Sept. 20, 2011 — Oh, me, oh, my — woe is me.
The biggest political ping-pong balls getting knocked across the fruited plain these days are “entitlements” and “unfunded liabilities.”
Ah, yes, from the most fervent Taxed Enough Already Partier to the staunchest conservative Republican — and now even from a few Democrats — come the cries to cut two terrible, disgusting, socialist programs that are draining the American economy and absolutely destroying our utopian, American, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps way of life.
Now hold on to that thought a second, pardner.
Then take a big, sloppy bite from that pesky reality sandwich stacked high on the table before you — Social Security and Medicare are neither entitlements nor unfunded liabilities.
That’s a big sorry, sorry, buckaroo. They’re payroll withholding programs funded by the working folks in America. Just keep on chewing.
I’m not done yet.
Most of us who actually work for a living can prove the truth of that statement by just looking at our pay stubs.
Whoa, this one couldn’t be simpler.
There it is.
Right there under the big bold word Taxes — US Medicare and US Social Security.
There’s no redistribution of wealth. No money taken from anyone else.
It’s just me, my deduction and a deposit into my own personal account.
I’m old. I got my Social Security Card just before I started my first job (kids get them at birth now, I hear.)
Ah, so I can go to work because I have the necessary accounts into which to deposit my taxes.
Wonderful. I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Interestingly, I never said I wanted to deposit money in these accounts.
It was forced upon me from my first paycheck and every one that’s followed.
It’s a requirement every working stiff must meet.
The government takes this money from us now, and we get the benefits later.
Just a deduction every week.
Week in and week out throughout our working lives.
Let’s face it — who knows how many millions of stinking, comrade workers just like me have poured God knows how much money into these accounts over the years.
But then back in the 1960s the feds got the idea they could use the Social Security money to issue bonds, transfer the cash from the sale of the bonds into the general fund and then they could spend that cash on anything they wanted.
All they left was a pile of IOUs. Clever.
That’s the real problem — our government spent our money on something else.
Not to worry, the Social Security Administration says it’s all good.
“Far from being ‘worthless IOUs,’” the SSA writes on its website, “the investments held by the trust funds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
The government has always repaid Social Security, with interest.
The special-issue securities are, therefore, just as safe as U.S. Savings Bonds or other financial instruments of the federal government.”
Right. Would our government really appropriate this money that’s been collected to provide for its own people for nearly 70 years, and then deny the people the benefits it’s promised?
It’s incomprehensible to even have to ask that question.
It’s much more frightening if the answer turns out to be yes.
I remember when I was younger — Social Security and Medicare were always called “the third rail” in politics, and the conventional wisdom was that any politicians foolhardy enough to try to monkey with those programs had just ended their own political careers.
I’ve been paying into this system since I was a teenager.
I can guarantee you there are plenty of working folks just like me who want and expect the government to honor the commitment it made to us 40 or 50 years ago when we started working.
So talk about changing the programs all you want, but if you mess with that agreement between the government and us working folks, your days in office are numbered.
Go on, have your fun. Charge up the big whoop crowd.
When you’re done, if you disrupt this deal our country has made with the people, y’all will fry faster than a wayward June bug hitting a barbecue grill on a sultry July afternoon.
Social Security and Medicare are still the third rail.
Now take another big juicy bite, and tell ‘em you heard it here first.
|< Prev||Next >|