|April 27, 2005|
Ways and Means Kills Inquiry into Question on Trust Fund
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
Last night, in a rare Monday night session, the Ways and Means Committee of the United States House of Representative voted 22-1 against a resolution which would require the President to produce documentation supporting his oft-repeated claim that there is no Social Security Trust.
The action stopped a Resolution of Inquiry from proceeding to the full House for a vote. I introduced the resolution last month after President Bush had claimed in a meeting in New Hampshire that "there is no Social Security trust." He has since repeated the assertion. The implications of the President's assertions about the Social Security trust fund are quite serious for the 48 million Americans who currently rely on Social Security, and for those who will become recipients in the future.
According to the Social Security Administration's own trustees, Social Security has $1.68 trillion in the Trust Fund. According to the Social Security Administration the surplus will grow to over $6 trillion.
Most interesting, however, the President's assertion that there is no Trust Fund comes at a time when the Administration has borrowed over $637.4 billion from the fund obtained in highly regressive taxes on American workers. That borrowed money is, in effect, being used to help fund an illegal war and to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
If the President's assertions remain unchallenged, the Administration can continue to drain the Trust Fund of its assets and make true its now false claim that Social Security has no Trust Fund and is going bankrupt. They only need the complicity of the Congress.
Now the Congressional committee which has direct jurisdiction over Social Security is refusing to hold the President accountable for his statements. In other words, the Committee itself doesn't want the President to produce any documents supporting his claim that there is no Social Security Trust.
If Congress had formally asked the President to produce documents backing up his contention that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, he would have been unable to do so and would have lacked a sufficient cause to go to war.
If Congress had formally asked the President to produce documents that the United States could afford massive tax cuts to the wealthy without going into huge deficits, he would have been unable to do so and we would not be cutting funds for education, housing, job-creation and other social services (nor borrowing from Social Security) to mask the increasing inability of the government to balance its budget.
The President has a Constitutional obligation to uphold the public debt of the United States. Social Security's financial obligations are, according to the Social Security Trustees, backed by the "full faith and credit of the United States". If, indeed, there is no Social Security trust - as the President asserts with the political protection of his Congressional majority - then it is clear that the President is heading towards a direct challenge to his own constitutional authority and legal responsibilities to affirm the financial obligations of Social Security.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
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