My rant today on the Social Security "Entitlement"
The truth is that most people actually draw more out of the Social Security system than they ever contributed. So let's make a deal, if people will agree that they are only allowed to receive benefits equal to what was contributed in by them and their employers on their behalf (minus a percentage for administration), I'm all in favor. I'm guessing a lot of these folks would be very unhappy with this arrangement, but then again, it might shut them the hell up too.
But then, I think about my own family. I'll just use my Mom's side as an example. Both Grandpa & Grandma worked full time and paid into the system. My Grandpa died in his late 50s and never drew a penny. My Mother paid into the system her entire working life and died at 61, never drawing a penny.
My Grandmother retired for the final time in her mid 70s. So she was still paying into the system well beyond an average working life. She's in her late 80s. When she went on SS about 15 or so years ago (she worked and got SS for a while), she drew "Grandpa's" because it was more than what her "account" was eligible. After Mom passed away, I worked with SS to allow my Grandmother to draw the amount my Mom would've drawn at her age of retirement because it was a little more monthly than Grandma's current check.
The moral here is that in my family alone, there is 1 person who is receiving a SS check for the 3 (really 3.5) people in my family who paid in, although 2 never became eligible. If this had been a REAL (non-Ponzi) account where it was held for families as an asset and thus inheritable, my Grandmother would've had a nice little nest egg. Heck, I'd be doing fairly well myself.
But alas, it is a mess, it needs to be reformed and phased out, and we should start by allowing people to opt out of it. I would gladly opt out, let them keep what they've already stolen, and handle it all myself. The best solution would be a phase out, similar to the following:
Guarantee the folks over 60 we'll keep the promise as is. They've depended on it, and many haven't planned for themselves. I say they're already screwed enough. Keep the oldsters in "the scheme."
For everyone else under 55 or 60 or whatever who has worked and paid in, lump sum distribute the amount paid and 1/2 of the employer match. Roll it into private 401K type accounts and say, "OK boys and girls it's all you. We're out of the retirement business. Good luck." Poof! It's private.
The problem generally is that people have accepted the Government in this country as the safety net and insurer of last resort. I'll concede that there is a promise made to people that should be kept, but there are people who are in my age bracket who need to buck up and accept that we're going to have to take care of our own business.
Labels: social security