deductions" (which are the lowest in the developed world).

          http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/cockroach-ideas/ [nytimes.com]
          Conscience of a Liberal
          Cockroach Ideas
          By PAUL KRUGMAN
          March 13, 2011, 12:57 pm

          “the Social Security trust fund doesn’t exist”

          If Ronald Reagan had said, back in the 1980s, “Let’s increase a regressive tax that falls mainly on the working class, while cutting taxes that fall mainly on much richer people,” he would have faced a political firestorm. But because the increase in the regressive payroll tax was recommended by the Greenspan Commission to support Social Security, it was politically in a different box – you might even call it a lockbox – from Reagan’s tax cuts.

          Their answer to the pretty good numbers is to say that the trust fund is meaningless, because it’s invested in U.S. government bonds. They aren’t really saying that government bonds are worthless; their point is that the whole notion of a separate budget for Social Security is a fiction.

          But there are two problems with their position.

          The lesser problem is that if you say that there is no link between the payroll tax and future Social Security benefits – which is what denying the reality of the trust fund amounts to – then Greenspan and company pulled a fast one back in the 1980s: they sold a regressive tax switch, raising taxes on workers while cutting them on the wealthy, on false pretenses. More broadly, we’re breaking a major promise if we now, after 20 years of high payroll taxes to pay for Social Security’s future, declare that it was all a little joke on the public.

          The bigger problem for those who want to see a crisis in Social Security’s future is this: if Social Security is just part of the federal budget, with no budget or trust fund of its own, then, well, it’s just part of the federal budget: there can’t be a Social Security crisis.

        • by awfar (211405)

          It doesn't matter if you are right or wrong. You don't get halfway through the game and try to unilaterally change the rules, even if it is uncomfortable for you.
          Many of us have paid in for the majority of our lives.

      • You're right, baby boomers are way more tech savvy than grandma.

    • by houghi (78078)

      And that is unimportant as other ways will still be available. The fax did not replace letters. Some ways of communication will fade away. The telex is one of them.

      I work at a company that has just recently opened up a website for the customers to use. Although we try to push them towards the website, we will not force them and in many occasions we even discourage people to use it. This mainly with the elderly who don't understand how to type in a URL. Some even do not HAVE a computer and we do not want to

  • FTFA: "The SSA suspended mailings of the statement in March citing budgetary concerns"

    When they can't even afford postage, how far off can the warnings of the SSA's eminent collapse be?

    • by waddgodd (34934)

      In normal years, they could afford it, but the economy made it so they took in $40 billion less than they paid out last year. They expect a similar shortfall this year. This isn't bad, as the trust fund is coming REALLY close to $2 trillion, but they don't want to borrow more than they have to from interest or the general fund (I'm thinking borrow from the general fund is out right now). Basically, they're looking right down the barrel of a HUGE payout of trust fund as the baby boom retires in the next f

      • Re:Dire Omen? (Score:5, Informative)

        by ravenspear (756059) on Friday July 08, 2011 @08:21PM (#36701370)

        One problem here that not many people know about is that the "trust fund" isn't an actual account with actual money in it.

        It's basically just a stack of IOUs from the Treasury dept stating that they will pay that amount when the SSA requests it, but if future government revenues or budgets are not conducive to that money being available from Treasury, it could be hard for them to get it.

        • Re:Dire Omen? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by AK Marc (707885) on Friday July 08, 2011 @08:29PM (#36701418)

          One problem here that not many people know about is that the "trust fund" isn't an actual account with actual money in it.

          Sure it is. You might as well argue that your bank account has no money in it because they loaned it out, or that any retirement fund with stocks, bonds, or T-bills in it doesn't have any money in the account.

          All accounts run like that. "Your" money isn't there. It's in some IOU form. Unless you have your retirement account stashed under the bed, you do exactly what you condemn.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            The difference is that the social security trust fund *is* the federal government. The federal government lent all the money in the social security trust fund to itself, and then it spent the money. A bank would have lent the money to various third parties who would pay it back. The federal government has to pay the money back through tax revenue (or more borrowing). That's a pretty big difference. If a bank lent its deposits to its officers, and then the officers spent the money, all the bank's office

            • The difference is that the social security trust fund *is* the federal government. The federal government lent all the money in the social security trust fund to itself, and then it spent the money. A bank would have lent the money to various third parties who would pay it back. The federal government has to pay the money back through tax revenue (or more borrowing). That's a pretty big difference. If a bank lent its deposits to its officers, and then the officers spent the money, all the bank's officers would be in jail right now. An IOU written to yourself is not an asset. The social security trust fund is insolvent. All the money being paid out has to come from taxes, borrowing, or printing money.

