SOCIAL SECURITY Opportunity Awaits

Article excerpt

There is a rare opportunity to accomplish two desirable public policy goals at once, if only Congress would focus more on them.

In no sense can the federal income tax system be called fair. Increasingly, politicians have tried to load the entire burden on the "rich" and hide it in the prices of goods that we buy.

As a result, 1 percent of the taxpayers paid 36 percent of the total individual income taxes in 1999. Ten years earlier, the share they paid was 25 percent.

Simultaneously, two areas of the federal budget are growing at an astonishing rate.

In 1943, Social Security, health and welfare together consumed less than 3 percent of the budget. Defense was 85 percent of the budget.

President Bush has proposed spending 18 percent of the budget next year on defense and is being criticized for excess. In 1963, when the nation was at peace, the total amount spent on defense was 48 percent of the budget.

Social Security now is the 800-pound gorilla. …


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