Michael Lind tries to sort out Social Security fact from fiction. Responding to the charge that, "We have only two choices, or a combination -- cutting benefits or raising the payroll tax," he responds:
If you want to be revenue-neutral, the Social Security shortfall of about 2 percent of GDP between now and mid-century could be patched with general revenue funds diverted from defense, if without endangering our safety we could gradually lower defense spending from its present wartime level of about 4 percent of GDP to 2 percent, which is more than most other advanced industrial countries spend on defense.
But other countries aren't running a constantly expanding global empire. That empire expanded considerably under Bush and Obama seems intent on perpetuating and deepening it, despite the clear will of those who voted for him. There is no assurance we will withdraw from Iraq in significant numbers under this president - we're already backsliding - and he's pulling a Lyndon Johnson on Afghanistan. Where do you find the savings?
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