Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Social Security

For those who don't quite understand what Obama's tax holiday for Social Security taxes means, here's as cogent an explanation as I have found of the immediate and looking toward the long range.

I am not among those who trusts anybody absolutely. I try to look at what they do and the motives behind it. I can see what Obama is claiming he is trying to do-- immediate stimulus to income earners who pay Social Security's full tax rate. You can see in the article what that might mean to them if it passes.

But what will it do to the Social Security pension system if even less money is in the funds to cover it? If they had also upped income levels for those who pay into it, this would have made sense. As it stands, it is an attack on Social Security albeit by the backdoor.

I understand that many feel this country has a huge immediate problem and who cares about the old. Many younger people feel they will never get it anyway. They feel that way because they see a government that constantly wheedles and manipulates without standing behind any of its promises.

Some have always wanted Social Security to be an option, to let those payroll taxes go to the stock market with the hopes that they will be safer there. Those some haven't paid a lot of attention to what has happened to the stock market and many investments recently.

There was a time when people had pensions but now they have two things either investment accounts or Social Security. The ones who think they may never get Social Security and rely totally on their investments or inheritances may want to look at the lack of real regulation on the financial sector, the many banks still at risk of failing and finally a government going deeper and deeper into debt. The government borrows from other countries but also that retirement trust fund for Social Security. Will they really repay it? Can they? And now they are increasing the deficit of it also. For the short term gain of workers getting more money immediately and maybe spending it as a hoped stimulus.

So it was a trade off between the young and the old with the old being the ones of no economic value to the system, I guess. I mean who cares if the elderly can spend money? And I am NOT saying this means an immediate cut in Social Security checks. This is about where this heads and what it means to a system that supposedly (according to Bowles-Simpson report-- Obama's own deficit committee) is already heading to big trouble and a need for reduced benefits and means testing.

Don't forget, this isn't just about the elderly but also children who lost a parent and the disabled. Social Security has been a statement to our culture about valuing the elderly who worked all their lives and no longer can physically do it. It is about one generation covering those needs for another with the knowledge someday it'll be their turn. It is about families who lost the main breadwinner and it's about an insurance system for those who through no fault of their own became disabled. Is that all to be past tense?

I suspect the Democrats will roll over on this one too as the Republicans did so many times to stay loyal to Bush. For some, their leader is who they must follow. That's too bad as it'd be better if we looked at the facts of what was happening and voted our consciences... Not likely in this partisan culture.

1 comment:

TaraDharma said...

Rain, I am so dammed depressed over our national politics and the fiscal irresponsibility in Washington. Not to mention the goons with their hateful social policies.

Sound bites have replaced any meaningful dialogue about the issues. Social Security was created for a reason, and is one of the social and financial contracts the citizens have with the government. But look at the contracts that the gov't had with native americans and that may tell you where we're headed....