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Social Insecurity

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Cal

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Social Insecurity
by Burt Prelutsky
12 April 2005

I suspect that if the federal government stopped taxing people to death to finance the Social Security bureaucracy, people just might be able to take care of themselves, just like grown-ups.



I believe I may be the only person in America who isn’t for or against President Bush’s proposal to save Social Security. Unlike everybody else who seems positive that it is either brilliant and benevolent or stupid and evil, I really don’t have an opinion. As a result, I’m highly suspicious of everyone who claims to have a real handle on the pluses and minuses of his proposal. I mean, facts are facts, and an awful lot of you watch The Fear Factor and voted for Kerry and Edwards. Why on earth would I believe you when it’s about something this complex and involves numbers?

I do have some thoughts on the subject, but they mainly take the form of questions. For instance, back in the 90’s, I seem to recall that a lot of politicians, including liberals, were all in a dither because Social Security was tottering on the brink of ruin. The economic seers were telling us that the pay-outs might well cease in the coming decade. Well, here it is the following decade and not only do the checks keep coming, but the Democrats are insisting that the program is solvent for at least the next thirty or forty years. So, what happened?

I’m aware that sometimes cancers in the human body simply seem to disappear. Medical science can’t explain the phenomenon. The power of prayer? A miracle? Mis-diagnosis? Is it possible that such unexplainable events also take place in the body politic? Social Security simply cured itself with plenty of exercise and a change of diet?

I don’t think so.

So, were they lying to us then or are they lying to us now? Or, politicians being what they are, were they lying then and now?

As a true conservative, meaning I don’t have to pander to special interest groups or worry about getting re-elected, I’m free to say that I am opposed to Social Security. I wish it had never been created. I think that adults are supposed to plan and save for their own retirements. But, then, I also believe that adults should pay for their own health insurance, the same way they pay for car and home insurance. I suspect that if the federal government stopped taxing people to death to finance the Social Security bureaucracy, people just might be able to take care of themselves, just like grown-ups.

As it is, FDR and his colleagues in Congress created the biggest, slickest Ponzi scheme in history. As with all pyramid con games, if you get in early enough, you can expect to do well. But it’s an economic time bomb, and eventually it explodes. Sixty-odd years ago, there was only one retiree for every 13 workers being taxed. The number is now down to about three workers being taxed so that I can collect my monthly check. Even those who are the most sanguine about the current system recognize that pretty soon, the ratio will be two-to-one. Now, I don’t happen to be one of those people who cringes at the thought that we may be leaving our kids and our grandkids with a few financial headaches. God knows they’ve given us plenty. But you don’t have to be Alan Greenspan to recognize this just isn’t fair.

What is glaringly apparent is that Bush at least acknowledges that there is a problem. The Democrats want to pretend that everything is hunky dory and simply use the issue as a club with which to clobber the Republicans in the coming elections. Apparently the Democrats think that just because some of us are old, we’re also stupid.


Short of getting rid of Social Security and just giving us all our money back, it is obvious that some sort of drastic action is called for.


People like Kennedy, Kerry, Pelosi and Reid, keep insisting that the big bad Bush is simply out to scuttle everybody’s financial future, neglecting to mention that they’ve all made darn certain that none of them will ever depend on Social Security. Congressmen and senators all have a far superior retirement plan to ours. Only in America do the servants have it better than their masters.

Liberal hypocrisy aside, for the Democrats to keep telling us we shouldn’t worry our pretty heads about Social Security is like the entertainment director on the Titanic assuring the passengers, “Everything’s fine. Just keep dancing.”

Burt Prelutsky has written for Dragnet, McMillan & Wife, MASH, Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Bob Newhart, Family Ties, Dr. Quinn, and Diagnosis Murder. He wrote a humor column for the Los Angeles Times and was the movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. His most recent book is Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco (A Hollywood Rightwinger Comes Out of the Closet).
 
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