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More on Social Security

This was originally a response to yttik‘s comment but I thought it was good for a post all of it’s own.

I think a rational and civil discussion of the benefits and unintended consequences of; Social Security, Welfare, Unemployment, etc, is long overdue.

You mean you aren’t an “evil” Republican? Out of my blog!!! lol j/k
I think the problem is that the mindset is such that any questioning the results, motives, reality, etc…of the Liberal legislation (New Deal, Great Society etc) is interpreted as the “enemy.” The problem with that is obvious, they won’t let anything change even if it’s to save it or to improve it. They are paranoid that “everyone is out to get ’em.” As we’ve seen at LR, that doesn’t do much in the way of problem solving. It creates divisions.
That’s why I said it’s a generational thing. Not to bash the Baby Boomers, but to my generation, the BBoomers were a big cause of this problem. For one, not voting the politicians out that started taping into the SS trust in the first place. And two, for not pushing the politicians to do anything about it. There is some animosity in the fact that SS will be there for most of the BBoomers but not for us. We pay into it as well. The way the system works now, all the money that the BBoomers paid in to the system is already gone. It’s been gone for decades, why wasn’t something done about it sooner?
I don’t mean to sound offensive, but it’s those kind of questions that need answering. They need rational debate. What we don’t need is reflexive circle the bandwagon approach that happens when any discussion happens between “Liberals” and their pet legislation. I can understand why they do it, they know that the programs don’t work they way they wanted them to. That the law of unintended consequences smacked them in the face. (Welfare for example)Yet, they still want to pass more legislation (HCR) and know that if the real consequences of past legislation weren’t as promised, that people would question what really would happen if HCR were to pass.
These are real questions that need to be asked and honestly answered, but they get lost in the partisan bickering. It’s pathetic.
I think the problem with reducing the deficit is obvious, NIMBY. They all want to cut other people’s programs, not their own. So nothing will get cut, until the dollar collapses. By then, it will be too late and everyone gets to suffer. Except the horde of past politicians that actually caused the problem, they are either dead already or guaranteed themselves a fat inflation adjusted benefits package years ago, while everyone else was too busy dicking around arguing about the definition of “is.”

s I said, I think this is a generational thing. At discussions at work, that has a wide age range, most of the younger (35 and younger) think that they are getting screwed. Some of the older flat out don’t care. With most of the comments being, as long as it doesn’t run out by such and such year, they don’t care. It’s a small sample, I know. Nothing statistically significant in it, but I think it does represent the whole relativity well.

I’ve made my position know, but I welcome any and all comments. I honest when I say it needs to be discussed.

I like Russ Roberts idea over at Cafe Hayek;

Go back to the “lean” years of 1995, say, when California and the Federal government spent a lot less. Those weren’t the dark ages. But along the way, a bunch of money got added to a bunch of departments and for some reason, instead of saying that was a mistake or unnecessary or best done privately, we start charging for 911.

That is a sign of un-governability and it comes from ignoring the proper role of government.

Stop subsidizing housing. It’s bad enough that the Feds do it. But there is a vigorous California effort on top of the Federal effort. Stop subsidizing food and rich farmers. Stop policing trans fats. And smoking in restaurants. Stop trying to steer education from the top down. Stop creating programs for retirement and health that give money to rich people. Stop subsidizing rail travel. Stop all corporate welfare. Stop all tariffs and quotas. Get rid of the nanny state.

The mission creep of government makes it obvious that government is poorly run. Get out of the things it does poorly and do important things well.

But like I said above, who decides what gets cut? Certainly the farmers won’t vote to cut their own subsidies, those on housing won’t vote to cut their own benefits, those that want to ban smoking won’t vote to stay out of everyone’s business; so how do we do it?

  1. yttik
    February 21, 2010 at 21:04

    Social security is an obligation the government has to it’s people. I realize they squandered and mismanaged it, however it was paid for over and over again by employers and individuals with the promise that the Gov would make sure it was there when you retire. We’ve already been robbed because we all know we’ve paid more into the program then we’ll ever get back. But this is a trust issue, the Gov cannot simply say, “oops” we’re sorry, we lost your retirement money. They have no choice but to do the right thing and meet their obligation or else they should simply resign, apologize, and check into federal prison for fraud and theft.

    I would work to fix it by stopping borrowing against it, take the wage cap off of how much people must contribute so everybody pays the same percentage. Then I would be especially cruel and make it means tested for those making over say, 50,000 a yr in other retirement income. We deduct wages from low income seniors SS checks when they work at McDonalds to suppliment it, but you’re allowed to have all the non earned income and assets you want with no penalties. Make it means tested.

    For a more radical approach, I would like to see people able to put a big chunk of their SS contributions and employers matching funds into a private retirement account, an IRA or something. Let the government’s role be to insure these accounts, to provide a back up only in the case of a poverty rendering loss, like what just happened to people’s 401 k’s. If that happens and you just happen to be 65, the Gov will bail you out.

    I share quite a bit of your frustration over baby boomers, liberal ones. I’m not quite one myself, my parents are. LOL, I have several complaints about what they did, have done, continue to do politically.

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