As my Dad used to say, “When you find yourself in a hole too deep to climb out of, the first thing to do is stop digging.”
Well, truth to tell, I don’t remember him ever saying that, but quoting one’s father tends to lend sagacity to an otherwise plain-vanilla statement.
Applying that wisp of wisdom to one of our nation’s most vexing problems would yield two major benefits, but might get me dishonorably discharged from the B.P.O.G. (Benevolent & Protective Order Of Geezers).
First, and most immediately, it would take a giant step toward pumping out the cesspool of our present Social Insecurity System, which is now as sound as a dollar which is no more sound than a sinking lifeboat.
Next, it would restore to the piggy banks of our children and grandchildren some of the gazillions of those dollars that were embezzled on our watch.
My proposal is that Uncle Sam stop sending Social Security checks to people who don’t need them in order to get by, myself and first wife being prime examples.
Whenever I have proffered that suggestion in the past, it has been booed and boo-hooed by current recipients who argue that the nation would be breaking its promise to people who were “entitled” to that specific benefit.
Those booers and boohooers have a measure of logic on their side, but they are seeking to draw from a well that ran dry a long time ago.
That is to say – and not to be denied – that the fund from which those monthly checks should be drawn does not exist, having been purloined and pissed away by our reprehensibles in government.
There ain’t a dime of it left in the till, and almost every future dime will have to be borrowed against future revenue, then paid back by our beloved begats, those they beget and the later-begotten.
We have, in effect, bequeathed to them the massive debts that were piled up while we (and some of them) slept at the switch of fiscal responsibility.
A bit of history here: The Social Security Act of 1935 had as its foundation an “Old Age Reserve Account,” into which workers paid, and out of which benefits were to be disbursed as needed – all in accordance with accepted actuarial probabilities.
The early success of that plan contributed to its later undoing.
As the years rolled by, reserves accumulated in the account, a fat pot of political gold which did not go unnoticed by the aforementioned reprehensibles.
Had they allowed that kitty to grow into a stable, self-sustaining endowment, it would have secured future generations ad infinitum.
Instead, to their everlasting discredit, they extended the list of beneficiaries beyond the fund’s ability to replenish itself.
They also treated those reserves like a rich relative from whom they could borrow at will to make current operational ends meet, turning what had been the promise of support for our elderly into a thinly-disguised Ponzi scheme.
Anyway, to make a long story longer, over time that reserve account has become a pile of IOUs, rather than a solvent fund to cover future claims.
What was intended to be an insurance plan became functionally insolvent, with the result that present benefits are being paid with obligations that will have to be met by future generations.
It is, in fact, unfunded welfare, and should be paid only to those who need it to survive.
Makes sense, doesn’t it – unless and until it is suggested to current beneficiaries and geezers-to-come.
“Hey,” they say, “we paid into that sucker and, by golly, we’re gonna get what’s coming to us.”
Well, friends, what was “coming” to us flew away on the wings of governmental mismanagement, under our not-very-watchful eyes.
The time has passed for us to stop the bullscat and bite the bullet of reality.
People unable to make ends meet, by reason of old age and/or disability, should be helped by those who can be self-supporting – and only the former should be receiving Social Security checks.
There’s no free lunch, no tooth fairy and NO money in the Social Insecurity Fund. It is gone like the wind of pre-election rhetoric.
Throw me out of the B.P.O.G. (see above) if you must, but fair was still fair the last time I checked, and what’s being done now is anything but.
Freelance wordworker Joe Klock, Sr. winters in Key Largo and Coral Gables, Florida and summers in New Hampshire. More of his “Klockwork” can be found at www.joeklock.com
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