Reform or Repeal Social Security

March 10, 2008
One of the most important domestic topics today in Washington is Social Security. There are many “want- to- be” solutions to Social Security but reform and repeal are the most commonly heard of solutions. After much research I believe Social Security should be repealed and I have discovered that I believe this after much needed research. I always knew that taxes came out of my checks, including Social Security tax but I never knew there might not be Social Security to protect me from hunger and homelessness one day. It is not proven that it won’t be around in 50 years, but there is a debate on whether to reform now and save it from being destroyed by itself or to repeal and form individual retirement plans for everyone in America. The question is, do we reform or repeal Social Security.

As I said, I believe it should be repealed and many other people support that too, such as Doug Bandow. In his article “Repealing not Reforming, Social Security, Part I,” Bandow argues that everyone in the nation’s capital is for a balanced national budget and not for repealing Social Security. Bandow supports his assertion by stating that politicians preaching a balanced budget want us to believe that the budget can be balanced without touching Social Security. Bandow’s purpose is to inform those who are younger and will be most affected by the decision of repealing or reforming Social Security. Bandow establishes an informal relationship with his audience of Americans who are going to be dependent on Social Security.

I agree with Bandow, I agree that the nation’s capital wants a balanced national budget but I don’t think they are willing to do something about Social Security because they have known this was going to be a problem a while back. It has been one of the main arguments in many political debates and yet there is still an unresolved problem with Social Security.

Then in the article “The Point is Ownership” written by Michael Tanner, the director of CATO Institute’s Project on Social Security Choice and editor of “Social Security and Its discontents: Persepectives on Choice”, published on January 20, 2005, Tanner argues that “while solvency is important, the goal of Social Security reform should be more than to just balance the books.” He supports his argument by saying “we should try to provide workers with the best possible retirement options and this involves giving them more control and ownership of their retirement funds.”

I also agree with Tanner, we should try and provide our workers with the best retirement plans we can offer. Some people work hard for their money and there is no guarantee they will receive benefits for the help they have supplied to fellow Americans. My generation will be paying for our teachers’, grandparents’, and our own parents’ retirement through Social Security taxes. That’s how it has worked up to this day, and as the life span gets longer and longer, less and less people will be supplying money for the people retiring, especially the baby boomers. They are beginning to retire and fewer workers will be supporting them than were supporting others before them. President Bush said himself on February 10, 2005 that "In 1950, there were 16 workers per one putting money into the system—which means that when somebody retired, there's 16 workers contributing to that person's retirement. Today there's 3.3 workers contributing for each beneficiary. And when youngsters retire, it's going to be 2.1—two workers per beneficiary. In other words, the burden of paying for retirees is increasing on workers."( Spriggs and Price)

“The President is right that our society has changed in many important ways since Social Security began in 1935 and that people are living longer in retirement. But he is wrong about what that means for Social Security, because he ignores the fact that people have also become much more productive at work, which translates into more income to support those too young or too old for the workforce. He also ignores the fact that the elderly are, and will remain, a relatively small share of the total population. When the number of children and working-age people are brought into the picture, the total population change presents an entirely manageable additional burden in coming decades” (Spriggs and Price).

I believe Spriggs and Price are right. The President is right when he says that people are living longer in retirement, but he is wrong, to me, when he ignores that people have become more productive at work which means more money is coming in to support those who cannot be in the workforce.

There is a myth that workers have rights to Social Security benefits. The shock is that we, as working Americans, who are taxed, don’t have the right to the money taken out of our checks. We pay into Social Security all our working lives and assume we are entitled to the money we are taxed. We assume wrong. In the court cases Flemming vs. Nestor and Helvering vs. Davis the US Supreme court ruled the workers have no rights to receive benefits. Congress and the President can change, reduce and even eliminate benefits if they want to (Tanner).

This enrages me to know that money is coming out of my check that I worked for and earned and the government says I don’t have rights to it. That is insane. We are being ripped off, and blindly so. I am proud to help my fellow Americans with their struggles, but when it comes to me and when I need help and the government says that even though I helped my fellow Americans they can’t help me. Just knowing I have no rights to benefits should be enough for anybody to stand up and say “hey, you are ripping me off and something should be changed.”

Two of my favorite quotes are one from the Constitution of the United States of America and the Declaration of Independence. The first is, “we the people of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. The second being, “ We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, government are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.” Those two quotes handed down by our forefathers give us the right to change things we feel we need to change. It also gives us the power to give the government powers. It is as it says “We the People”.

Also “since workers do not own the money they put into Social Security they are unable to pass on their inherited retirement savings to heirs. No matter how much is paid the benefits reduce after death and expire with the spouse’s death. Both issues would be resolved with individual accounts” because it gives legal rights (Tanner).

Then there is the 6.2 percent solution. In the article “The 6.2 Solution: A Plan for Reforming Social Security,” Tanner asserts that “individuals would be allowed to divert their half (6.2 percentage points) of the payroll tax to individually owned, privately invested accounts and those who do chose to do so would agree to forgo all future accrual of retirement benefits under traditional Social Security systems. Tanner further asserts that the remaining 6.2 percentage points of payroll taxes would be used to pay transition cost and to fund disability and survivors’ benefits. Also Tanner argues that workers who chose the individual account option would receive a “recognition bond” based on the accrued value of their lifetime to-date benefits. Those bonds, redeemable at the workers retirement, would be fully tradable in the traditional secondary markets and those who wish to remain in the traditional Social Security system would be free to do so, accepting a level of benefits payable with the current level of revenue.”

I agree with Tanner again, because I believe that with individual accounts, the government wouldn’t have to worry about putting out more money in Social Security than what is being put in by taxpayers. If we are having issues with Social Security now who is to say we won’t in 50 years when I retire? I think there is a big problem with Social Security and it should be done away with before somebody unable to work and support themselves becomes the next victim to a government issue we should be protecting us from. Money isn’t to be played with, especially hard earned money. It’s my money and your money, we earned it and we should get it when we retire. I am not for doing away with the whole governmental control. There are people who would spend their money and would be left homeless and broke. That would just be another issue because Americans standards of living are so high and would they blow their money, leaving them broke when they retired.

So what are we as citizens going to do to fix our Social Security issue? We need a public outcry before anything will be done. They say one person cannot change the world but one person can influence many others. We need to stand up for what we want and let it be known we won’t be pushed around. Individual accounts will not cost more money in the long run. They believe now that in the next few years that the government will be spending more money on Social Security beneficiaries then what they receive from taxes for Social Security beneficiaries. I just don’t want to be left homeless and poor when I am out of the workforce and need someone to help support me. I don’t want to be dependent on someone else or something when I can use my own hard-earned money that Social Security may not be able to provide.

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