President Obama and the Democratic Party have set their political strategy for 2012: Claim that there are no problems with the entitlement programs, then blame Republicans when all hell breaks loose because they touched it last. Unfortunately, this is a sound political strategy, even though it is a terrible fiscal one, and treats our seniors as if they were a football to be used as part of some political scrimmage match.
The facts are these. In order to keep Social Security going as it currently is, money needs to flow from the people, through income taxes, and into the Social Security system. This will continue for the next 25 years or so, until Social Security will no longer have any claim on the income tax of the American people. At that point, the Social Security system will be completely, flat out broke, and no one will get anything near 100% of what we promised them.
The history is something like this. A long time ago, it was proposed and adopted that there be a Social Security system. Money would flow in by the social security payroll taxes. Money would flow out in the form or modest benefits to the elderly. The politicians sold this as some sort of retirement program, although any fool who looked at it realized it as only a Ponzi scheme masked as a retirement system. That’s why ever since the inception of the program, every smart financial advisor called the money you put into Social Security a “tax” and any benefit you happen to receive from Social Security pure luck.
Of course, with the Baby Boomers retiring now, many of whom have no retirement at all, Social Security is their only hope. They have been taught since they were young that mama government can take care of them, and that there was no need to think very hard about their future because everything will be OK. Unlike the previous generation, who sacrificed everything to get nothing in return except a better life for their children, the Baby Boomers have learned to sacrifice nothing and get everything in return. (Of course, exceptions abound.)
I received, for the second year in a row, a letter from the Social Security Administration, explaining how much money I paid in and how much I can expect to get out. They told me I can expect something like 75% of my promised benefits if nothing changes. Of course, that is a bald-face lie, since I won’t reach 65 for at least another 30 years, long after the Social Security system runs out of money altogether. I know, as many of my age group know, that the Social Security system is just a way to take money out of my pocket. Even if it were a retirement program, it is such a terrible program that were it a private retirement program, the program manages would be imprisoned for outright fraud on the American people.
Now, we were at a crossroads 6 years ago when President Bush made serious efforts to “fix” the Social Security system. The decision by the American people was, “Do nothing”, no doubt egged on by democrats who said, “It’s not broken, why fix it?”
Now we are at another critical point, the point at which we have to withdraw from the general budget. Yet again, democrats are saying, “It’s not broken, why fix it?”
I’m one of those who would like to see Social Security disappear as soon as possible. Not because I despise the elderly, but because I love them. Those who perpetuate the fraud of Social Security are the people who are abusing our elders, and it is they who need to apologize, right now, for the damage they have done to them.
Social Security can be “fixed”, at least in a way that will gently ease the elderly out of Social Security and into something else. If we simply honestly assessed the true cost of retirement programs for those 55 and older, and reconciled the cost with the budget, and told the American people how much money we need today and how long the program will last, we would see that settling the books now, at the expense of the program but for the benefit of those who were bilked by it, then we can end the program once and for all. I do not mind volunteering my tax dollars, through representative government, to finance the abolishment of the Social Security program.
As for people younger than 50, perhaps those from 40-50 could receive partial benefits, and those younger than 40 told to figure out for themselves what they are going to do for retirement. I am, myself, in the latter category. I already have no plans on collecting one red cent from Social Security, since I know it will be impossible to collect.
If I were able to take a portion of the money I have already sent to Social Security and invest it into the market, despite the occasional crashes, I would be far better off financially than I am today. As it is, Social Security has sucked out money that could’ve been used for so many other things, and made me much poorer than I otherwise would have been. The same is true for the rest of America. Social Security has not made us better off. It has impoverished us. That’s why it needs to be eliminated, and why we need to, right now, think of ways to end it fairly and quickly.