The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
I want to respond to Mark Pearce's letter in last week's Gazette. I support the move to allow individuals to actually own some of the money they put into Social Security. As it currently exists, the system is a Ponzi scheme. It is illegal in the private sector to run an investment program in which the money invested by newcomers is used to pay off the original investors, but that’s what Social Security does. And, like any other Ponzi, it’s running out of new workers.
We all should know that there’s no real money in the so-called "trust fund." Its non-marketable treasury bonds will have to be paid out of general revenues if the "contributions" don't keep up. Raise taxes? When I first started paying in (back in 1961), I think the rate was about 3.5% (actually 7% when you count the employer match); now the deduction is somewhere over 6%, plus Medicare. The amount of earnings taxed has continuously been raised, as well.
The worst part of the current system is its demographic discrimination. Someone can work hard, pay a lot into it, yet never draw a cent if he dies before he reaches the appropriate age. His family gets nothing – maybe a reduced widow’s pension at best. Who's most likely to die young? Men, especially black men. Who lives longest? White women.
I think the only reason certain politicians are do not want people to have control over a small part of their forced retirement savings is that it would be unavailable for spending on pork barrel projects or for transfer to certain favored groups. If given the chance, I think most people would invest safely and conservatively in savings rather than speculate.
Now that I'm over 60 I'm locked into the current system. 20 years ago I would have happily opted out and been ahead of the game.
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