Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stealing Social Security

My 401-K holder, Vanguard, sent me a cheery newsletter last week. They had an interview with an "expert" on Social Security. It was a question-answer format.

So, someone asked, what about the money that baby boomers have put into Social Security? Oh, she replied, causally, that is almost $2,000,000,000,000. But it's gone. The government spent it. She had some helpful suggestions for us- 1) Work until we're 70 or 75. 2) Stay healthy, so we don't need medical care. 3) Put lots of money in our 401-Ks. (How self serving is that?)

Two trillion dollars stolen, and we're supposed to say say, oh well? When the evil Reagan was president and started the tax cuts for the rich, coupled with massive deficit spending, that has been carried on and topped by the evil Bush, we baby boomers, then young whippersnappers, were told that there were too many of us, that our children wouldn't be able to pay for us when our time came. Up until then Social Security was paid to each retired generation by the generation then working. No problem. Reagan and Greenspan told us that we were too many to do that, that our generation would have to prepay our retirement. And our generation only.

So, since 1984, we have paid trillions more than was needed for our parents. This was supposed to go into a "trust fund". Then we would use it for our retirement, and when we were gone, it would go back to each generation paying for the previous generation.

Now they tell us that there isn't enough money to last past 2041. So? Most baby boomers will be dead by then. So they tell us that we can't have any of our money because it might run out? That's what it was supposed to do!

And just announcing that it was spent? (i.e. stolen). And that we have no right to it, because it was stolen? What kind of statement is that? If you borrowed a million dollars from a bank, and then when it came time to pay it back, announced that you had spent it, and you suggest that the bank make up for it by staying open on Sundays and holidays, because you didn't have it anymore, what do you think would happen?

Only the working poor pay full Social Security. If you make more than $75,000, you don't pay Social Security on any amount above that. That's ridiculous. Originally, only the rich paid income taxes. Now, the rich pay very little, and only the poor pay full Social Security. And then they want us to take what's left of our paycheck and give it to the stockbrokers who run our 401Ks. Vanguard sends me a letter every year recommending that I give a higher percent of my income to them. They recommend 20% or more. That's worse than churches.

I wonder if anyone actually falls for that. Probably. Won't they be surprised when the economy collapses and their retirement funds are gone. But Vanguard said that it would be a million dollars by the time I retired! You mean they lied? What a shock.

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