Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4 2012 12:00 a.m. MST
Like all entitlement programs, Social Security is a lef-wing scam that must be
abolished. It is based on false principles, and is specifically designed to buy
votes from the gullible public.The left likes to claim that Social
Security is merely returning money to wage earners that they already earned.
This is nonsense. The money the wage earners paid to the government is long
gone--spent on other wasteful projects. In addition, false formulas mean that
retirees will now be paid up to seven times the amount that they contributed,
even when inflation is taken into account.The government cannot
continue to pay out far more than it takes in. The Soviets, the Nazis, and
Imperial Japan all tried this, and it resuted in their utter destruction. We
should not expect anything different if we follow the same course. We must
return to the original expectation that all men must work for their bread, and
if they will not work, they will not eat!
I agree with Mr. Samuelson that Democrats must give if they expect Republicans
to give. That is the nature of compromise.While I understand that
he is trying to whip Democrats into fully joining the fray, his article implies
that our current situation is mostly the fault of Democrats. It is not.The grand bargain cut in 1983 was between Ronald Reagan and Tip
O’Neil. In the following years, Social Security would generate surpluses
that should have been put in a sovereign wealth fund for investment. Instead,
the funds were simply put in the Treasury and either spent on programs or given
back in the form of tax cuts. Yes Treasury issued notes to Soc. Sec.
acknowledging they owned Soc. Sec. the money but that is just spending the money
in our pocket, replacing it with a handwritten IOU (to ourselves), and then
saying we still have the money. We have been cheating ourselves at a game of
solitaire.Now comes the piper for payment. Who stole the funds?
Everyone.John Charity Spring,If my history serves, the
Nazis, and Imperial Japan were not undone by excessive spending but by something
People who say that the 47% don't pay income taxes are mistaken. They do,
they pay into social security for working. The money is not going into a
personal social security account. It is being transferred to the regular
government revenues so that the deficit looks smaller. In a sense, the US
congress has approved 'raiding a pension fund' like a corporate
raider. This is the status quo that the Democrats are defending.
Unless you believe that the "full faith and credit" of the United States
is of no value, Social Security is solvent and will be so for many years. The
truth is that right wingers really don't want to secure the program for the
long term. They either want to privatize it or wipe it out all together. As
JCS says, they think its a "scam". I would like to be around when JCS
becomes eligible to see if he will be hypocritical and take the benefit.It's not s scam, its not a pyramid scheme, and it does not add one
dollar to the deficit. Some adjustments need to be made for the long term, and
the laws might be changed to require the federal government to maintain an
invested reserve in highly secure private funds, but its fundamental nature as
essentially a prepaid annuity with the U.S. government as the administrator
should not be changed. If it gets changed or eliminated JCS, and sadly most of
the the next generation of retirees, will find themselves in the County poor
house just like it used to be before Social Security.
So did Congress spend our Social Security taxes? Of courseThey spent
this money on all the various operations of the federal government, with a large
chunk going to pay for Social Security benefits, Medicare and the military.When you buy any investment, like a stock or a bond, the entity that
issues it usually spends the money you paid for that stock or bond. When you buy
a corporate bond, for instance, the issuing corporation spends the money on
equipment, advertising, computers, salaries and any aspect of the business that
needs moneyIf the Social Security trust fund invested in something
other than U.S. bonds, what would it invest in and where would the money go? If
it invested in corporate stocks or bonds, the money would get spent, as noted
above. If it invested in the bonds of state and local governments, the money
would also get spent. And if the government owned too large a slice of U.S.
corporations' stocks and bonds, you might call it socialism.
Where we we be now, if, instead of tax cuts, Bush had paid down the debt,
invested in Medicare or Social Security?
The same old lies and distortions, Mr Samuelson. Your Democrats as well as the
Republicans have spent Social Security contributions and collaborated to
radically decrease funding. We do not have an effective lobby for
the rights and entrusted funds provided by seniors and neither party does
anything positive to assure that the seniors are not made to suffer from the
malfeasance of Congress. Additionally there is a virtual conspiracy of silence
in Congress and the Presidency, and a complete failure to discuss the issue
responsibly or take blame. Like everything else politicians twist and spin for
their own benefit and care nothing for any of the people save their political
allies and funders.The Utah delegation has had little or nothing to
say to the point, except Mike Lee who supported a common sense formula to save
Social Security from politicians, though we hear little about that.
JCS, where did you study history?Japan, Nazi Germany, Soviet Union
done in by overspending? The first two were done in by brave and dedicated
soldiers of many nations. And, in the case of Japan, by two big mushroom clouds.
The Soviets were polished off by a Polish Pope and some very courageous Labor
Union workers east of the Iron Curtain.And who first raided Social
Security? Not Democrats. Unless Ronald and Newt were Dems in disguise.
one old man:In the case of the Soviet Union, overspending on their
military definitely contributed to that nation's demise. It could not keep
up with US and NATO military technology and thus spent itself into oblivion
trying to keep up.While the pope and Lech Walesa both contributed to
the decline of the former Soviet bloc, never forget the huge roles played by
President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in this endeavor.
Having spent a considerable amount of time in Poland, the Czech Republic, and
Hungary (as a professor of European History), I observed the very high regard
the Poles, Czechs, and Magyars have for Reagan and Thatcher. This is evident by
the fact that many towns and cities in these three countries have streets,
parks, and squares named for Reagan and Thatcher.
