The games politicians play, pt. 1

Say you had taken out a loan for $1,000, and the term of the loan was for 10 months. But what if you began only making payments of $10 per month?

You would reach the 9-month mark and find that you still owed $910. If you told a friend about it and you stated you had a "crisis," because you had not paid off the debt, they might be puzzled. 

They might comment that the "crisis" is your own fault, as you knew when you took the loan that you would need to pay $100 per month. They may fault you for your poor math skills, but they may be less sympathetic to your depiction of the event as a crisis. You knew months earlier and did not increase your payment, so it is difficult to pretend at the ninth month that it is crisis.

So it is with Congress and the manufactured "crisis" regarding Social Security disability (SSD) insurance benefits. At various points during the last 45 years, Congress broadened eligibility for SSD benefits. This was in response to the genuine needs of many Americans with disabilities.

However, Congress failed to properly enact new taxes to pay for these increases. As the baby boomers have aged, they have increased the SSD rolls. This and other demographic changes have increased the programs costs, the shortfall in the trust fund was forecast back in the early 1990s.

Next time, we will discuss more on the SSD trust fund exhaustion issue.

Politico.com, "Republicans target Social Security disability," David Rogers, January 20, 2015

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