Dueling Twins

Social Security

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The 'Dueling Twins'


It is a fraud to borrow what we are unable to pay.

Publilius Syrus

Point:

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Keep Social Security Public

by James Hall, from the Left

Social Security Isn't a Private Program, nor should it become one.

The Social Security Act of 1935 was a watershed time in American history. Before it, the old, the weak, and the sick were at the mercy of strangers or the charity of their communities. To grow old, go blind, or become crippled or orphaned was to sink into the misery of poverty and shameful dependence. Recognizing that it was the nation's responsibility to look after its weakest and most vulnerable citizens, Congress and President Roosevelt passed the Social Security Act by a wide margin.

Social Security's purpose was then and has always been a social safety net of the last resort. It was there for people who suffered the calamity of injury or the death of a breadwinner, or whose retirement nest egg had splattered all over the hard vicissitudes of fate. It was designed to work along with retirement investment programs like pension plans or stock investments, but was never conceived as a retirement investment plan itself.

Today Social Security is threatened by an ill-conceived and reckless plan to take one of every six dollars taxed for the social security trust fund and place them in risky private investment accounts. This plan, sponsored by the Bush administration, offers pie in the sky for each American by promising they can get rich through the stock market. What the Bush people don't tell you is that if your investments decline or evaporate in a bad economic climate, you must get by on a significantly smaller Social Security check--in other words, suddenly there's a big hole in your safety net, and you could fall right through.

Now today's Social Security checks aren't huge. If you've lost everything or didn't have much to begin with, they're barely large enough to feed, clothe, and reasonably shelter you. But if you fail to make money on your new Bush-inspired private Social Security portfolio, you'll be in real trouble, living on a check that falls significantly short of basic needs.

Two years ago, at the end of ten years of stock market growth, privatization seemed a can't miss situation. But we've seen the market trend downward since. Many dotcom millionaires have suddenly had to go back to work, and many investors looking at early retirement had it wiped clean in the downward trend. Some very wealthy people are now back to square one.

The market remains a viable place to invest with care--I'm heavily invested in it, myself. But we all need a safety net capable of catching us if those investments don't quite pan out like we thought they would. Social Security as it stands provides us with that net. It was created to stop the cycle of poverty and despair that seemed inevitable when old age and misfortune struck, and it has performed that task magnificently.

Critics and defenders of Social Security alike recognize that Social Security faces a funding crisis down the road. The Bush proposal, far from solving that crisis, would bring it on more quickly by tapping our current reserves. Bush can only hope that if the private accounts are doing well enough, taxpayers won't notice that their guaranteed part of the checks are running dry.

But there are other solutions that keep Social Security public and keep it viable. Using the current Social Security surplus to buy back the national debt and secure the taxes that go towards debt payment is one answer. Another is to look into means testing of Social Security recipients--paying lesser amounts to those citizens who are well off without Social Security. After all, Social Security was originally conceived as a public program of last resort--and so it should remain.

Congress has raised the amounts that Americans can save in IRAs and 401ks. Smart investors recognize that the bulk of their retirement income will come from these investments, not Social Security. Economists today calculate that even in economic good times, half of today's seniors would be living in poverty without Social Security. Let's not break our net in a foolish attempt to reach out for the gold at the end of the market rainbow.

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Rebuttal:

The only swindle going on is the argument by the lunatic fringe that Social Security represents fraud on the public. In a real Ponzi/pyramid scheme, the investors lose their money. Social Security recipients are guaranteed to get theirs. You can take Social Security to the bank--millions of Americans have and do each month. The only real fraud lies in any argument that would tell you otherwise.

That's what really honks off the fringe, of course. Social Security is a government program that works and works well, and directly contradicts the contention of those who say that government can't do things right. Sorry, fringers, but the vast majority of Americans like their Social Security, want their Social Security, and vote for their Social Security. That's why Republicans, who once opposed the program, are now among its biggest defenders. Even the GenXers who are angry at the program are mad largely because they don't think they'll be eligible for it themselves. But as I've already written, Social Security is eminently fixable as a public program.

When James and his fringe group (Themselves with fully funded retirements, I'm sure.) prevail over the Social Security Administration, pigs will fly. At supersonic speeds, wearing silk purses on each ear. Meanwhile fringers can consider themselves the elitists they are for opposing a program that most citizens clearly want and many badly need. Even James' children will need a retirement safety net someday, if their retirement bets don't pan out. Dad may spin in his grave then, but it likely won't be the first time, or the last.

