The point of this, part 5 of my exposure of the evils of our Social Security system, is to answer some questions raised in comments. One was "how would you feel about only withdrawing the amount you've been taxed plus interest?" The answer is, "still uncomfortable for me."
I was hoping to explain why this is by providing one example of how Leftists used agitprop and political correctness to prevent meaningful discussion of reforms needed to keep the financing of Social Security in balance. Although we were tricked into abandoning our efforts, probably all across the country in a manner similar to the example at the second inset below, I and the others are still culpable for not finding ways to fight such obstructions so we could pursue reforms.
But first, before letting those tactics succeed again in distracting us from our main job, why the need for reform?
As shown in part 3, Social Security's funding and obligations have long been known to be out of balance. It cannot function that way for long because it is subject to Natural Law. That means it is analogous to why we cannot eat our cake and have it too. In order for Natural Laws to function favorably, the need for balance is never eliminated. Financial balance is not achieved by bookkeeping tricks as the opponents of reform have relentlessly peddled, but only by real ledger balance. We take responsibility for our expenditures or we leave a bigger burden to those who follow us. Rationalize all you wish, but there is only one responsible course of action, and that is especially true when you momentarily realize how you have failed as you grasp at new rationalizations. You have a range of options. On the responsible side, trying to take up some slack and relieve some of the burdens and chains from your posterity. On the irresponsible side, fall in with the easiest course of actions (typically go along with the crowd) and let your posterity deal with the consequences of your sins.
Simply because some clever scoundrels convinced our society as a whole to put off the reckoning, their success does not eliminate from our souls the burden of the responsibility for what pain may ensue.
Over a period of almost 80 years, a whole lot of morally guided people were derailed from pursuing reforms to Social Security by the combined activities of money-grubbing politicians and Leftist radicals. It may or may not be true that both scheming camps knew the consequences of their actions would steer our society down a road to destruction, but such an ultimately destructive goal to our way of life is now in sight. The moral concerns of earlier reformers may have been derailed, but the moral reckoning beckons to us now. Are we as a once morally guided society so far gone that we will permit every-man-for-himself to rule us? And does that alleviate the burdens on you if you think of yourself as a moral individual?
From what I have witnessed so far, this question is one few seem willing to face. I personally have decided that I cannot ignore the consequence any more. The Ten Commandments say “Thou shalt not steal.” It is not any different if the government steals in my name because they say my claim is legally on the books. I and my generation stood by while they collected FICA taxes and then spent them to pay for other programs for which our politicians did not want to risk their reelection by openly raising taxes to explicitly pay for them.Instead they chose to raid the Social Security fund and leave IOUs behind to be paid back, with interest, by future taxpayers. That is, future politicians had to risk raising taxes while in office or risk letting the system collapse. AND. WE. LET. THEM. SET. US. UP.
We should have hung those scoundrels from lampposts, but we didn’t.
So now we are faced with the burden of not having done our jobs as watchdogs to keep those damnable foxes out of the hen-house. A penny here a penny there, pretty soon you are facing 16 trillion dollar deficits and maybe a quintillion dollars of unsecured debt buried in doubled bookings.
As I promised the commenters in part 2 and part 4, I will recount a single embarrassing incident that helps explain one way in which those who were financially aware were derailed from pursuing the reform of Social Security. The younger generations need to know of the forces that worked against me and my generation to prevent us leaving them with a huge debt. If this recollection of agitprop is recounted multiple times and in multiple voices by those who, upon reading it, recognize that it happened to them too, we will have a societal lesson that won’t soon be forgotten. It may help them fight off the continuing war on them by the Leftist radicals and the Statists hiding amongst those on the Right.
In the summer of 1994 I attended a public “meet the candidates” forum. It was held in an austere concrete block building on Eagle Rock Boulevard in the L.A. neighborhood known as Atwater. This community center mostly serves the more affluent neighborhood of Glassel Park in the hills immediately above it, but was placed where the land is cheaper. One of the candidates I knew was from GP, and I also discovered that many of the participants were from the even tonier community of Mt Washington (with better vistas) that is on the Eastern slopes of the same hill cluster as GP. Many of L.A.’s elite then lived there behind gates; some still do. (Google terrain will give you a good feel of the layout if you care.)
Inside was a small proscenium stage, empty but for a podium center front. The audience area was filled with neatly arranged folding chairs. The whole arena was fairly well lit, much like a high school gym rather than an auditorium, and even exuded the same sort of mustiness. There was a small open area between the stage and the front row of chairs as one would expect. But it contained a wired microphone in a stand. It looked like it was there to allow participants to ask questions. As events unfolded it turned out that this area was reserved as a forestage.
From the stage the moderator – of whose personage I have no recollection – introduced each of the candidates running in the primaries for elective office and had them come up to speak.
We had candidates for a variety of local seats for the state assembly and senate as well as two democratic candidates for Congress. Well, actually the sitting freshman congressman, Xavier Becerra, was in DC, so he was only represented by his local campaign spokesman. There was a Venezuelan doctor by the name of Oscar Valdez looking to give voters of that Congressional seat a more conservative choice in the primary.
I do not recall exactly how the incident began. So I will fill it in with an educated guess.
When Dr, Valdez was speaking, he spoke of the need to take a more realistic approach in Washington. That the current wave of spending and efforts at bringing us Hillary Care was way outside what was good for the democratic majority. So you can see this guy was definitely playing into what brought about the Gingrich revolution of 1994, and was attempting to moderate the Democratic Party in an effort to reduce the coming loss of Democratic control of Congress. In retrospect, this was quite far-sighted for a Democrat, right?
At some point Dr. Valdez must have said that even Social Security was on a collision course with reality – or some such fact centered on the need to eventually pay the piper argument.
