Letter to the Editor - The Orlando Sentinel

In case this news slipped by your notice, the Bush administration recently announced a $319 billion budget deficit for fiscal 2005. This figure was, as usual and hence not so surprisingly, cut out of whole cloth, since the true deficit was closer to $551 billion for 2005. The $232 billion shortfall was deftly lessened by secretly "borrowing" $173 billion from Social Security retirement money and simply posting it against general operating expenses. Presto! Negative fallout muted, just like that.

Charley Bartlett, author of Coleman/Bartlett's newsletter, Washington Focus, and the source of this news item, goes on to point out that estimated Bush budgets, projected over the next 10 years, will perforce rely on "borrowings" from the Social Security Trust Fund totaling $2.4 trillion.

It's worth recalling that, at his first election, George W. Bush promised never to draw any monies from Social Security -- easily said when projections also promised $6 trillion in federal surpluses over the same 10-year period. So much for promises.

Could this deplorable reality be at the root of Bush's insistence that the Social Security system as a whole is in such dire need of overhauling and privatization?

Happy New Year, young and old alike, from those caring folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and on Capitol Hill.

Chauncey G. parker III


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