• Title: The Looting of Social Security: How the Government is Draining America's Retirement Account
  • Author: Ph.D. Allen W. Smith
  • Released: 2003-11-19
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 256
  • ISBN: 0786712813
  • ISBN13: 978-0786712816
  • ASIN: 0786712813
From Publishers Weekly Smith, a retired economics professor, presents what is at heart a straightforward grievance: for more than a decade, political leaders from both parties have used various accounting tricks to shift the Social Security surplus into the general budget, in violation of federal law, and have lied about the nation's financial status, with the probable result, Smith says, that they'll run Social Security into the ground by 2018. He propounds every point of that grievance over and over, even quoting the same speeches in separate chapters. The text is further padded by long excerpts from the Congressional Record, an entire AP dispatch about Smith's exploits driving around Florida in a "debtmobile" covered in slogans, even the complete transcript of a CNN appearance to promote his previous book (The Alleged Budget Surplus). Because he's so hopping mad, everything's a matter of hyperbole. Former president George Bush pursued "one of the most irresponsible fiscal policies in the nation's history," while Bill Clinton's "outrageous deliberate lie" about budget surplus projections was his "greatest sin," and after the current President Bush's first State of the Union address, "perhaps never before in American history had the people been played for such fools." The argument is also slightly undermined by a somewhat unsteady analysis of Bush's political motivations and persistently jarring shifts in tone. Despite the problems in delivery, one gets the sense Smith knows what he's talking about; it's unfortunate that with so much at stake, the book's weaknesses may reduce him to a voice in the wilderness.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Smith, an outspoken advocate of economic education, has written a scathing account of massive fraud on the part of our nation's leaders, who have plundered every cent of the Social Security Trust Fund surplus that was specifically earmarked for the retirement of baby boomers. Social Security funds were never intended for general spending, but huge tax cuts under Reagan ballooned the deficit, forcing the government to "borrow" from the trust fund. Both George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton spent the entire trust-fund balance on government programs, and even though Clinton's deficit-reduction program was a great success, he created the great "budget surplus" myth by adding Social Security funds to the general budget calculation. According to Smith, however, no president has been as fiscally irresponsible as George W. Bush, who, despite the warnings of numerous economists, deceived the American people into accepting a $1.3 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy and threatens to deprive millions of retirees of their benefits in the coming years. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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