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An anti-Social Security rant in response to a year-old blog post

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April 28, 2008 – Comments (10)

The biggest pyramid scheme ever is going to be U.S. social security. Let me start by saying social security is a good thing - super important

That's like saying "I'm dying of AIDS, but that's not to say AIDS is a bad thing - it's super great!"

Social Security is among the most dreadful, tyrannical, mind-poisoning programs foisted upon a population by their government. Forced starvation was bad, but when Hitler and Stalin poisoned the minds of the youth against their parents, that was worse, and that is what FDR and the other fiends in the government did with Social Security. It was never going to have any beneficial effect, it never did, it never will, and it can't. It takes money from the productive to give to people who are unproductive and should have saved their money or at least raised their children well.

[Paraphrasing] We can't blame Social Security, it's the government's fault for cutting taxes, not putting the SS receipts in a lockbox, and Medicare is a bigger problem anyway.

Not only can we blame Social Security, but we must and I will. The whole idea of having a lockbox is ignorant. What are the savings in the "lockbox"? They are U.S. Treasuries, i.e. money that the government is spending and promising to pay back later. Think of a 3 card monty. That's the lockbox. Tax cuts are not the problem, spending too high of a percentage of GDP is the problem.

Medicare is part of Social Security, by the way. And don't worry, I and the rest of those in their 20's and 30's (and the children and those who have yet to be born) will pay dearly for your Social Security and Medicare, even if the government is so corrupt and incompetent by that time that you never get it.

10 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On April 28, 2008 at 4:36 PM, MakeItSeven (32.33) wrote:

Well, how old will you be in 2085 ?

How much do you think the SC deficit will be by that time as estimated by the SCA ?

If the estimated SC deficit by the year 2085 is a "Duh" issue, wouldn't that make the whole thing a "Duh" issue to you ?

Medicare is a separate issue.  It's only a symptom of the healthcare cost problem, the same problem which caused Ford and GM to open new auto plants in Canada a few years ago since they claimed it would save them thousands of dollars in health insurace per car.

So, healthcare cost is not just the government's problem (i.e. Medicare)., it's every business's and every individual's problem.  

Now, who charge all those healthcare bills ?  It's definitely not the government.    Or, put it another way, which classes of profession(s) in the US totally rip off the rest of the population, compared to any other developed countries ?

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#2) On April 28, 2008 at 5:49 PM, FleaBagger (29.46) wrote:

First of all, I don't know why you're talking abuot 2085. Long before then, I'm going to have to pay an exorbitant witholding FICA rate to support a generation who had to pay a smaller rate to support a generation that was just plain irresponsible. Then, not so long before then, I'm going to have to work in retirement, because instead of investing the money I earned, I had it confiscated to pay for an unproductive Ponzi scheme benefitting irresponsible people who didn't save and invest. It's the one thing in the tax code that encourages people to strive for higher incomes, because if you make enough of a six-figure annual income, you can start making some FICA-free.

As for healthcare costs, have you ever heard of HMO's? Are you familiar with the term "moral hazard"? Do you think that putting more people on insurance is going to lower costs? Name one time that the government decreased the cost of something and increased efficiency by paying for it with tax revenue. It has never happened.

With so many people on health insurance and in HMO's, and so much government "help," nobody chooses where to go and then foots the bill anymore, everyone just goes to wherever their "plan" tells them to go, and then complains about the doctor. Strict government licensing and widespread health insurance are two things that sound really great, and enormous education costs you probably don't think too much about in relation to this issue, but those are the three things that differentiate the costs of providing medical care in the U.S. from providing medical care elsewhere in the world.

If you are an investor, you know that no company makes obscene profits by "sticking it to their customer" with an inferior product and jacked up prices. If they did, you could just invest and get rich. Heck, just do the same thing, and you could get fabulously wealthy. But obviously, economics doesn't work like that. When there are high prices and competition doesn't bring them down, you have high costs (or government protected monopoly status), every time. So stop saying idiotic things about companies ripping off the rest of the population. Blame the electorate and those that indoctrinated them when they should have been educating them.

By the way, do you just go searching for articles about Social Security? How did you find this post so fast?

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#3) On April 28, 2008 at 8:27 PM, devoish (98.58) wrote:

Fleabagger,

You could not be more confused.

My mother was a Sunday school teacher, a free gift of her time from a qualified school teacher. She was a Girl Scout leader who gave freely of her time and often of her money. My father was a Boy scout leader, who volunteered his time and money driving our church youth group when other parents could not. He delivered "meals on wheels" to elderly shut-ins. When I was young we cleaned litter from parks, and built a staircase at the local girl scout camp. We helped at bake sales and shared garden vegetables. We built eagle scout projects and formed our towns first library when there was no internet, and big blue was a dream. He paid SSI from every paycheck he ever earned. I am almost 50 years old. I have paid to SSI whatever was asked sinced my first paycheck over 30 years ago. I have never taken a dime from SSI or medicaid. I hope I never do. And I will not be angry if I don't. But I don't pay SSI for what I will get back. I pay SSI to help the family of a man crippled by a drunk driver. I pay SSI to help the man who fell from the girder of the high-rise you are working in. I pay for the woman who would otherwise die in the street because she was not as polished an investor as yourself. I pay for the couple who did not make enough extra to invest, and did not buy luxuries. I pay for the family from whom sickness took the earner. I am proud of the 15% I contribute. I hope I save enough so I can send my checks back.