James Hall, From the Left

Counterpoint:

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Social Swindle

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Social Security is assessed on employee wages and an equal amount, paid by the employer. These funds go to pay monthly remittance to existing recipients. These deductions are a TAX. No money is segregated into an individual account that is invested for the individual. In the real world, this concept is known as a Ponzi Scheme, which is a Fraud and is a criminal act. Those are the facts which are indisputable. The Social Swindle system is insolvent, and has been unfunded for generations. There are no funds, nor are there any IOU monies that are available to meet future obligations. Only future taxes from a static work force in real earnings, will pay for increased recipients who are living much longer. The system is bankrupt. Only the ignorance of the public is greater than the bang when the bubble busts. The ultimate result will be a diminished purchasing value, that we all will suffer.

The SS is a criminal sham that had been sold to depression weary, WW II 'true believers' in a socialist America. Their stupidity turned into greed and is now shouldered by their children and grandchildren. 'Lefty' subversives have morphed into suburban retirees who vote for the biggest Willie Sutton at every DemoRAT opportunity. More facts! Just the kind of empirical reality that you wish to deny.

Social programs are not retirement investments. If you want to devise a social safety net, sell the concept and fund it with general revenue taxes. When you steal from those who work, to subsidize those who accept bribes, the foundation of the entire economy and society is shattered.

The only intelligent way to work out of the hole that exists is to earn your way into funding the obligations. If fairness is your mantra, establish equity for the working generation. They are not fools, as you wish them to be! The bogus plot is exposed, and the confiscatory consequences are known. Now you seek to halt even minimal reform, that causes the enslavement of the next generation. Such generosity is only exceeded by the collectivist will to rob the public, so you can control and limit their opportunities.

Economic common sense is in short supply. Judging from the feeble defense of the maniacal theft machination, you need to provide a moral argument to feed the hungry. Supporting a plan that is a confidence game that loots the earning of the producers, while deceiving the public into thinking they have funds for their golden years, is the height of immoral policy. If you are serious in wanting to design a safety net, start with sound economics! Investing is that path. Financing commercial development, growth and expansion are the means to wealth creation. Don't insult our intelligence, and sure don't drag us down to your level of monetary acumen.

Individual investment accounts can be vested into safe public municipal bonds, AAA corporate note funds, real estate mortgages, debentures and a low exposure in equity index spiders. The current system has no return at all. Even under the best projections, funds newly paid into the SS reflect less than the lowest T Bill rate of return. And you want the current crop of tax prey to bleed on your altar of refuge for imprudent decisions. Just another Big Brother approach to bait the fool into giving up more control over his own life.

The fraudulent character of the Social Swindle manifests its true nature with the exemption that the politicians give themselves, from the very system they compel upon us. If it is worth keeping, put these felonious architects under its macrodome. All your side cries is it is all 'for the children'. Well, you sure have the posterity picking up this tab! Our task is to save the kids from people like you . . .

This problem is on borrowed time. Both parties pander to the lowest appetites of the buffoon. Becoming one yourself, doesn't solve the dilemma. Sensible reform requires future contributions from the general treasury. A significant reduction in senseless government services, elimination of departments and agencies and a reduction in future employment; are all steps in the right direction. Your 'TC' approach has failed. The insult to our intelligence is an outrage. But your eagerness to harm my offspring is unforgivable. But what should be expected, you are a man from the Left . . .

James Hall aka SARTRE

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Final Word:

The infliction of Alzheimer's is evident in the bad seed. To accuse his elder of being 'Fringe', is like questioning the patriotism of George Washington. When a program creates an obligation, with no funding, the guarantee of it being fulfilled is not secure that it will be honored. HELLO !!! If future generations are unable or unwilling to continue the tribute, the holders of the worthless promise will be hitching a ride on the back of the flying pigs. (point of clarification for patients in remission, the direction of up is above your head)

The demographics are ugly. Alternatives that allow for pragmatic investment of funds for personal accounts is their best chance for the youth not to be shackled with a sham. You have not denied that SS is solely a promise to pay. One that will be altered as soon as the cash flow turns south. Factorial analysis is not subject to votes. Reality may be denied, but cannot be escaped. Personal control of your own funds is not only fair, but sensible. Waste and fraud may even be reduced!

I have no retirement program. No IRA's or 401's for this kid. Those who wish buy into them. Those who know how, opt for self reliance and prudent independence. You obviously are among the former. My Populist position seeks to empower all the people; even the impaired. My offspring has been taught to create wealth, not to beg for subsistence. But that is a concept that Statists are unable to grasp. Fellow 'TC' proponents wish to inflict their same disease upon the hearty. We in the right, give thanks for our health, and offer a remedy for the ill. Start taking ginkgo biloba so you will know when the checks start coming, as you steal from the prodigy of the nation.

James Hall - 'The Right'

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Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain - and since labor is pain in itself - it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

- Frederic Bastiat

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