End Social Security NOW!


Republicans are quiet about what’s going to be in the budget. Part of this is because they have to run it past the president and democratic-controlled senate first. Either they are going to write a compromise budget, or they are going to shut government down.

This is, of course, a millions times better than what the democrats did last year: they passed NO BUDGET AT ALL for the first time in who knows how long.

I want to help the republicans in congress get some courage to cut some programs. I’m going to start with the most sacred cow of all, even though it is hardly the largest: Social Security.

President Bush gave democrats and republicans alike a chance to come together and rework Social Security so that it could remain solvent. That failed. So Social Security is going to fail. I received a letter last year that explained I would not receive any more than 75% of what I was entitled to, unless congress changes something quickly.

Let’s face it. If you’re under 50, Social Security is a tax that goes into a black hole. Social Security cannot afford to spend one dime on any younger than 50. As it is, it is incapable of helping those over 50 or even the retirement age of 65.

Here’s what I propose:

  1. Immediately end the Social Security program for those under 50. That’s it, it’s gone.
  2. Those 50 and older may choose to opt-in to the program, and do so by continuing to pay into Social Security at current rates.
  3. When those 50 years and older go to collect Social Security, we do means testing. If you have a retirement set up, and it is sufficient, you get nothing. If you don’t, and would likely starve to death without Social Security, you get full benefits.
  4. Regardless, everyone is going to pay taxes and those taxes are going to be used to keep the Social Security program afloat for those who can’t replace the retirement we falsely promised them.

Now, a bunch of liberals are getting their panties in a knot over what I’ve just said. First, let’s debunk the lies.

  1. No one is going to starve. Those who need the money in retirement, or who don’t have time to prepare for retirement and were counting on Social Security will still get it. The rest will have to cut back on their own expenses and perhaps move to a less-pricey neighborhood or even (shudder) sell their house to save money on their living arrangements.
  2. There is enough time to prepare for retirement. Those below 50 already know that Social Security is bankrupt and already know not to expect a penny from it, no matter their income. They should have already setup plans, or need to start right away setting up plans. Again, live below your means if you want to accumulate wealth.
  3. We cannot afford moral hazards. We cannot tell people to act irresponsibly and then cover for their mistakes. There is not enough money in the world to pay people to be stupid.
  4. Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme anyway, and the administrators of it have committed a crime far grosser than anything that happens on Wall Street. If you are upset that Social Security isn’t going to be there, let’s hang the people who put the program together in the first place and refused to fix it when things got bad. Let’s not blame the cops who show up to clean up the mess afterwards.

Boo-hoo-hoo. You don’t have a government-backed retirement anymore. I’m sorry. but the government cannot change your diapers and cannot feed you and cannot tell you bedtime stories either. It is up to you, and you alone, to provide for yourself today and in the future.

Yes, life sucks and bad things happen, but that’s why we have the gray matter between our ears and why we all have two hands and feet. When bad things happen, let’s analyze our own situation carefully and find a solution for ourself.

Finally, we can rely on our churches and communities to provide for the needs of the elderly. We cannot expect government to direct our money and resources better than we can on our own. We certainly cannot expect that their motivations can be any better than a church or charity. Not having Social Security means that people who have the means to help the elderly will feel compelled to render assistance.

When the Social Security program is finally over, which won’t happen for 50 years or more under this program, we can keep the portion of our paycheck that would’ve gone into this Ponzi scheme and use it to sock away for our retirement or to help the elderly in poverty in our own communities. Or we can use it to build up our companies and industries so that more and more people can find jobs and the elderly who rely on their investments can receive enough money to survive in their retirement.

Today, that money goes into a black hole that doesn’t produce more wealth than it consumes.

Now, for alternatives. We can keep doing what we are doing today, and then discover that there simply isn’t enough money in the world to make Social Security payments. We already know this is true today. We know it will get worse and worse in the future. This is not up for debate. When we finally run out of money, then we can watch as our Social Security system collapses and as politicians try to clean up the disaster. We can watch as our taxes go sky high while our elderly starve to death, and we are incapable of helping in the slightest because we are all just as much in poverty as they.

