Sept. 20, 2011 — Good old-fashioned debate is the way grownups clear the air.
So this week I am going to finish telling the rest of the story.
News editor Sam Williams and I are opposite sides of the political spectrum on many issues, but we respect each other and I for one have learned things from him.
He was a bona fide teenage, and adult, in the tumultuous ‘60s while I was living overseas for half the decade and still playing with my Barbie dolls the other half.
Sam speaks on social security this week and he is absolutely right when he tells you in his opinion piece that social security and Medicare taxes are taken out of paychecks under the heading FICA, and like Sam, I have been paying into the two funds my entire working life.
I get statements periodically telling me how much I earned each year since I started working at age 16 and what my expected benefits will be at age 62 and 65.
Honestly, they are laughable, but that is another story.
Sam is also correct in telling you that the government never kept the money in trust as promised and borrowed on our retirement and claim we can trust it do right by us.
Now 40 years later we see how weak those words were.
Funny how, Sam says, much of that happened in the 1960s.
If I recall we had both a Democrat and a Republican in office in the ‘60s.
Where Sam and I disagree is that if something isn’t done to overhaul social security and Medicare and fix the agreement between the working people and the government, elected officials’ days in office are numbered, because we can’t sustain the extras SS has been supplying any longer.
The Social Security Act has been amended so many times, which to me constitutes messing with the agreements, that it looks nothing like the original, nor the one in place when most readers started working.
I commend Sam on his clever prose, something I will never be good at.
I guess I am a plain speaker and here is my take.
In 1937, 1938 and 1939 she paid a total of $24.75 into the Social Security System.
Her first check was for $22.54.
After her second check, Fuller already had received more than she contributed over the three-year period.
She lived to be 100 and collected a total of $22,888.92.
Today, a worker must accumulate 40 credits to get social security retirement benefits; that translates to 10 years of work.
I did find a statistic from 2008 that there are almost 51 million people claiming social security benefits of some kind to the tune of $6.15 billion.
Even my distaste for numbers says there is no way enough money was collected to cover the cost that grows everyday.
I wish it were so simple as we would get back what we paid in.
The truth is social security needs a revamping.
I can earn more if I take what I pay in and privately invest it.
The missing component that neither Sam nor I even touched on is how do we take care of the disabled worker or the citizen who can never work, like a disabled child.
I do believe in taking care of those who can’t care for themselves but should that be part and parcel of my retirement package?
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