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Will Your SSN Be a Thing of the Past?

posted by Scot McKnight

What will happen to Social Security? Jack Cafferty, the most lovable curmudgeon I follow, got it going on this topic the other day at CNN.com. Here’s a bit and I wonder what you think:

First it was the banks and car companies… and now it looks like Social Security is the next in line for a taxpayer bailout.

Fortune Magazine’s Allan Sloan writes that for the first time in 25 years – Social Security is taking in less than it’s spending on benefits.

That’s because For decades – the government has been using the surpluses from the nation’s largest social program to pay for other things; and now Social Security is running out of money and pretty much consists of IOUs……..

Things haven’t been so bleak for the government trust fund since the early 80s – when it came very close to running out of money. Back then, the government wound up trimming benefits and raising taxes – which led to the significant cash surpluses.

Meanwhile Social Security already provides more than half the income for most retirees; and with millions of people seeing their home values and stock portfolios slashed, this probably means they’ll become even more dependent on social security in the future.



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Dave Leigh

posted February 7, 2010 at 4:21 pm


As something of a curmudgeon, myself, let me just say we will always need SSNs so that the Beast can track us.
;-)



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Michael Bauman

posted February 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm


We’re not bailing out retired folks; we’re bailing out the government that wasted those retired folks’ money for decades — and the money of millions and millions of others on their way to retirement. Now the government wants more of our money to pay for its past political and administrative sins. It is desperately stupid and grossly immoral to continue this wickedness — and for the jaw-droppingly under-informed crowd of leftists at Sojourners to support it. Will we never learn that government cannot be an agency of Christian love? Your tax bill cannot and will not serve the function of charity. The good Samaritan, not the good bureaucrat, was Jesus’ example of relieving our neighbor’s distress. Wastefulness on the grandest scale in history is no Christian virtue, and is certainly not proper stewardship of our limited resources.
The government has proved over and over that it cannot be trusted with our money. It cannot. It simply cannot. By now that should be clear to all concerned: Remember the lockbox lie? That habitual governmental un-trustworthiness is precisely why income tax was prohibited by the Founders from the beginning, and why it required a Constitutional amendment in order to initiate it. The Founders knew full well that government must not be given that kind of access to the resources of its citizens. The Founders wanted to oppose taxation without representation. But the situation now has deteriorated to where we need representation without taxation. The government will never tell you that it has enough money. For decades no administration and no Congress has been satisfied with the money it already has. The taxaholics in DC must finally be resisted. I am not interested in the slightest to give billions or trillions more dollars for a bailout program that will surely fail and need to be bailed out in its turn.
Stop it. Stop it now. We are inching closer and closer to economic ruin, a ruin perpetrated by the ridiculous Keynesian policies of Washington over the last 7 decades. As long as American voters continue to tolerate the political and economic folly peddled as wisdom in vacuous places like Harvard and Yale, the reign of buffoonery will continue unabated.
Read your Hayek; read your Hazlitt; read your Rothbard. The answers are there, right where they’ve been since this foolishness came to power.
Bailout Social Security? Who’s going to bailout the taxpayers, now that the well is going dry?



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Darryl

posted February 7, 2010 at 6:48 pm


As a not-quite-completely-ready-to-be-a-libertarian-but-leaning-that-way guy, I have to say the answer has never been for government to bail anyone out. Of course, SS should not be “bailed” out–it should receive the money with interest that has been stolen from it by the government. Unfortunately, that the popular approach for paying it back is raising taxes. But that isn’t paying it back! That’s making me pay it back. I didn’t spend that money! Our elected officials did! (Try to make them pay it back–quit laughing…I know, I know…)
Perhaps we are learning the hard way never to trust the government (whether it is America or Rome) to take care of us. When the government wants to take care of you, there is always a not so hidden agenda: the building of empire.



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Chuck

posted February 7, 2010 at 8:02 pm


This is one of the primary reasons why I am not interested in entrusting more of my money to the federal government. The whole concept of “limited government” acknowledges that government has a legitimate role in a free society but that role must be clearly defined and limited as much as possible.



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Scot McKnight

posted February 7, 2010 at 8:13 pm


When will the day come when we get to vote on the budget, and when the Federal Govt has to get a vote to raise the budget?



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BradK

posted February 7, 2010 at 8:58 pm


Scot, you realize that in a democratic republic like we have here in the U.S. we citizens get to vote on the budget every time congressional elections roll around and we choose representatives? Or are you proposing that the U.S. adopt pure democracy as its form of government? If so, that will happen when a constitutional amendment is approved by congress and ratified by the states. I.e. not any time soon.



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Diane

posted February 8, 2010 at 8:24 am


Dear Michael (#2),
I agree that it was grossly immoral–and should be illegal–for the govt to use our social security money for other things. However, to think the Good Samaritan model will work means a strong believe in the willingness of 21st century people to be more individually generous than history indicates they would be. Before the new Deal, many, many old people never retired. They worked until they died. If you read, for example, even such a simple piece of popular literature as Nancy’s Mysterious Letter, a Nancy Drew mystery written in 1931, Nancy and her teenage chums literally laugh at the idea of their postman retiring–it’s unthinkable. Poor people stayed in harness and tough luck. If you read the sociological study, Middletown In Transition, which discusses how Middletown (actually Muncie, Indiana) coped with charitable needs during the Depression–the kindest words are crisis and inadequacy; personal charity didn’t come near to working and the wealthy Ball family simply wouldn’t help (even though they could have) past a certain point–things were bad until the federal gov’t came in with sufficient funding and a workable bureaucracy. The government–until recent years when it was looted–hds not in the prior 60 years been the problem. The gov’t should not do everything, but it does many things right and well. We need public-private partnership. The problem has been the absurd RHETORIC that constantly lies and says gov’t does nothing right. That rhetoric is destroying our country.
As for Social security–you and I paid for it; it’s not a charity; we need to demand it and to demand that our government start functioning again as it did from 1932 to 2000: no not perfectly, but reasonably and responsibly.



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