It Ain't Just About The Old Folks, Buster
It Ain't Just About The Old Folks, Buster
by Mary Pitt
Just get your little behind over here, sit down, shut up, and listen to the voice of experience! You support the proposed gutting of Social Security, right? You think you would do better standing on your own and planning for your own future? You see no reason why you should have to pay into a program that you are told will not be there for you when you are old and gray? Well, let me tell you a thing or two!
You're just beginning a career where you are making what seems to be big bucks, and you think there will be no end to it. You are feeling confident that you can "conquer the world" or become a financial mogul of some sort. You are the "Captain of your ship and the Master of your soul!" The "old folks" felt the same at your age. We learned that there are many things that can happen to run those big plans off track, and you will be glad if you have "something to fall back on" when it happens, something that can never be seized, foreclosed or garnished by a creditor, something that is not cancelled when you are unable to pay the premiums, something that will give a small measure of protection to your wife and children when you can't.
You have a good education and a good chance at having a more successful life than even your parents did. Do you know why? Because your parents could spend all their resources on YOU! They could support your learning process and they could save and send you to college, and that is because they did NOT have to support their aging parents and grandparents during their working years. Had this been necessary, you may have had to drop out of high school as many in your parents' generation did in order to work to help support the family. You do not have to support your parents now because they paid into Social Security all their working lives and could use their meager savings for your education rather than having to save it all for their own care in their older years.
Do you remember those heroes who died in the World Trade Center towers on 9/11? For your information, most of those young working people had children and those children are now receiving benefits from Social Security. So are the children of the soldiers who died in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sure, there are benefits from the military, too, but those do not provide food on the table from month to month and, without it, they might not be able to stay in school until they are grown and able to get the college scholarships to which they are entitled. The thing you young folks don't think about is that Social Security will be there for LIFE! It will support your kids until they are grown up, it will support your surviving spouse when you no longer can, and the checks will continue from the day you have to retire until the day you die. It won't "run out" and it won't lose your money.
"Never mind", you say, "That has nothing to do with me!" It has everything to do with you! Nobody plans to die young, leaving a wife and children with no breadwinner in the family, but it happens every day. Nobody expects to have a vehicular or occupational accident that leaves them permanently and irreparably unable to work or even to care for themselves but that, too, happens every day. And nobody ever expects to have a child who is born with brain damage which leaves them developmentally disabled or who has an accident or an illness which leaves them with the same condition, but our society is full of them. In every case, these people need more help and support than their own families can provide, unless they are as rich as the Kennedys, and that support comes from Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.
But, you want to retire with lots of money of your OWN! Fine. You put a small amount in the bank in savings every payday and you let it build until you have enough to invest in whatever you trust. Or you may have automatic deductions taken out and put into your 401K or stow it away in IRA's at the end of the year. If you choose successfully and the investments you make pay off, you will have achieved your dream. If you do not, you may find yourself appreciating the value of Social Security as much as your elders do now.
Social Security is broke? Nonsense! During the course of each worker's life, he has paid in enough money in advance to cover his retirement. This money was "borrowed" by the government and is converted to a portion of the national debt. As it is drawn out, it is replaced by that of the ones who are still working. I know, you keep hearing all the garbage about the current workers supporting those who are already retired. That's a lie. They use the current payments to avoid using the trust fund in order to simplify their own bookkeeping. The trust fund is growing regularly. The greatest fear of those in charge of the country now is that they will actually have to pay it back someday. They have spent so much money that the national credit rating has fallen to "zero-zero-zero" due to the soaring national debt. They are trying to recoup the funds from the trust fund of the American people.
Baby Boomers? A bogey-man! They have been paying into the fund the same as everybody else and the government can keep playing this shell game until they all die off. Another thing, the Baby Boomers have made more money than any generation in history and, if the fund seems to be running short of preparing for their retirement, the answer is to increase the cap on the amount of their income that is deducted. It happened to our generation and it is only fair that the same thing be done now. If they are going to live longer than their predecessors, it is only fair that they pay in more now.
Social Security going broke? Garbage! The Republicans have been giving us this baloney ever since I was a beautiful young bookkeeper in a furniture store! "Social Security is going broke and won't be there for you!" That was in the 'fifties and 'sixties and it's still here! It's sorta like when I was a kid and my old Auntie was telling me about the world going to end tomorrow. Ain't happened yet, has it? It's like the "Social Security crisis" that they keep digging up every time they want to scare the hell out of us. Sure, it could happen someday but, until it does, it's still working and nothing short of an act of God or the perfidy of man can change that. The only thing we can do is to get rid of the perfidious men who are mishandling things.!
This administration came into office with the agenda to cut taxes for the rich and to destroy all the social progress we have obtained in the last century and they are well on their way to doing it. They cut taxes for the rich and now they want to replace those lost funds with the money the working people have paid in over the years. If we allow them to do this, they will tell us that all the investments that we have all made over the years was just a "tax" and they can write off that debt. That would mean that a retroactive regressive tax is added to the burden of the poor and the working class, bereaved people will find themselves destitute, and dependent children and handicapped people will be lining up in "bread lines" in search of their meals.
If this is the view of the future that you want for your grandchildren, go right ahead and support President Bush in his attack on the poor and the middle-class, but don't expect to do it easily. Many of us can remember life before Social Security and it was not pretty. It has been said that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and this is a part of our history that nobody should ever forget or desire to repeat. Now you've heard the truth. Think about it, and while you're thinking, read a good book, perhaps a novel by Charles Dickens.
Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who is self-employed and active in the political arena. Her concerns are her four-generation family and the continuance of the United States as a democracy with a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people". Comments and criticism may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org .