Entitlement deform…

Even conservatives benefit… reluctantly.

                  

By Jack E. Lohman

Okay, so we can’t pay for Social Security at the current tax level. We are underfunding it. It needs more cash. We are putting in a dollar and taking out $1.50. Or whatever, but it’s going broke.

Well, let’s fix it. Let’s put in the $1.50, or whatever, and fluctuate it with the population. It’s a good system, and political mismanagement or conservative ideology should not be allowed to destroy it. Old geezers are going to cost us one way or the other, so let’s do it right.

Yes, I hear the Rush Limbaugh wackos of the world, and they should go to Somalia where there are no laws and it’s everybody for themselves. He made it to the big time and looks down on those who didn’t. Some people don’t need help from anyone, anytime, and they think everybody should be the same. You know; 100% perfect.

Good for them, at least for the moment. They either worked hard or were just lucky in life. Or they cheated their way to the top, and that too may be temporary.

But that doesn’t make the rest of Americans leakers. Most have strong work ethic. Some didn’t have the stomach or knowledge to claw their way up. Some were lazy and others simply fell victim to the claws. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, don’cha know?

As a former CEO I’ve always found it useful to look at the two extremes before settling somewhere in between. Yes, we could totally eliminate social security. When people get to be seventy and can’t work any more, they can simply go on government subsistence and we taxpayers will pay the bill. Or we can force them into privatized accounts early in life and let them fall victim to the stock market and the CEOs that drive it. Remember, they clawed and now need your cash for their $50 million salaries.

Can you imagine where we’d be today if George Bush had gotten his way and we all had our retirements in the stock market? He was padding the pockets of the Wall Streeters that helped fund his elections, so the rest of America must suffer?  I don’t think so.

Disclosure: I’m on social security. I’ve paid in all my working life and am now collecting. I obviously didn’t pay in enough. People complain about high taxes, but we are clearly not overtaxed compared to like countries (see chart). And our politicians use the SSI money so they can fund giveaways to their special interest buddies who gave them cash bribes for their electoral campaigns.

Aren’t our politicians really great people? Corrupt, but great nonetheless.

Yes, we have holier-than-thou liberals that expect something for nothing or prefer a total nanny state. And holier-than-thou conservatives that think they’re just too smart to have anyone rip them off. Thank God for the occasional Bernard Madoffs that prove them wrong, and the masses in the middle that are truly compassionate.

Let’s make social security secure and there for everybody. Maybe it won’t pay back as much as other investments, if they pay back at all, but SSI will pay back even when all else fails. Invest outside the system as well, if you can, but don’t destroy this one backup for the rest of America. It’s one of the things that’s made us great.

Tidbits:

  • The best way to fund it is by removing the $102,000 wage cap on SSI taxes. That will affect only the top 5% of earners.
  • Robert Kuttner said it best: “Absent government investment and regulation, markets create grotesque income inequalities…. The market is agnostic about disparities and their civic consequences.”
  • The economy problem simply would not exist were our politicians not bought off earlier with campaign cash. Their decisions would have been made in the best interest of the country, not private interests, and we’d not be in this mess.
  • And no, Mr. Bush, the financial collapse didn’t just “happen on your watch.” You helped create it with your tax cuts to the wealthy, which converted a $300 billion surplus into a $400 billion deficit, causing the economy to immediately spiral.
  • It hasn’t changed. It’s the Jobs, Stupid!  Obama must also deal with job losses due to globalization; Roosevelt didn’t. Creating jobs that are temporary or for China and India does not solve our problem.
  • 2 Responses to Entitlement deform…

    1. John says:

      If you’ve noticed, the media punditry seems to be under the impression that Obama will be scaling back entitlements, after promising to reform them. Why the conservative slant?

      Why not find a way to fund them, as opposed to scaling them back. What liberal would withdraw costly care from the elderly.

      The sad truth is, once you scale back benefits, you shift the burden onto the individual and away from government. The problem of paying for health care for the elderly doesn’t go away, the frail and the weak just pay a whole lot more.

    2. I agree, John. SS is merely forced savings so fewer of our brethren go on food stamps when they get old. It is not just humane, it is wise. But we have some who are ideologically opposed because government is involved. But who else will take this responsibility, Halliburton? Or Bechtel? I don’t think I’d want my money in their hands.

      But the right wingers, to a large extent, have gotten their way, especially with deregulation. Why they want this free-for-all economy while their grandparents starve is beyond me, but also.

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