I hear a lot from whiney selfish crybabys these days. "Woe is me". "whats in it for me" they all complain.

I think you are missing the point.

 

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#4) On April 28, 2008 at 9:32 PM, MakeItSeven (32.33) wrote:

So, you don't have any numbers to justify your rant then.  "Exborbitant" is not a number, it's an opinion.  Neither are "Ponzi" and "irresponsible" :).

Why the year 2085 ?  Because that's the range of the SSA estimates in case nothing is done and people like you will simply pay the same FICA rate as the "irresponsible" baby boomers.

Another magic number is the year 2041.  That's when the SS Trust Fund is exhausted.  Most of the baby boomers have already died by then and the SS cost will have been declining for 6 years (see Chart B).

If you have to pay more in the future for your own SS benefit, probably it has much less to do with the baby boomers but more due to the fact that your generation will live several years longer. 

benefitting irresponsible people who didn't save and invest

That's why SS is needed.  There are always irresponsible people and SS is the one way to force them to save for their retirement while they work so they will have some "minimal" income to live on.  People who are more responsible should save much more beyond SS.

Let's say the US abolish SS, then what do you do to the old people in the following situation:

- people who do not save

- people who invest for their retirement and lose it all.  Please do not tell me that no investors have ever lost money.   BTW, I have friends who worked for MCI/Worldcom and had their 401K disappeared.

- people who get sick and have to cough up all their retirement savings to pay for their medical bills (assuming the evil government does not interfere with the free market and try to shield their "private" retirement savings from being taken away, of course).

Anything other than saying "Let them die because they deserve to die" ? 

If you are an investor, you know that no company makes obscene profits by "sticking it to their customer" with an inferior product and jacked up prices.

Huh ?  You have not heard of Enron (and all of their energy friends, BTW) and the CA energy crisis in 2001 ?  If the evil government did not interfere then there would be no reasons for them to stop the gouging.

Or, if you don't want to accuse any US corporations of any misdeed, how about the way OPEC is serving its oil-consuming customers in the US ? 

Sorry for the typo, BTW, having a fever today so I typed SC as acronym when I meant Social Security.

Name one time that the government decreased the cost of something and increased efficiency by paying for it with tax revenue. It has never happened.

Does the existence Canada count as one time ? :)  How about better healthcare for about half the cost ?

"The U.S. spends much more on health care than Canada, both on a per-capita basis and as a percentage of GDP.[5]In 2005, per-capita spending for health care in the U.S. was US$6,401; in Canada, US$3,326.[5] The U.S. spent 15.3% of GDP on health care in that year; Canada spent 9.8%.[5] In 2004, almost 70% of health care spending in Canada was financed by government, versus 44.7% in the United States.

...

A 2007 review of all studies comparing health outcomes in Canada and the U.S., in a Canadian peer-reviewed medical journal, found that "health outcomes may be superior in patients cared for in Canada versus the United States, but differences are not consistent."[7] Life expectancy is longer in Canada, and its infant mortality rate is lower than that of the U.S., but there is debate about the underlying causes of these differences. One commonly cited comparison, the World Health Organization's ratings of health care system performance among 191 member nations published in 2000, ranked Canada 30th and the U.S. 37th, and the overall health of Canadians 35th and Americans 72nd."

There you go.  BTW, please read what I wrote again.  I DID NOT say that the government is better than private insurances, I just said that healthcare cost in the US is much higher (twice as high as Canada, say) for inferior services because of ripoffs.  It does not matter whether the government or a business pays for those healthcare bills, they're still ripoff.

And where does the ripoff come from ?  Hmmm....  Maybe that's why healthcare cost in the US doubles everywhere else.

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#5) On April 29, 2008 at 12:48 AM, EScroogeJr (< 20) wrote:

I cannot support your rant against Social Security. For all its flaws, t's one of the few programs that does some redistribution of income from the rich to the poor. Given the fact that the overwhelming majority of our social institutions have been designed to redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich, the need for some countercurrent is imperative.

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#6) On April 29, 2008 at 2:01 AM, FleaBagger (29.46) wrote:

Scrooge -

Have you looked at who's paying into Social Security? It's the age groups with the lowest net worth. Have you looked at who's collecting? It's the age groups with the highest net worth.

Seven -

I assumed you were right to use "SC" since you are such a big fan! ;) 

Where to begin? See my "fundamental rights" blog post, but in case you don't have time, let me sum it up for you: No one has the right to benefit from somebody else's work, and government does not have the right to make that happen

The numbers are also in another blog post, but to sum up briefly, just SS, Medicare, and Medicaid cost 1/10 of the GDP, and they are each growing faster than GDP. Whatever other games you want to play with the numbers, that's a serious problem, and it has to do with inflation (which is a tax on the poor).