              The bolded was the point I was making.

              If a bank issues a loan to a private party, that party has a legal obligation to repay the loan, so the bank knows exactly how much it can be expecting back. Sure the guy might not be able to pay, but in most cases he will. We can't accurate project what future government revenues or budgets will look like. So the gov issuing an IOU to itself is really just an assertion that they will pay back that dept based on faith in future economic growth leading to more revenue.

              • We can't accurate project what future government revenues or budgets will look like.

                However, if it gets to the point where the US government can't honor that debt it means the entire country is really, really screwed anyway. So much so that SS solvency will be one of more minor problems of the day.

              • by AK Marc (707885)

                An IOU written to yourself is not an asset.

                Evidently you've never worked for a fortune 100 company. They do that all the time (business units owing to others). And they have to rectify those when they sell or reorg. Or all the Enron pensioners who had their retirement plans stuffed with Enron stock. It's stupid to have your retirement plan in the company you work for (the point of an IOU written to yourself), but it is still a valid IOU.

                I understand your point, but I don't agree with your opinion. The only possibility of the US government defa

          • by homer_s (799572)
            By that logic I have a trillion dollars - I have IOUs from myself worth that much. I also have a trillion Zimbabwe dollars on my desk.

            The IOUs have to be from some other credible counter-party to be taken seriously.
            • by AK Marc (707885)

              The IOUs have to be from some other credible counter-party to be taken seriously.

              You are stupid. Millions (tens of, maybe hundreds of millions) of people have money in T-bills. They are credible, whether they are first-party or third-party securities. Just like getting a bank backing of that would be useless because it's more likely that any individual bank will fail than the US government will (and if the US government did fail, then it's possible that many banks will fail as well with the collapse of the US economy and all backing of banks).

              The US government is too big to fail, and

          • You might as well argue that your bank account has no money in it because they loaned it out ...

            A person might make that argument and that person would be correct. That's why when there are runs on banks the banks fail. That's why we have FDIC insurance where the government guarantees your account, because the money is not in the bank.

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              And yet the vast majority of the people use banks and don't worry that they'll have trouble getting their money out. But when I suggest the same with another self IOU, people go nuts and claim it's unheard of. My argument isn't that it's "good" or "bad" but that nearly all companies will put a debt on the books with one department or another And complaining that the government is doing it is a massive "duh". Of course they are. And when they insinuate it's a "bad" thing I'm not trying to assert that i
              • by perpenso (1613749)

                And yet the vast majority of the people use banks and don't worry that they'll have trouble getting their money out.

                Because of the FDIC insurance provided by the government. Prior to the FDIC there were runs on banks because people thought they would have some trouble.
                "During the 1930s, the U.S. and the rest of the world experienced a severe economic contraction that is now called the Great Depression. In the U.S. during the height of the Great Depression, the official unemployment rate was 25% and the stock market had declined 75% since 1929. Bank runs were common because there wasn't insurance on deposits at banks, ba

                • by AK Marc (707885)

                  Because of the FDIC insurance provided by the government. Prior to the FDIC there were runs on banks because people thought they would have some trouble.

                  I don't disagree, but I do feel it necessary to point out that when the feds back the banks, you imply it's a good thing, but when the feds back SS, you imply it's a bad thing. Again, I'm not arguing for or against the process, but for logic to be used when discussing it.

                  Its not a self IOU because of the FDIC insurance and regulation.

                  The issue there wasn't that it was self insurance, but that the insurer for banks is the same for SS and everyone trusts the feds for one and not the other. It's not logical or consistent.

                  Basically, people who companies go into debt to sometimes lose, those IOUs turned out to be worth pennies on the dollar or nothing at all.

                  For that point, I was commenting on the separate i

          • by tiqui (1024021)

            No, it is NOT an account.

            First, the courts have already ruled on this. According to the Supreme court, the federal government gets to decide each year whether it will pay-out to social security recipients and how much to pay. There is nothing other than public outrage that forces the Federal govt to pay you anything from social security when you retire (they ARE required to pay things like retirement packages of retired govt employees)

            Second, if that was an actual account, then why do you not have a PIN num

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              It is an account, but it isn't your account. It's like you have a mutual fund that buys stick in Microsoft. You don't own any shares in Microsoft. You can't vote in the shareholder meetings. Any dividends paid will not be paid to you. So you wouldn't get a Microsoft PIN.

