I'm going to do something with this blog that I have never done before, and probably sill never do again. At least not often, if ever. And that is to quote, verbatim, or nearly so, an article that came out in an AARP news paper. See the heading of this post for the title of that article. So here goes.
When he signed the law creating Social Security, Franklin D. Roosevelt believed the program was so well insulated that "no damn politician" could tinker with it. He was right to worry. The linchpin was the payroll tax demanded of all workers. Once they paid into the Social Security system, he calculated, they would have a stake and never abandon it. For decades now, his foresight has been vindicated. Beneficiaries hail the system, and still, the damn politicians can't stop trying to tinker. Over three generations, a smattering of politicians and economists, from libertarians to liberals have blasted the system as wasteful and dishonest and more recently have trivialized it as little more than a Ponzi scheme. Since the master schemer, Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi had many schemes, none of which paid out any funds for any length of time, and all payouts were financed by new investors, and all ended in a matter of weeks. And he wound up in jail numerous times. And some of his schemes even caused banks to fail.
The reasons Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme, or even close, are numerous. Most importantly, it has endured for 76 years and never missed a payment. The financing is secure and the administrative costs are practically nothing.
So why the fuss? Politics, mostly, plus simple math and demographics. A soaring federal deficit, a declining number of workers per Social Security beneficiary and a growing number of older people living longer. :-) This puts new pressure on the Social Security trust fund. But instead of making the minor adjustments that would strengthen the system, budget critics have a different agenda. They hope to raid it or privatize it or end it.
Anyone doubting its value need only check the latest national poverty statistics. More Americans slid into poverty in the past year than at any time in the past four decades. Most vulnerable were people 55 to 64, one in ten of whom now live below the poverty line. Over 800,000 people 45 to 64 lost health insurance. By contrast, the economic turmoil of the past year drove far fewer Americans over 65 into poverty. No surprise. That's the segment of the population protected by Medicare and by Social Security---the Ponzi scheme that isn't. This article was written by Jim Toedtman, Editor of the paper. Also, I did paraphrase some of the article and I did leave out some of it. But the bulk of it is there.
My wife and I are beneficiaries of this program. And we paid into it for decades. And since I have returned to work for a short period of time, I am still paying into the system. And a payment for Medicare is held out of our Social Security check each month, just like a monthly insurance premium payment. So I do not feel that this is a government handout, like so many programs are. This is funded by those who pay into the system, while so many other programs are just taken from tax payers pockets.
also, most of the few of you that will actually read this message will also be recipients of this program someday. I encourage each of you to pay close attention to the Damn Politicians and what they want to do and let them know that they are to leave this system alone. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.