Sunday, August 14, 2005

Happy 70th Birthday, Social Security!

social security turns 70 this weekend. i truly hope it doesn't live to see 71.

if there’s one thing i would do to improve my family’s finances right now, it would be to nix the social security payment. i’d like to do it right now, and i would if only i could. but of course we can’t do that, because tragically we’re all stuck with this loathsome program. no one seems to want to talk about killing social security, only “fixing it,” or “strengthening it.” not i! i say kill it, and the sooner the better.

i object to social security on so many grounds it’s difficult to organize my thoughts properly. where, o where to begin?

let’s start with the immediate financial impact. my social security “contribution” is a few hundred bucks a month. that’s a car payment. or an IRA contribution-- and an IRA contribution is a REAL contribution-- or an investment in our son’s education fund. or it’s whatever the hell i want it to be. retirement, mortgage, ammunition, cigars, beer: it’s my damn money.

that brings us to the moral objection: it’s my damn money. i earned the pay, and i don’t like part of it being skimmed off to help fill the public trough. (and let’s not kid ourselves. our social security payments go in to the government and right back out again in form of monthly payments to current retirees. talk of a trust fund or an individual’s account is hot air and feces.) no one is born with any obligation to labor for someone else’s benefit, except what he himself decides of his own volition. i thought people who were born with labor obligations were called slaves. Americans do not exist to feed their governments with revenue; they exist to pursue their own lives, as they see fit, according to their own means, period.

then there’s the perversity argument. if i wasn’t compelled by force of law to participate in the system, i wouldn’t need its benefits later in life. every dollar i’m forced to part with today is one dollar i can’t save on my own in what i know are more productive investments. not only could we feed our IRAs, we could knock out a huge part of the mortgage early (thereby alleviating future debt), or secure our son’s education (thereby eliminating future debt), or sock away a big sum for medical problems (thereby solving a problem before it starts). retirement saving and debt relief are mutually supporting actions. social security inhibits my ability to do both.

finally, there’s the money-down-the-sh*tter argument. i’m almost 38. i’ve got fewer than 30 years left before (presumably) i will need to start drawing from a social security account that doesn’t exist. do you think that it’ll be available when i need it? i don’t. so, if that assumption is correct, then the money is in effect being stolen from me. i have to work twice as hard for my future because of an artificially imposed obligation which, apparently, i inherited at birth and now don’t seem to have much control over. how nice.

so if i could, i’d bail out of this wicked ponzi scheme as fast as possible. i’d even buy my way out, 50 cents on the dollar. i’d do it to secure my family’s future, and to avoid being a burden on future workers. if given the choice between being part of the problem and part of the solution, i’ll be part of the solution every time. let’s drop the mandatory participation, free new workers from the shackles of bondage, and transfer the obligations to the general budget. it’ll hurt, but it’ll teach us a lesson about entitlement programs.

so here’s to a social security funeral next year, not another birthday


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