              You are arguing that if you own a mutual fund that owns MS stock, that unless you have a PIN for MS, that your mutual fund doesn't own any MS stock. That's just plain wrong, and in no way indicates that you don't have a relationship w
        • Re:Dire Omen? (Score:4, Informative)

          by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday July 08, 2011 @08:47PM (#36701524)

          One problem here that not many people know about is that the "trust fund" isn't an actual account with actual money in it.

          It's basically just a stack of IOUs from the Treasury dept stating that they will pay that amount when the SSA requests it

          One problem here is that people posting things like the above don't know what an "actual account" is, since that's exactly what an actual account (e.g., at a bank) is.

          You seem to have "account" confused with "safety deposit box".

        • by zeroduck (691015)

          China has a lot of those too, they're called bonds. American citizens buy those too. So do American companies.

          What would you like them to do with the money? Tuck it away under the mattress of the Treasury Secretary?

        • by rubycodez (864176)
          At one time, the trust fund *did* have money in it (yes, the electronic information that we call money), but was looted and replaced with securities, which are NOT money. There is a huge dangerous difference.
      • Hmm. Fortunately most of us boomers were too stupid to save any money, so they can't afford to retire for another 10 or 20 years. That should actually help out SS.

      • "they took in $40 billion less than they paid out last year"

        False. The SS surplus was over $68 billion last year.

    • Sigh (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday July 08, 2011 @08:18PM (#36701352)

      Maybe you should read one of those statements they mail, or just do some reading online. Social Security in its current state will never "collapse" because it is funded by taxes. It has taxes collected just for it, from every paycheck. As such, so long as there are people working in America, it has a revenue stream.

      The problem is not a collapse, the problem is that they will not be able to pay out promised benefits. Currently the SSA takes in less money than they need to pay out for benefits. In the short term, that is ok, they have a large fund which is used to fund the difference. However the difference is quite large, and nothing is being done to fix the problem. That means at some point the fund will be depleted (when depends on a lot of factors, you can look up the various estimates). When that happens, they can't pay out the promised benefits, only a fraction of them, maybe 70% currently.

      It is a big problem, particularly since many people depend on social security to not be homeless in old age. However it will not "collapse."

      In terms of suspending mailings, well it probably saves more than you think. It isn't just postage, it is printing costs. No, it doesn't cost a lot to print a couple page flyer. Does cost a bit to print a hundred million of them though.

      Given that they are spending out more than they take in, it makes sense to cut where it is feasible. This would be a potential area.

      • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hedwards (940851) on Friday July 08, 2011 @08:25PM (#36701382)

        That's not true, it would be true if politicians hadn't figured out that they could borrow from it so that they wouldn't have to raise taxes or cut spending during their terms, then skip off to retirement with their Federal pensions while everybody else gets benefits cut.

        At this point the Feds owe quite a bit of money to Social Security, but with the GOP refusing to allow for tax hikes or to cut the large sources of spending, it's unlikely to get fixed before things collapse.

        But, OTOH it's not likely that people will get nothing, they'll just git a fraction of what was promised.

        • A matter of OR (Score:2, Insightful)

          by SuperKendall (25149)

          with the GOP refusing to allow for tax hikes or to cut the large sources of spending

          Excuse me, but the GOP are quite willing to hit huge sources of spending.

          The Democrats want to drive down tax collection further by raising rates (since it happens every. single. time. it is tried you'd think they would change the tune), and they CERTAINLY to do not want to cut even the most minor spending.

          • The Democrats want to drive down tax collection further by raising rates (since it happens every. single. time. it is tried you'd think they would change the tune),

            Any proof to back up the claim that increased taxes on the rich* (lets set the bench mark at 250k/year) reduces overall tax collection?
            • by suppo (267896)
              Since you are too lazy to do a web search (Google: tax rate revenues), the seventh hit has an article on exactly this topic: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2003/08/the-historical-lessons-of-lower-tax-rates [heritage.org] Careful before you jump to polemics about it. President Kennedy is quoted: "the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now." Bottom line: Every time tax RATES were lowered in the 20th century, tax REVENUE increased.
            • Not specifically the rich, but raising tax rates overall. The proof is the Laffer curve [wikipedia.org] .

              • Assuming it is valid, there is nothing to say it is symmetric and the article you linked to supports the curve being around 70%. So following the Laffer Curve, we need to raise taxes up quiet a bit to reach that point.

                From the article: "in other words, that raising taxes would raise further revenue"
          • by IICV (652597)

            I'm so confused.

