Social Security isn’t entitlement and it isn’t an open gift to the government. It’s my money, taken by force out of my paycheck starting with my very first job in 1983. The government thugs who raided the fund in the first place should repay what they stole or go to jail, just like any other thieves.
Yes, all of them.
But who are they? Are they even still here? Well, that’s an interesting question. It requires some major fishing into the dark depths of history. Head all the way back to 1983 with me. That’s where it started.
Maybe you weren’t paying attention. I was, because I was receiving Social Security benefits as a teenager, thanks to the disability and early death of my mother. And here’s where it all began. With Ronald Reagan.
But not really. Actually, it’s Alan Greenspan who did the dirty work here. Reagan just signed off on the bill. Like the boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark, it’s going to crush all of us unless we figure out a way to get out of the way.
What follows is a bunch of link sausage. A lot of these links are thick with details that may seem unnecessary, but trust me, they build my case that this is, and has been, the whole goal of the GOP, ever since Reagan’s election. And with all that hindsight, it’s clear we’re getting screwed. And we’re not even getting the courtesy of a thank you or a payment for services rendered.
See, from my perspective, it started when Reagan decided that survivor benefits could be cut. First direct cut into my direct benefits as a college student. Forced me to get a student loan for my first year in college. Lucky for me, my grandfather was in a position to help with tuition, after he buried my mother.
From the first article, at FedSmith.com: Ronald Reagan and The Great Social Security Heist, some choice selections for the TL;DR crowd:
Instead of being a proud day for America, April 20, 1983, has become a day of shame. The Social Security Amendments of 1983 laid the foundation for 30-years of federal embezzlement of Social Security money in order to use the money to pay for wars, tax cuts and other government programs. The payroll tax hike of 1983 generated a total of $2.7 trillion in surplus Social Security revenue. This surplus revenue was supposed to be saved and invested in marketable U.S. Treasury bonds that would be held in the trust fund until the baby boomers began to retire in about 2010. But not one dime of that money went to Social Security.
The $2.7 trillion, which is alleged to be in the trust fund, was all spent for wars, tax cuts for the rich, and other government programs. If the money is repaid at some point in the future, we could say is was just “borrowed.” But no arrangements have been made to repay the money, and nobody in government is suggesting that the money should be repaid. So, if it is never repaid, the money will definitely have been stolen.
And that brings us to Iran-Contra, G.H.W. Bush, and Black Monday.
Black Monday? Yeah. Stock market crash. Under Reagan’s watch. Tied to a small oil problem with OPEC. Funny thing, the Bush family is deep into oil. So, we put an oil man in the White House.
And what happens then?
Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Fortunately for us, Bush fails to gain a second term. We have eight years of Bill Clinton’s administration, where we try to gain back some of the momentum, but we overbalance, and suddenly the GOP take the House. Hello, Contract With America. Goodbye cooperation in the House and Senate. For good and all, it seems in hindsight. And hello to the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
Another bubble, and then Enron, and suddenly the SEC is all over accountability. Finger pointing…goes nowhere. To be sure, it’s a problem, but soon forgotten in the post-election sorting out, 9/11 and infighting that comes out of the election, which put G.W. Bush in office. And like magic, the solvency of the Social Security Fund was an issue.
NPR: Bush Questions Solvency of Social Security Trust
Now to be sure, I’ve skipped hundreds of small details to get to this point, but I wanted you to have some background. What follows is essentially link sausage, but it all points to one thing: The GOP want you to pull your money out of what ought to be a stable financial environment and trust THEM to keep your money for you while you age.
So if you want some stomach-churning reading material, click away.
The Huffington Post: 7 Ways The Bush Tax Cuts Wrecked The Economy
The Hill: Scrapping the Social Security payroll tax cap
This. This is what we are fighting in the government. Were you born before 1965?
You’re going to see the hit, unless you die of cancer or heart disease first. Which is entirely possible if the GOP get their way and make the death…I mean health industry private for everyone.
With an entire subsequent generation in jail or jobless, and wages that are virtually unchanged in 30 years, we are indeed in a pickle, but it’s one we could have avoided if we’d managed to keep the greedy bastards from getting their hands on that money. MY money. YOUR money.
This is a disaster that could have been avoided.
How? By stopping these people from bankrolling the deception and the lies.
The Atlantic: A Guide to the Billionaires Bankrolling the GOP Candidates
Chew on this: How much have you heard the big buzz that privatization of social security is the only way to save it?
What does that mean? Pushing everyone to purchase stock, either outright or in funds.
Have you been paying attention to Wall Street this week? In just two days, my teeny tiny IRA has lost a third of its value, on three stocks. I’m not sharing which because that info’s irrelevant. Suffice to say, if I’d tossed the money into an index fund, there’d be even less. I might as well have invested the entire amount in PowerBall lottery tickets.
Welcome to the latest bubble. Tied to the sudden drop of oil.
And thank your stars the GOP hasn’t yet gotten its way, because if they had, many of you who might depend on Social Security for at least some of your income could be SOL right now.
Buy low, huh? Yeah.
Daily Finance: With Oil Prices So Low, Are Oil Stocks a Good Investment?
So, how long do you think it will take for oil prices to rocket skyward if the GOP takes the White House? Four months? Two?
And in the meantime, I hope your retirement fund, that IRA or 401(K) of yours survives. Because without that and your precious Social Security and Medicaid, you, my friend, are screwed.
This is what’s at stake with the coming election. Bernie Sanders knows it. So does Elizabeth Warren.