Sunday, November 07, 2004

Privatize Social Security

I can hear the screams already: That heartless Doyle wants old people to starve and freeze to death and . . .

Shaddap and hear me out. It’s only a proposal right now and it makes sense.

First, it’s a misnomer. No one is suggesting the immediate end to the present Social Security system. Think of it more like SS slowly, potentially being phased out over several decades, because that’s how long it’s going to take. Current recipients and "older workers" (35 to 40 years of age) would see no change, but younger workers just starting out would. That change is an option.

Younger workers could choose to stay completely with Social Security, or, they could decide to take a small percentage of what’s being deducted from their paycheck for it, and have it redirected for their own, personal retirement account.

What’s the difference?

The worker owns the money they put into their account, not the government.

You pay into Social Security for years and years and then . . . get smooshed dead by a bus before you are even old enough to collect a single check. Of what you paid in, your spouse might get some monthly income under Survivor’s Benefits until they remarry or croak themselves. Each of your minor children will get a dinky little check monthly until they turn 18. The government keeps the rest including all of the interest your mandatory Social Security deductions generated.

Don’t have a spouse or minor children, oh well. It’s the government’s money.

By comparison, the funds directed into your own account including all of the interest from it, become part of your estate to be passed on to . . your faithful dog if that’s your choice.

You pay into Social Security for years and years and then . . . you’re this far away from retirement and the government says, nope. We changed our mind. Now, you have to work until age (fill in the blank) before we give you a stinkin’ dime.

You worked for it. You earned it, but tough. It's not your money. It’s the government’s.

Better yet, you pay into Social Security and then the government tells you that because it changed the rules, you’ll never get a stinkin’ dime. Oh, yeah, and that change? It affects your spouse’s receipt, too, even if he’s already receiving Social Security Disability payments.


Think I’m joking? I’m not because I didn’t find anything even slightly humorous when I went to my pre-retirement seminar years ago, which is when I discovered no matter how much I’d already paid into Social Security or paid into it in the future, the Windfall Elimination Provision meant the government doesn’t have to return to me a stinkin’ dime I paid into Social Security or in the future ever will. And under the Government Pension Offset, my local government pension eliminates Hubby’s Social Security no matter how much he paid into it in the past or might in the future.

And if he were already receiving Social Security Disability? Tough.

(Of special note, I think, is that both Windfall Elimination and Government Offset exempt Federal Employees from its provisions.)

Hubby’s still working, thank goodness, and still paying into his own pension plan. And guess what. It’s the same thing.

Would you keep dealing with a bank that changed its rules as it chose, even closing out peoples’ accounts in order to keep the funds? Would you require everyone else to do business with them?

No. You wouldn’t. At least I hope you wouldn’t.

We older workers are stuck. Younger ones aren’t if they are allowed the opportunity to take part of what they’re going to be paying into Social Security anyway, and instead, divert it into something that they, themselves, own.

That’s all this proposal is.

I think I’ve run out of gas right now. Aincha glad?

UPDATE: Looks like Neal Boortz has has a few things to say, too. Then again, when doesn't he.



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