I'm hoping to spark some good neutral political debate here about the SS problem and various ways to fix it.
Here's the article: http://apnews.myway..../D886MUBG0.html
Cheers to any member of Congress who recognizes that we have a serious problem with Social Security that can't be solved by throwing yet more tax-payer money into a so-called "general fund".
Here is a from the article that really caught my eye and is what I think is most of the problem with Government today.
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said any plan should be bipartisan, in part to give lawmakers from both parties political cover for supporting major changes to such the popular retirement program.
Covering your ass may be good politics, but it's really lousy leadership. I'm really tired of members of Congress putting their own political skin ahead of of the job they were voted into office to do. Nothing worth doing is without risk. I've lost jobs because I took a stand for what was ethically right and my bosses didn't like it. Why shouldn't Congress do the same. Stop worrying about getting re-elected and try to do the job you were sent to Washington to do!
On to another quote:
Carper, who said he would prefer adding the accounts to the existing system, said he would have to see a comprehensive plan for diverting payroll taxes before deciding on supporting it.
I completely agree with the Senator on the second half of his statement. I sure wouldn't want to support something before I knew exactly what it would do and how it would work.
However, I already pay something like 12% of my payroll to social security and what I take home is barely enough to live until I get my next paycheck. If I have $50 I can save from a paycheck then that means I have skipped lunch for the past 2 weeks or the car is still running ok. Instead of adding onto existing SS taxes, let me invest 50% of it in my own account. I'll get a hell of a lot better return on my money, even with the market trends. So 6% goes to SS, and the other 6% goes to my own little government sanctioned 401K.
"I believe that if we go down that road, establishing private accounts, we should do so in a way that does not significantly increase our federal budget deficit and does not significantly cut benefits for our parents or, frankly, for our kids," Carper said.
I don't care how you do it, you'll increase the deficit over the short term because the government is already paying out more in SS benefits that it brings in. For the older people who will not benefit from the new "401K" plan, you have to keep the SAME amount of benefit adjusted for cost of living increases with less overall money coming into the system. That means that for a while, deficits will go up.
However, as for the "for our kids", comment that Sen. Carper made. HOOEY!!! The whole idea of privatized SS accounts is so that the government expenditure WILL go down. People will be saving their own money that doesn't have to be continually recycled through the government. Privatized accounts will generate much more money for what is put into them than any existing government run investing scheme (yes, scheme!) excepting the Congress Pension Plan. With the current plan, the SS taxes I'm putting in I will never see. They already go to pay someone elses benefits. I've heard in other places that it already takes 2-3 workers taxes to pay for one SS beneficiary. If I really cared about the next generation, I'd not want 4 or 5 of them to have the burden of their SS taxes paying for my SS in 30 years. The problem will only get worse over time. Do something about it NOW, while the situation is still salvageable.
It will cost more than $1 trillion to transition to the private accounts, because they would take away money that is needed to pay current retirement benefits.
Only $1 trillion? Over how many years? 10? Okay, that's only $100 billion per year. VERY, VERY manageable with as much money as the government already has. I already know it'll cost more than that. And the first couple of years will be the most expensive. How about cutting down on the Administration costs of the system? How much would that save every year. Why are SS benefit checks that people receive taxed? Why does having a pension automatically cut your SS benefits in half? Isn't that your money you have already put in over the years? The answer to the last is no, it was spent long ago.
So, to all in Congress, do something about this CRISIS now. Just throwing more taxpayer money at it will not do a thing except having a much larger crisis looming in 20 years. Some sort of privatized system is the answer, so get the job done. Maybe if you were forced to put money into the SS system, you'd feel the crunch a bit more. Oh, and while you're at it, how about increasing the funds of the Veterans Administration benefits. These noble heroes sacrificed a lot so you can have your nice job in Washington and they deserve a hell of a lot more than you are showing them.