Or, we can take the truly bold route and shut down Social Security right now. That is, stop paying out this very moment, and stop collecting payments as well. This may actually work, as long as the president made it clear to companies and the people that they should take their typical social security contribution and use it to help the elderly in their neighborhood, post haste. As long as he taught people that their personal, private acts of charity are enough to save them from dying from the cold or starving to death, we would likely see their standard of living improve.

Republicans have a choice. Either they can pussyfoot around the issue of Social Security, or they can “man up” and do something important. Social Security is important enough that we should shut down government if the senate or the president refuses to budge. I would rather see our government employees go unpaid and our national parks shut down than see the Ponzi scheme that is Social Security continue for another day.

Soon, I’ll talk about cutting Medicare completely out of the federal budget.


8 Responses to “End Social Security NOW!”

  1. dean Says:

    sorry, you make no sense at all if you read the report’s: social security is
    solvent, it’s the only agency in the federal govenment that has a surplus.
    First privatise the private retirement plan’s known as trust fund’s or pension’s that the federal government bailed out from the corporation’s that happened under George W. Bush and the GOP controlled congress.
    hmmm… I wonder what happened there I thought privatising retirement system’s was a good idea.
    second the taxpayer’s already have private retirement account’s called IRA’s and 401k’s and how many of those lossed money beside’s the former bear stearn’s employee’s, and the Lehman Brother employee’s
    that had 401k plan’s invested in those two companie’s.

    And second privatise government services will just had more to the budget, example the military privatising soldier’s for hire. private military companie’s charge government $10,000 a month to serve a long side a soldier that make’s 10% less that and your alright with privatising the government, you’ll really raise the cost’s to the taxpayer at that point.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I’m having a hard time following you on your points.

      (1) I received a letter last year from the Social Security administration telling me that unless something changes, by the time I retire I will definitely not see 25% of the benefits I was promised. They also said that things could get much worse.

      I don’t know what you mean by “solvent”, but that doesn’t sound solvent to me. My tax accountant and my financial adviser both tell me not to bank on Social Security. It’s best to treat it like a tax and just move on with your life.

      (2) I ABSOLUTELY AGREE that the Federal Government has no role in bailing out private financial institutions, no matter who is president. This is theft, plain and simple. Financial institutions had better get their houses in order so that when the economy crashes, they can stick around. Those financial institutions which fail to meet their obligations should be held accountable by having their house of cards come tumbling to the ground.

      (3) The difference between losing money in your OWN retirement and having a government bureaucracy waste away your life’s savings is that you are to blame for your own failures. When we have millions of people thinking hard about how best to save their money, our economy will be far healthier than having our federal government try to make these decisions for us. Yes, people make bad decisions, but they should suffer for their own poor choices, and have no one to blame but themselves. That’s the way real life works, and by internalizing costs and having those who take the risks assume the results, we ensure that they make the best decision they possibly can.

      By externalizing costs and rewarding failure, we have a moral hazard where we encourage bad behavior. This has got to stop.

      (4) Privatization will get you far closer to the minimum cost of things than having government do it all itself. Why? Because government is bidding in an open market with hopefully hundreds of participants. Market forces keep things balanced. When you get a firm you contract with that acts in bad faith, you cut the losses, end the contract, and contract with someone else who hasn’t been acting in bad faith.

      Ask yourself this. Who is easier to fire: a corporation who squandered millions and didn’t provide promised services, or hundreds of employees who did the same?

      If, in the short term, we see that privatization increases costs, that’s because we were really sucking money out of one budget to help another. A company can’t operate long if it isn’t running its books rights, but government could potentially run in perpetuity by juggling the books to make voters and congressmen happy.

      I’d appreciate well thought-out responses. Please understand that I want to see the total budget decreased dramatically—50% or more—which means a lot of areas need to be cut and viciously.

  2. tom paine Says:

    Just give everyone their money back – I’m 60 and would settle for just getting back the dollars I paid in with no interest. That would amount to significant lost earning on all that money, but I’d sacrifice to get rid of the program.

