Thursday, December 23, 2004

Social Security, free money for old people

Social Security is one of those ideas that sounds great on paper (much like other great ideas of the previous century fascism, communism, spam, and N*Sync or just boy bands in general) but when put into action turns out to be horrendous. I can't see how the fact that population was increasing at near exponential rates didn't play into rethinking the whole concept:

"Gee, there are going to be more people who will receive social security, than taxpayers who will be paying into it. My math is kinda rusty but I don't think there's a feasible way to make that work out. Unless of course you just want to take all of the money from the taxpayers. Then it might work."

And that seems to have been the solution for the past 30 umpteen years. But now as the infamous baby boomers begin to retire, the strain on the Social Security system will increase dramatically (via Say Anything):

In about 13 years, the system is projected to start paying out more in benefits than it collects in benefits. Then, the government must start repaying the excess Social Security funds it already has spent. With the repaid funds, the system can cover full benefits until 2042, according to the forecast by Social Security’s Board of Trustees. The Congressional Budget Office predicted the system is in better shape and probably can pay full benefits a decade longer.

Sweet. I'll be 64 in 2042 and just in time. I didn't want to get all my money back anyway. This topic is being discussed due mainly to Dubya's Social Security Savings Account idea which he pumped during the election, and is trying to now get implemented. I honestly don't think it will be enough, 3% seems paltry, but it's a start (I agree with Rob, we ought to dump the whole system, but people being responsible for themselves and their own retirement is a bit taboo these days). But Kerry's (and Democrat's in general) solution, atleast during the campaigns, was sticking their fingers in their ears and singing to themselves so they could avoid the question by pretending they didn't hear it, which brings us to the story that prompted this whole ordeal:
The Social Security Administration’s Web site and customer service lines are pushing the need to “modernize and reform” the retirement system, saying the future shortfall is “massive and growing,” and promoting personal investment accounts as a financial fix.

Critics say the agency is trying to scare people about the system’s finances and is improperly advocating President Bush’s political agenda for a Social Security overhaul to private accounts.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., says that some messages on the agency’s toll-free customer service line played to people on hold, are “inappropriate political propaganda” paid for with taxpayer dollars and contain inaccurate information.

Aah, but stick with me. My story gets better. If you continue to read the article you find this...

Lautenberg, in a letter sent Wednesday to Social Security Commissioner Jo Anne Barnhart, asked that the recorded messages be removed from the toll-free line.

But agency spokesman Jim Courtney said one message Lautenberg referred to was created and used during the Clinton administration. “We never changed it,” he said.

Man do Democrats love to complain. They whine and whine and then you end up with gems like this. "It's all Bush's fault! He's going to bankrupt the country! Eliminate Social Security! Make you all convert to Mormonism!" Blah, blah, blah.

I like Rob's idea for the Democrats new spokesman (ok "spokesperson". Sorry if I offend any women out there with my testosterone-centric point of view) good old Baghdad Bob.

There are no problems with Social Security. Please go about your business as usual. Bush is Hitler. Conservatives are bigots. Social Security is fine…

The Jedi mind trick only works on the weak minded fools. Stupid man.