It's so easy to see the warfare being waged by the radical right against
Social Security. They don't want to fix it. They just want to either
privatize it (which will eliminate it) or eliminate it completely. Incredible!And they wonder why they keep losing elections?
So Social Security recipients are supposed to accept a cut to their $ 12,000 or
so a year, Whilst Govt pensions approach $100,000 per year. A pretty hard
sell to make. What about that "fairness" thing? By the way it was LBJ
that first raided S.S. to mask the cost of his Vietnam War.
Yes, Black Knight, what you say is mostly true. The problem is that too many
who revere St. Ronald tend to try to ascribe full credit to his efforts. In
truth, what he did merely supported what others were doing. He did not, by any
stretch of the imagination, provide leadership beyond some well chosen words in
a few dramatic speeches.
Social Security is the only government program running a surplus for decades -
leave it alone.
Twin Lights,You strike me as a sensible guy. What do you think of means
testing? I can see reasonable arguments both ways.
@Mike in Cedar City:"Unless you believe that the "full faith and
credit" of the United States is of no value, Social Security is solvent and
will be so for many years."Me! Me! Me! I do not believe that
the full faith and credit of the United States is of value enough that they will
pay back social security. I would be against it anyway, because if they did
they would crush everyone still working with oppressing taxes.It is
a Ponzi scheme, that was obvious 30 years ago. The only reason this one is
legal is because congress made it legal in this one case to do it.Here is a little exercise you can go through, call the social security
administration and ask them how much money is in your fund. Go ahead. There
isn't any money in it. The Republicans tried to keep money in your
personal fund. That is the thing they have been calling about privatizing part
of the social security. But the Dems would always demagogue them over it so it
Sure, CUT CURRENT social security recipients by $200 a month and make sure they
know it was republicans that pushed for it.I'm tired of hearing
80 year old conservatives living completely on the government complain about
Obama. They pay $100 a month for a medicaid supplement and actually think they
have private insurance! "I don't want government healthcare!" they
say. Uuuuugh! Charlie Brown.I'm all for a fact test before
anyone receives anything from the government.
@Gildas:"We do not have an effective lobby for the rights and
entrusted funds provided by seniors and neither party does anything positive to
assure that the seniors are not made to suffer from the malfeasance of
Congress."Actually, we do. The AARP. One of the top two
lobbying groups in the US. The AARP and AIPAC.The AARP has been
very effective. That is why entitlements to the elderly are such a big part of
the federal budget. It is just at this point, the chickens are coming home to
roost for how we've squandered social security in the last 30 years.
Eric,I am not sure everyone would agree with your assessment of me
but thank you.Part of the problem with means testing is the loss of
the "we are all in this together" concept. Under current rules,
everyone plays and everyone benefits to at least some degree. Soc. Sec. has
been treated like ordinary tax by the Treasury (see prior post) but most
Americans are willing to pay it because they see it differently. Means testing
destroys that connection.This is not to say it should not be a part
of the solution, but I think it can only be a small part. Rather than exempt
the high income earners, I would lower payments to all and then means test and
supplement the lowest beneficiaries under a program with another name. Not
Welfare but not Soc. Sec. either. And I think we need Soc. Sec. to be
administered by an appointed agency/council that does not directly answer to
Congress (5 year appointments by the Pres. and approved by the Senate with one
possible second term if asked). Some how you have to get this out of the hands
of Treasury because Congress controls its spending.
@Eric Samuelsen & Twin LightsI'm (obviously) not Twin
Lights, but YOU both strike ME as sensible guys, so I thought I would weigh in,
FWIW.I like TL's reasoning and proposal, but I would also
suggest another means testing-based option for consideration. I think that any
Social Security reform (and honestly, any deficit reduction via spending cuts
and "revenue enhancement") needs to be phased in over a period of time
to reduce the pain to those affected, and to give them the opportunity to act on
their own behalf, if possible, to mitigate the effects on them.I
would raise the salary cap on the Social Security portion of FICA (currently
$110,600) to $350,000. I would phase this in over three years (year1 - $200K,
year2 - $275K, year3 - $350K). I would also use a means test to reduce, but not
totally eliminate, the Social Security retirement benefit for individuals with
AGI greater than $350,000. The benefit for individuals with AGI greater than
$350,000 would be 40% of the full benefit, and again, I would phase this in over
three years (year1 - 80% benefit, year2 - 60% benefit, year3 - 40% benefit).
Mike in Cedar City,"I would like to be around when JCS becomes
eligible to see if he will be hypocritical and take the benefit." I'm tired of how misused the term "hypocrisy" has become.
Hypocrisy isn't advocating or attempting to live according to your opinions
instead its doing or saying the opposite of what you actually feel or believe
therefore it's not hypocritical for a person who believes social security
is a scam to receive it if they also believe it's money they have a right
to get back. Hypocrisy in this sense would be if they claim it's wrong to
receive benefits yet do so privately or if they claim to believe it is wrong to
receive such benefits when they really believe it's okay.There
may be people who claim that receiving social security is wrong and if they do
and then receive it themselves they could be classed as hypocrites but it's
not hypocritical to receive it if you don't believe it's wrong to
receive what was taken from you. You may not agree with their opinions but those
who hold it aren't being hypocritical.
SG in SLC,I have no problem with your position on the salary cap.
That (or something very much like it) is likely key to any solution.You already have my position on the means testing of benefits so I will not
repeat it.BTW, you are incorrect about Eric. He wrote a play about
economics. That takes him forever out of the sensible guy category. Sorry
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