    We end this social welfare program and then
    people have to start being responsible again for their own retirement.
    We could allow people to take that returned money and roll it into an IRA or
    keep it and spend it and pay taxes on it (the taxes that weren’t paid when it went in.)

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I agree.

      I would even be willing to give up all the money I put in. I am sure many below 40 would feel the same way. I am never going to see the money anyway.

      Better yet, why don’t we make all income non-taxable. No one has any claim to anyone else’s labor. This would, of course, mean that the government would need to do far less, but is that a bad thing?

  3. ic2manywords Says:

    I am someone you aren’t addressing in all of this. I have a disabling incurable illness and, after working since age 14, and working full-time for more than 25 years, I can no longer work. I am below fifty. If you take away my benefits I will die.

    Do you really believe that the small churches in rural America can support all of the elderly and disabled (in my congregation of fifty that would be three of us)?

    I’ve heard many who are ultra-conservative or libertarian suggest that those of us on disability can work we just don’t, and we’ll figure out pretty quickly how well we can work once we get hungry enough. Asking any employer to accommodate the ways my disability affects my life is unreasonable for them – they would lose money and/or pay me for a lot of time when I was at work but not working. If they didn’t pay me for time not worked I wouldn’t make enough to live on from working for them. It’s not fair to either of us, in a way.

    Or do we just “die and decrease the surplus population?”

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      I spend a great deal of money on social security every year. I don’t expect to see that money.

      If I were allowed to keep that money, it would mean roughly a 10% raise in my real income. That’s 10% more than I am using today. That money could go to help the poor in my local church (your ratio on 50:3 seems about right. I would guess about 10% of the adult population is incapable of providing for themselves). With 10% extra income for the 90%, it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine supporting the needs of the other 10%.

      Another effect is that my employer also contributes to my social security. In reality, they are paying me about 10% less because they have to write a check for 10% of my salary to the government. If you got rid of Social Security, my income rises, probably close to 10% since the business is already paying that. Now I have 20% extra income. If I gave all that to charity, there would be twice as much money available as was needed.

      But that’s not all. When people see that if they work a little harder, they get to keep even more of their created wealth, they will gladly go to work for themselves. As it is today, I really have no incentive to earn much more money than I do today, since I’ll be taxed (overall) at greater than 50% of the additional income. The first $50k is easy to earn for me, the second and third $50k not so bad, but each incremental $50k would require an even greater dedication of my effort, time, and comforts. It’s simply not worth it for me to raise my salary if I only see $25k for $50k of marginal effort. If you got rid of Social Security, the marginal increase in real income would be closer to $35k, which makes it more attractive for me.

      Combine the fact that more investment capital will flow into our economy, and more people will earn more money, some of which will end up being invested into the economy, and you will see how it’s not impossible to imagine our real GDP growing 5%, 10%, or even 20% a year if we simply removed programs like social security.

      If I were swimming in cash, which I am not, but if I were, I would gladly write large checks regularly to my church for charitable purposes. I would be quite proud that my work not only fed my family, but fed the families of more than a few families in the area who are not capable to provide for themselves.

      My interactions with people like me, or people who own million-dollar homes and drive fancy cars and make so much money they really don’t have to work at all, or people who make just enough money they don’t really think too much about where their money is going, or people who make a little less than what they need to live comfortably, is that we are a very generous people. We are generous to each other and we are generous to strangers. We know how we got to where we are (the generosity of people who came before us), and we understand how to really make America into a beautiful society where even the least among us are treasured as more valuable than any material possession. We intend to leave a legacy of charity and good works, rather than fat bank accounts. Yes, there are a few bad apples who are hoarding wealth, or who are trying to satisfy every vain ambition, but at the very least, they serve a purpose in our economy, and people like me are able to make more money to give to charity because of them.

      Really, it boils down to this. Are you comfortable living off of money seized by government force, with a significant cut taken out to pay off all the administrators? Are you comfortable living off of a program that is bankrupt because politicians used it to buy people’s votes and at the same time, extract even more money from the American people to buy even more votes?

      Or would you rather live off of real charity, charity that comes from people who love and care about you, who won’t take a cut of the charitable contribution, who feel good and inspired as they reach out to the people of lesser financial means than them, and who build real bonds of friendship and love in mutual service?