            The GOP is willing to hit huge sources of spending like what, exactly? The military? Because IIRC, the GOP is all about military spending. Maybe you meant things like funding for the NSF or NASA or other things like that? Because if you did, those are literal drops in the bucket. Sure, we can cut them, but it won't do anything - it's like putting a bandaid on a papercut when your jugular is severed.

            The Democrats want to drive down tax collection by raising taxes? How exactly does that work?

          • Some people seem to think that we are always on the wrong side of the Laffer curve, but there is no evidence that this is the case now. The higher taxes of the Reagan and Clinton eras corresponded with higher tax collections as a % of GDP and more prosperity than we have today. If you want to cut, the place to do it is not in the area of the government that is more than paying for itself, but rather in the areas that have the most waste: military, intelligence, DHS, contractors (rather than employees), and

        • The US Govt. which has never spent within it's means should not be trusted with my or anyone's retirement fund or to provide any service, They are liars and thieves.

          If you are dumb enough to rely on this and they don't pay up you get exactly what you deserve, which is nothing after the thieves are done borrowing it for their own gain.

          We have known for a long time this was headed for bankruptcy (it's a damn pyramid scheme no matter what they want to call it)

          I don't pay into SS but pay into something else, no

      • by vandelais (164490)

        Currently the SSA takes in less money than they need to pay out for benefits. In the short term, that is ok, they have a large fund which is used to fund the difference. However the difference is quite large, and nothing is being done to fix the problem. That means at some point the fund will be depleted (when depends on a lot of factors, you can look up the various estimates). When that happens, they can't pay out the promised benefits, only a fraction of them, maybe 70% currently.

        Except no article on the subject goes past that point. It's just 70% and the story ends there. The mathematical unsustainability of the system in its current state means that the payments will start at 70% and decline year after year after year....
        Promises were made, promises were kept, but when the trust fund runs out, hold onto your hats.

        The system needs reform on the expense side of the equation.

        • Except no article on the subject goes past that point. It's just 70% and the story ends there. The mathematical unsustainability of the system in its current state means that the payments will start at 70% and decline year after year after year....

          Except that that's not true. Uh, no, the most recent trustees report shows, under the intermediate assumptions that the trust fund will be exhausted in 2036, allowing only 77% of authorized benefits to be paid at that time. That gradually worsens to 74% by 2085, w

          • by astar (203020)

            Consider:

            I claim the following are the congress critters operating assumptions:

            1) we want to put a lot of money into stuff that is *against* the general welfare
            2) we do not want to put money into stuff that "improves* the general welfare

            Now consider a possible proxy for general welfare:

            increase the productive part of the economy by say 2% a year instead of negative percents

            Oops, if done, no more worries about the trust fund running out of money anytime soon

            On this site, we could probably come up today with

        • The fact is that correcting the imbalance will not take a major change in the tax/benefit ratio. Simply removing the income cap on payroll taxes would be enough.

          The system is actually quite sustainable. The deal right now is that there is an unusually large generation moving through the plan. Back when Reagan was President payroll taxes and retirement ages were increased in order to account for the post war cohort. Some adjustment is now needed again to fine tune things. Once the boomers start dying off in

          • Great points. I'd like to note, however, that the SS trust fund is closer to $2.5 trillion than $3T, the bonds it holds are not T-bills but rather longer-term, special-issue, unmarketable Treasury notes and SS expenditures are (and always have been) less than receipts on a yearly basis, by over $68B in the last fiscal year.

      • if the social security system either starts paying out an amount insufficient for purchase of anything useful, or starts paying out the equivalent of hyperinflated Zimbabwe notes, unsuitable and insufficient for purchase of anything, it can be accurately said to have collapsed. You also assume unemployment can not rise so high that government revenue is essentially zero for any practical purpose. We, the USA, are headed to both those problems on an ever accelerating train.
      • by Hungus (585181)

        Actually you are wrong, Currently SSA takes in MORE money than they pay out. There is no "Fund" as Congress has been "Borrowing" it to fund other parts of the budget. The best way to maintain benefits after the switchover occurs (when more money is being paid out than put in) is to raise SSA taxes now and feather the retirement age again.

        Social Security brought in an excess of 68.6 Billion dollars last year. (thats what remained after all payouts were made)

        Don't believe me?

        The data is here: http://www.ssa.g [ssa.gov]

      • The sad thing is there are about half-a-dozen ways to fix it, and none of them are particularly painful (slightly raise taxes, slightly raise maximum contribution, slightly raise the payout age, slightly decrease benefits) if done early enough. We've known about this for a decade now (at least) and no one has done anything, and the more time passes, the harder it will get. It's rather pathetic.
      • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jejones (115979) on Saturday July 09, 2011 @06:26AM (#36703328) Journal

        It will collapse when the young finally revolt over being taxed the amounts needed to keep the elderly living in the style to which they've become accustomed.