Well, almost immediately members of the audience started to interrupt him. “What are you, some kind of Republican?” “Yeah. Only Republicans attack Social Security.” Things like that. If the term “talking points” were around then, I’m sure they would have accused him of using Republican ones.
The next thing I see, out of nowhere a little old lady appears in the forestage area and starts whining and it’s not too clear what she is saying. The moderator on stage points to someone on the floor and that person gives the lady the microphone from off the stand. And then we hear how she can barely make ends meet now on the little Social Security income she has. That is would be awful to cut her back anymore. Etc., etc, etc.
Several people in the crowd apparently agree with Oscar and tried to say that nobody was looking to cut off current recipients, merely to alter the way Social Security operated and who could expect some portion of it. (And that is still the GOP position even today, same as with Medicare.) I don’t know if anyone used the phrase means testing (I don’t think that phrase either was then current), but it didn’t matter. Any reasonable argument was drowned out by the hooting and howls by the biggest Lefties in the crowd plus the old lady with the microphone who had gone on to sobbing openly in terror.
Well, after a while the moderator called a halt to what I have since become convinced was staged agitprop, and allowed Dr. Valdez to end his moment on stage. (Amazingly enough he got about 25% of the vote in the primary.)
What I witnessed was completely under the control of the stage moderator. As cool under such pressure as anybody you’ve ever seen. And the discussion of the reform of social security, even in that banner year of 1994, was over! Political -correctness, -cowering, -cowardice – whatever you accept as the fact of the matter – had won the day. Who could be so heartless as to terrorize a frail, 75 year old
“But we aren’t threatening her.”
“Shhhhh, Not another word, you hear!”
I was witness to this. I knew the fact of the case about the need to reform SS. And I went along with the silence – as has nearly every conservative I’ve met over the years.
How many of you have been through this? The Glassel Park community center can’t have been the only place this has happened.
You could ask me how I am so certain. Well, also at this meeting was the young Anthony Villaraigosa. He was running for his first time election to the California assembly – unopposed. I only met him as I was leaving. He was wearing a tan suit with pastel yellow shirt and a muted tapestry tie, and couldn’t have been a nicer looking young man. Except he was smiling to beat the band, and that did not yet mean much to me. He would eventually move on to California Assembly Speaker, and (soon to be former)
Very powerful people Pascal? Yes. You see this area of Los Angeles is home to the Northeast Democratic Club. Nobody who is anybody in Democratic circles in California moves on before being blessed by them.
Recall that the community center was on Eagle Rock Boulevard. About two miles to the NE of there is the campus of a private college where a certain president attended for a few years and who has only been vetted by the most radical political members of this country. It’s the site of a major lefty power base.
I suspect that what I witnessed that night in that community center was a command performance of the kind of street theater for which ADA and SDS are notorious. And they performed it in their own backyard for their biggest up and comers to marvel at.
You dear readers can tell me if you also witnessed such stunts. Did you, unlike me, see through the bovine excrement and organize your own group to drown out the PC enforcement squads and Lefty actors?
If not – and I surely would have heard of you if you had – you too share some guilt with letting the Left and the SKUNCs continue spending all the FICA taxes for other programs while borrowing to pay off current retirees. You too are contributing to the chains of your posterity if you accept your full SS retirement “entitlements.”
I’ve come under some heat for taking my current position. Some friends have ceased talking to me out of disagreements that arose as a consequence of my first announcement. It is not easy trying to steer an ethical course when there are so many others who kinda, sorta, feel as I do, but are not ready to admit: “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”
The enemies of and threat to the survival of this republic are all who will steadfastly refuse to cry out “ENOUGH ALREADY.” Yes, the money I’m “entitled to” could be put “to such good use.” There are always people who love money more than principles. That has rarely been me, and I am determined to stick this out. Next month will it will have cost me $6600. And you would like a piece of that would you? However, I’d be using the government to take it from working citizens – perhaps you – to give to me (plus interest on the debt and salaries for the gun-bearers) so I could give a portion back to you. The only ones who win are those out to destroy America! Got it yet?
Yes the money was taken from me under false pretenses. But I knew it. And so did a whole nation-full of you too. I did not get off my butt and gather a lot of like minded folks around me and fight back against the thieves. My penalty – or maybe more accurately my penance – is not allow myself to file for moneys for which I allegedly legally have claim. I understand how the system operates as a form of thievery, leaving a deficit so large that it must destroy our financial foundations; and with it, turn our unique liberties into servitude once again.
Help me fight this. Advertise this idea. Help me advance the understanding of how it was permitted to get so bad and by whom. Help me help the next generation fight the pigs at the top and the as yet unaware takers in my generation.
The point of all the above is that we of the retiring generation have some obligation to those who follow us to help alleviate their burdens. Means testing is not that hard, but full financial collapse is. The radicals on the Left have engineered this in order to destroy our hugely successful society. Review the Cloward-Piven strategy and you know I’m right on that. Force the schemers into the light can come about if just a few of you try to shame the leadership by pointing to my example. Why can’t politicians forego their huge pensions and huge healthcare plans in retirement if a little retired engineer like me is willing to forego his relatively piddling $2200 per month?
President Obama keeps pointing to those making over $250,000 a year as targets for his tax increases. But that is chicken feed compared to what many in Congress and in pseudo-governmental entities like Fannie and Freddie took home and have retained even after the failures of those organizations. Pigs are equal, but some pigs are more equal than others? C’mon folks shame them to the rafters. Make their own people turn on them.
I am sorry I did not write this before the election. Not that this is a big blog with a big following, but I sense it carries some useful information that many on the Right can finally use to derail the Left for a change.
So now Bummer has won reelection and he and the other piggies will try to destroy us for good. It is not too late. Help me spread this shame. Make it stick to them like they deserve.