Since the last entry generated some dialogue on many different fronts, I had enough more thoughts that I am ready to do another entry on the same topic.
Social Security, as was mentioned by Big Pimp “was actually started as a way of providing a minimal amount of income to keep the elderly out of poverty while recovering from the Great Depression. It was never meant to be someoneâ€™s entire retirement income.”
Even so, it was a knee-jerk reaction to a depression caused by incredibly stupid fiscal and monetary policies of the U.S. Government. For instance, it was completely legal to borrow craploads of money and invest it in the stock market. The stock market was hot, so people were borrowing well beyond their means and investing, which created a giant bubble, which eventually burst.
I won’t bore you with lots of history, but my point is, the depression was caused by government stupidity, so of course we should logically expect the government to come up with stupid ideas to fix the problems. The government did many things, one of which was changing the laws, changing how they decide fiscal and monetary issues (I know, I know… the Fed sets monetary policy… we all know it’s all the government), and lastly, creating what they promised would be a safety net should depression ever happen again.
Well, now we know enough about how the regulated market works, and how it reacts to shocks, that the worst we really need to worry about anymore is recession. Depression will only happen again if someone does something incredibly stupid, and even then, it would be tough. Even with the unbelievably huge tech stock bubble in the 90’s, which gave Clinton his years of bounty, the worst we had to deal with was a few years of recession.
Social Security is not a terrible idea, assuming your country is made up of morons. While most corporations, and certainly the government think that the general population is moronic, the truth is, most of us get by just fine. The reason our Social Security system is a flawed design, is that people can conceivably draw more money than they put in. Yes, Mental, population has a lot to do with it, even if you don’t support disabled and families. Everyone gets old and retires, and when they do, the system starts sending them checks. A whole lot more people will be retiring in the next 15 years than ever did while the Boomers were paying the taxes. Cutting benefits for disabled and families might delay the collapse of Social Security, but it’s really just delaying the inevitable.
And while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about potential fixes for Social Security. The most obvious thing that comes to mind is privitization, which is what George Bush and the Republicans are pushing. The Republicans want this because the primary “plank” in the Republican platform is that people are smart enough to take care of themselves. But of course, the libs hate this idea, because they know that there will be a few morons that don’t save, don’t invest privately, and will end up poor… and god forbid we let a stupid person be poor.
A second way to fix Social Security was brought to mind by what Mental wrote about in her entry. Cut the “add on’s” that have been made part of Social Security since it’s original inception. The problem is, her very own Democrats would be the ones fighting tooth and nail to prevent benefits from being cut. That’s because the Democrats primary “plank” in the platform is “A chicken in every pot.” Which is fine. Different strokes for different folks. But ultimately, no Dem will ever vote to reduce benefits for anyone. That’s not what they do. And frankly, they want to continue sucking up to the poor, lazy, old, and infirmed.
A third way to fix Social Security is to leave benefits the same, but raise taxes. You could probably get a Democrat to vote for this, but there isn’t a Republican alive that would want you to raise taxes for a social program. See above where I describe why that is.
My personal fix for Social Security would be to cap benefits. If you put in $500, and then started drawing benefits, you can keep getting benefits until you have received $500 plus the money market interest rate. After that, you’re on your own. You can’t have something for nothing. This is America… you have to work for what you want, lazy.
Our government is made up of equal but opposite idiotic parties, who have no chance of solving anything because there are just enough of each to prevent the other side from accomplishing anything. So Social Security will truck along until we’re paying 80% of our taxes to support it, or some brave new generation (X) comes along and drives the silver stake through it.