RUSH: Here are some amazing numbers for you, folks. I have this story here: ‘Come January, Social Security benefits for nearly 54 million Americans are going up 2.3%. That’s the smallest increase in four years. It will mean an extra $24 a month in the average Social Security recipient’s check.’ The government made this announcement today. Now, this is a cost of living adjustment. It means that the monthly benefit for the typical retired worker here in America in 2008 will now go to $1,079, monthly benefit, or close to $13,000 a year. Now, how much does this cost? Well, I ran the numbers here. We’ve got 54 million takers — uh, Social Security recipients. We have $13,000 a year for each one. The figure is 702 billion. The federal budget is around three trillion. Almost one-third of the federal budget is Social Security, and we haven’t even talked about Medicaid and Medicare yet. But just to give you an idea of how powerless the federal government is to provide prosperity, we’re talking 13 grand a year, folks. That’s below the poverty level. That’s the average Social Security recipient’s total annual — and thanks to Bill Clinton in 1993, some of those earnings are taxed, even though they are money that has been taxed prior. So, $13,000 a year for 54 million people, 702 billion a year. And the Baby Boomers, the first one just announced their retirement the other day and that’s going to add a lot to this.
Frightening — and here’s the clincher for me: $24 a month increased cost of living, that’s nothing. Six bucks a week? And it’s going to cost us 702 billion? You think that the federal government can come around and provide everybody with $50,000 a year? If it costs almost one-third of the entire federal budget to give 54 million people $13,000 a year, what does that tell you? It tells you to stop depending on these people, for one thing. Stop depending on it and make some plans outside Social Security. The second thing is we’re not going to be able to afford it at this rate much longer. The third thing is the amount of money in the budget and the number of people who are now dependent on the federal government, seasoned citizens alone, is a fast increasing, rapidly increasing, number of people, and at some point it’s going to break the bank. I am just struck by the fact that giving 54 million people an additional $24 a month is going to cost $702 billion.
RUSH: Chuck, Riverside, California. Great to have you with us, sir, today. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. Good morning and mega dittos to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: The reason I’m calling this morning is I was listening to your explanation of the Social Security cost-of-living increase.
CALLER: And I think people need to understand that that’s a gross figure. The net figure will be something less than that because you have to pay for your premium for Medicare. And every year that we get that cost-of-living increase, the Medicare premium goes up. So it’s not going to be $24, it will be something less than that.
RUSH: Right, but the government payout is going to be — the taxpayers of this country have gotta come up with $702 billion next year to give every Social Security recipient 13 grand. I don’t care if it’s gross or net. Let’s deal with the gross. The net is your problem because Clinton raised taxes on a portion of your Social Security, and of course your Medicare premiums go up and so forth, so yeah, but we’re talking gross dollars. That’s an excellent point because your $13,000 benefit every year is not $13,000 because they tax it and other copays for your Medicare go up. Yeah, it’s a good point. The point is, we can’t afford to keep going like this, and the idea that some people think that the government can make all of us prosperous, and happy, and so forth, raising the minimum wage or this sort of thing, it’s just ridiculous.
When you stop to think, maybe this only interests somebody like myself, I don’t know, but as a huge conservative and big believer in reducing the size of small government, promoting self-reliance, rugged individualism and independence, and I know that this is the retirement community, and many of you think that the money coming back to you is your own and you put it in there a long time ago. We long since passed those days, gang. It takes four workers’ taxes, FICA taxes, to provide the Social Security benefits for one recipient these days, and that burden is soon going to be three. Other people are paying this for you. I know you paid in, but you’re getting back far more than you put in, is the bottom line. And with the Baby Boomers, that’s really going to be the case. So when you learn that to give 54 million people an additional $24 gross, costs one-third the federal budget, seems to me there are huge, huge lessons to be learned there.