Speaking of inflation, you malign "energy companies" for "gouging" - this even though XOM's "record profits" are growing slower than inflation. In a decent economy, every company providing a product people want in an efficient way would have growing profits, not shrinking profits disguised as growing profits by inflation. But the gross numbers are huge, like Mike Myers' brother's head in So I Married an Axe Murderer. And that allows political hacks in the media to make hay for their pet cause of windfall taxes. Yay!

Are you going to seriously tell me the CA's state gov't was the knight in shining armor riding to the rescue when evil corporations were making too much profit? No utility company has turned a profit in CA in years, except perhaps through some byzantine tax and subsidy structure that the other 49 states wisely circumvent using a thing called the market. The one state more willing than any other (except perhaps MI) to interfere with market forces found itself hoist with its own petard.

Oddly, I don't have such a problem with OPEC. 

The reason there is so much more money being spent on healthcare in the U.S. is that we still have the freedom to spend our own money on healthcare, which is severely limited in Canada (and all the other socialist utopias you might care to mention). Further, the world's poor are not moving to Canada, bringing down Canada's life expectancy. 

Also, we Americans are lardbutts, and that doesn't help our stats.

I almost forgot: did you say Enron was making obscene profits? They weren't making any profits! Where have you been? 

Your friends at Worldcom: how close did they come to starving to death? Did they think about working until 70 and investing differently because of the lessons learned? People used to deal with adversity without demanding help from the government.

devoish -

Your post is my favorite (I have saved the best for last). This is something I have long pondered, because I am a Christian, and I wondered how any Christian could oppose socialism and safety nets for the poor. (Because, after all, in Acts we read that the church that was guided by God's Holy Spirit had all things in common, and everyone gave from what he had to whomever was in need. Sound familiar?)

Then I realized that God instructs us to give to the poor. Not to contribute to a secular administrator of benevolence to give to the poor for us. Not to take something from everyone to give to the poor. But in every case that God commends, it is a freewill offering. I'm glad that you see your taxes as a freewill offering to the poor. Quite aside from the fact that a very small percentage of that ever makes it to anyone who truly needs it, the bigger problem is this: who authorized you to take from others to give to the poor (via taxes)? It was not God. When you look at the wealth of a billionaire and think to yourself "What a lot of good could be done with that money!" You are not thinking spiritually, but carnally. You are not being generous, but covetous. Who can be generous with the possessions of another?

On a lighter note, what counts as a high-rise? I work on the ground floor (both literally and figuratively), for what could not be considered a living wage for a family of three in this area (Reston, VA) - and there is no possibility of advancement, and little possibility of even so much as a cost of living raise.

The little old lady who is not so polished an investor? She is a co-worker of mine, and she was telling me today(!) about how Merrill Lynch blew her inheritance in the tech stock bubble (though she did not know the terminology) and that they also had had some of her money in Enron. So she's working at the age of... I'm guessing 75-80, and she seems to be getting along. Not roaring wealthy, but getting along. Just like me.

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#7) On April 29, 2008 at 8:01 AM, devoish (98.58) wrote:

Is the little Old Lady you work with being helped by SSI retirement benefits? You could advise her to start collecting if she is not.

And the rest of the people i mention?

And if you are "just getting along" what happens to your family of three if you are injured and your earnings are lost for 17 years.

 

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#8) On April 29, 2008 at 11:41 AM, FleaBagger (29.46) wrote:

I did not mean to mislead you; I was poking fun at the "living wage" concept, not saying I have a family of three. But if someone is working for very little money and trying to support a family of three because his wife chooses to stay home, or because his wife has health problems and has to stay home, and he is injured and can't work, then maybe they can ask you and your parents and your parents' church and me and my church for help.

That way, instead of government blaspheming God's name by trying to achieve among unbelievers what the Holy Spirit is to do among believers, we can honor God by offering freewill offerings of love as our spiritual act of worship.

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#9) On April 29, 2008 at 12:27 PM, EScroogeJr (< 20) wrote:

Oh sure, why would anyone want to have his amount of insurance benefits written on a government-stamped paper when he can just go to a local church, sit on the porch with his hat in his hand and collect as much money as his pios, god-fearing fellow christians will see fit to donate?

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#10) On May 01, 2008 at 2:31 PM, FleaBagger (29.46) wrote:

You don't know any Bible-believing Christians, do you? But even if you don't ever believe in the Bible:

Why would anyone want to invest in the stock market when they can enjoy the 3% returns that come from investing in the government Ponzi scheme, unless of course you and your spouse die, in which case your money is taken completely away and given to a stranger (because how else can we achieve such dazzling 3% returns?).

If you think the government is such a better insurance company than any in the private sector, why don't you live in France or Germany, where the government insurance is so much more comprehensive? Oh, that's right: there are no jobs in France or Germany. It's okay to make everyone 10% poorer to make everyone 1% safer, but 50% poorer to be 5% safer is just crazy, right?

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