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Social Security. Why?

I'll be dead before people realize this was a bad idea.

I’ve always wondered what the American people were thinking in 1935, when they allowed FDR and Congress to pass the Social Security Act.  Well, strike that, they probably weren’t thinking about it at all because of the Great Depression and trying to eat and stuff (example of never letting a good crisis go to waste? hmmm…).  Seriously, is there anything more un-American than the federal government passing a law that forces you to pay a certain amount in taxes so that the government can hold the money until you retire?  And the rationale behind it all is that you’re too stupid to save for retirement yourself?  We’re not talking about the “common good” here.  We’re talking about a government-mandated “stupid tax,” and we’ve allowed it to not only exist, but expand ever since.  I find it shocking. 

Well, thanks to the inevitabilities of our duly-elected representatives raiding any pot of money in existence, maybe Social Security will be going away for good.  I previously posted about the President’s Debt Commission this past summer.  I’m not going to link it because, well, I’m too lazy to look for it.  But the gist of their findings were we’ll never get out of debt until we do something about the three biggest black holes of tax revenue: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  This finding elicited much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the left, because they luv their entitlement programs.  The most contentious issue was Social Security though.  Why?  Because, as libs like to say, SS doesn’t have any impact on our budget.  It’s funded entirely by the FICA tax, and it shouldn’t be receiving any money from other tax revenue.  Thus, it shouldn’t contribute to the deficit.  Well, they’re right in that it shouldn’t use other federal tax revenue…just like my son shouldn’t place himself within biting distance of his two year old sister over and over again.  The point is: they do.  And with respect to SS, there’s no more blood coming from that stone.

New congressional projections show Social Security running deficits every year until its trust funds are eventually drained in about 2037.

This year alone, Social Security is projected to collect $45 billion less in payroll taxes than it pays out in retirement, disability and survivor benefits, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. That figure swells to $130 billion when a new one-year cut in payroll taxes is included, though Congress has promised to repay any lost revenue from the tax cut. 

Oh no!  The oldies are going to starve!  Just kidding.  The deficit will be made up with money from the general budget.  The problem, though, is that we can’t afford to pay for it out of the general budget.  So, we’ll borrow it from the Chinese.  Problem?  Not for me.  I enjoy kung pao chicken, so I welcome our new overlords. 

Is all lost then?  Probably.  But my hero, Rep. Paul Ryan, has a plan.  He would like people to have the option of opting out of SS, and invest the money themselves.  Sounds good to me.  I’m more comfortable using my money to “make it rain” in a crack house than letting the government “lock it away” for the future. 

Will Rep. Ryan’s plan ever be codified into law?  Probably not.  Why?  Because all politicians love slush funds.  But remember, it’s projected to run out completely in 2037, so those of you that are my age…I would recommend starting to save for retirement. 

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  1. Mary
    January 27, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    What were they thinking in 1935? They were thinking that it wasn’t that much out of their paychecks; women didn’t work; life expectancy for men was around 59 and for women it was 64. So the men figured they’d be dead and should the little woman live past 65, at least she’d be taken care of. And what were the younger people thinking? That, if Mom lived past 65, she wouldn’t have to live with them.

    I could be wrong.

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