      • "Given that they are spending out more than they take in..."

        No. Social Security has always run a yearly surplus, over $68 billion last year.

  • Is because whatever web design company was offered the job of setting up the site and converting the data RIDICULOUSLY inflated their quote just because it was the gov and they knew how much they could suck out given the prior precedents of waste.

  • by Aquitaine (102097) <sam@ i a m s a m . o rg> on Friday July 08, 2011 @08:20PM (#36701364) Homepage

    In a former job around 6-7 years ago, I worked for a major university that received a lot of state and federal grants, many of which were from the SSA and which included provisions about operating web sites on behalf of the SSA. These were not complex web sites, but they were totally clueless (as was everyone from the SSA that I ever dealt with, though in fairness we only dealt with two or three specific branches). We would get phone calls at 6AM demanding that we remove the SSA logo from a web site that we had done on their behalf, and then a phone call four hours later demanding that we put it back.

    Even by government standards, these people had terrible attitudes. Every meeting with them began and ended with the SSA having the attitude that they were performing the most vital government service in existence, and therefore they knew everything about how it should be done -- not necessarily a bad position, but by definition not a terribly logical one if you are hiring outside groups to do certain jobs for you.

    The paper statements they send out are a hoot, too. They have a little insert that says something to the effect of 'I've heard that Social Security will be insolvent by the year 20xx (usually around 2030). Will I stop receiving payments?'

    'No! Social security will continue to operate as normal. If Congress does not authorize additional funding, you can expect to receive seventy cents on the dollar.'

    Their definition of 'insolvent' must be 'nobody receives anything,' but I can lose 30% of what I'm 'owed' without government assistance.

    • 'No! Social security will continue to operate as normal. If Congress does not authorize additional funding, you can expect to receive seventy cents on the dollar.'

      So the post office and their printer didn't accept their 70% offer. They should just have mailed out 70% of the Statements (those are still good odds imo).

      It's too bad they didn't seem to take into account operating expenses when they did this little back-of-the-enveloppe calculation. How can they pay out seventy cents on the dollars when the most visible part of their operation grinds to a halt at the first sign of lack of funds? Or is this a political tactic on their part, a way to rally the people to put

    • by Kr3m3Puff (413047) *

      I remember the first one I got of it... It politely informed me that I a) had fully qualified based on all my contributions over the years and b) the year I was set to be eligible to retire, they would run out of money, but Congress was working on a way to address this, so I shouldn't worry.

      I don't think they even read their own forms. *sigh*

  • by e9th (652576) <e9th@tupodex.cPOLLOCKom minus painter> on Friday July 08, 2011 @08:48PM (#36701532)
    This is all about politics and scaring older voters.
  • If you put money into the ponzi scheme, you my american (and foreign in many cases) are totally screwed. Thanks for playing, try again on the next shit this government sells the public.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday July 08, 2011 @09:44PM (#36701796)
    This is like every other government "shutdown", shutting down the most noticeable parts of the government to get attention even if it makes no sense. For example, out of all the things to be shut down in a state/local government shutdown it generally won't be the things actually costing the most money, but highly visible things like state parks, or trash service all the while the things that caused the budget to be in a mess are still continuing.
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      This is a good thing. The people need an immediate reminder about why they like the government, to cut through all the demagogy. If the government shut down background services, it would fester unseen and unaddressed for months.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by rubycodez (864176)
        The federal government doesn't collect my trash. How about shutting down "background services" like wars and warmongering and world policing, or lining defense contractors pockets?
      • For the organized criminal elite in power extortion is certainly a good thing, for the demos not so much.
  • What microscopic proportion of the Social Security budget is mailing a few statements?

    The program is bankrupting the nation. Frankly, mailing statements will save money compared to launching some giant IT project with Oracle, SAIC, Lockheed and the other cast of Federal contracting characters. How many 80 year olds are going to be able to deal with an electronic statement anyway? And how will you identity-proof them?

    • Social security is not bankrupting the nation, overall it's a fairly good program. To get a feel for it, check out this chart [wikipedia.org]. Notice which program is pushing up expenses? Social security stays roughly the same, whereas medicaid is really growing in expenses.

      To keep Social Security solvent for the next 70 years, it would only take a small adjustment (decreasing benefits slightly or increasing payments slightly). Medicaid is a different story.
  • The worst part about this... is that the post office was counting on the revenue from those mailings to stay solvent. Doh! No mail for you!

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