      The system we have today pits the rich against the poor, politician against the people. The system the way it was intended brings everyone from all walks of life together, and shares everyone’s burdens among each other, and builds communities whose focus is service and love.

      Which would you rather live under?

  4. tensor Says:

    Really, it boils down to this. Are you comfortable living off of money seized by government force, with a significant cut taken out to pay off all the administrators?

    A democracy which follows the popular will remains a democracy, even if you don’t like the results. Social Security is a very popular program, one which has never missed a payment. Just because you don’t like paying into it does not mean the money was “seized by force.” (Yes, the Republicans have been trying to end Social Security — or give the money to firms like Enron — for about as long as it has existed, and the Bush Administration made this a priority in early 2005. W’s efforts failed completely. If Americans remain unfooled by decades of such propaganda, that’s bad news for you propagandists, but not for the rest of us.)

    Plus, let’s see some statistics. Compare the administrative costs of Social Security to the fees paid to Wall Street funds managers. Go ahead, we’re awaiting a good laugh.

    Which would you rather live under?

    His point was that your fantasyland economy has never existed, so no one can live under it.

    • Jonathan Gardner Says:

      Normally, I’d trash this comment for being uncivil, but since it’s apparent having a rational debate with a socialist is impossible, I simply want to point out the logical fallacies you’ve used.

      First, we are not a democracy, and never have been. We are as much a democracy as a dictatorship or an oligarchy. We are a republic. The people who “own” this country made it that way, and it is codified in the Constitution of the United States and every state in the union. Each government has democratic and oligarchic and dictator elements to it, but they are set in opposition to each other to retain the rule of law, which is what makes us a republic. Democracy is a terrible form of government, the same form of government that murdered Joseph Smith in cold blood, and killed Socrates for the crime of disagreeing with public opinion. Our Founding Fathers detested democracy with as much animosity as they hated oligarchy or dictatorships.

      The fact that Social Security has never missed a payment does not change the fact that I received, 2 years in a row, a letter from the Social Security administration that says I will receive 75% of the benefits promised when I retire. The financial projections are clear. By the time I retire, it will be bankrupt. Congress must act to “save” Social Security, although in “saving” it, they will fundamentally alter it, no matter what they choose to do, even if they choose to do nothing at all.

      The money was “seized by force.” I was never consulted. I never consented. If I refuse to pay my Social Security taxes, I go to jail. If the company I work for refuses to pay, they get fined and punished, and the executives go to jail. That’s compulsion, not persuasion.

      The Republicans did not create Enron. Bill Clinton did. The democrats also gave us Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Social Security program, medicaid, and medicare. See a pattern?

      The Republicans have offered “soft landing” alternatives. On the one hand, the money that was promised people near retirement would be given, although it would necessarily come out of taxes. On the other hand, a new program could be introduced called “ownership” where you own your retirement and don’t rely on Congress not raiding your retirement funds for it to be available when you retire. The democrats fought these ideas tooth and nail. I do not understand why, other than to say that they want Social Security to go bankrupt and they want people to hit retirement without a single red penny in their name. That’s the only reason I can see for their childish and insane behavior on this topic.

      The Wall Street Managers make a ton more than Social Security, but they also deliver a vastly superior rate of return. Go ahead, run the calculations. If all the money I paid into Social Security was put into an index fund, or a mutual fund, or any number of programs administered by Wall Street, (a) the money would still be mine to do with as I please, (b) I would have a much, much greater rate of return. Most importantly, (c) congress could not borrow against my money, and then tax me when they decide it’s time to repay their loans.

      Ever hear of the “Roaring Twenties?” Yeah, that was what we had before socialism came to our shores. Socialism is what gave us the 30’s. The “fantasyland economy” gave us the highest standard of living, higher than what many countries in Europe even have 100 years later.

      And before I forget, back in the twenties, charity was a roaring business. We had all sorts of programs and systems to help the poor, hungry, and sick. And they were all done with volunteer work, out of pure compassion. No one in America at the time was left behind, no one, except those who refused help.

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