I want to dwell on the absolute irony of this political play. Here we are a nation without a budget—something we have not had since Obama took office because he is loath to give up the use of continuing resolutions, which, in effect, is like having an open checkbook. The Obama administration cannot and will not submit a budget proposal that even members of Obama’s own party in Congress can get behind. Instead, every three to six months we must go through this political drama where the president predictably goes around scaring the hell out of the old folks dependent on their Social Security checks. You might say that it is par for the course with him. (A little golf joke there.)
Nevertheless—and despite using Social Security to frighten his constituents—the truth is Social Security is in financial trouble and has been for quite a while now. You see, back in the 1960’s, the Johnson administration conjured up legislation to do away with any excess funds lying about in the U.S. Treasury. This unfortunately included that little lockbox with all the Social Security funds that had accumulated since FDR first initiated the program.. LBJ used these dormant funds to help pay for his Great Society, his War on Poverty, and the accumulating debt incurred by the ongoing Vietnam conflict. Rather than borrow money on the open market, the government could simply borrow it from Social Security and make out an I.O.U. to the taxpayers. After accomplishing that feat the first time, it became easier and easier to do. And, like anything you get away with once, you feel compelled to repeat the offense until you get caught.
LBJ’s habit of dipping into Social Security to fund programs and conflicts has continued through successive presidential administrations right on up to the present. It did not take long before all the accumulated funds were exhausted and the borrowing was then taken against projected future payments into the program—an excuse to print money. At the same time, no effort was being made to repay any of the prior borrowing and, if any interest was paid on the outstanding debt, that too was simply borrowed, again leaving another pile of I.O.U’s. Today, because of the unfettered borrowing of the government, Social Security is insolvent and resembles nothing less than the largest Ponzi scheme ever perpetrated on the American people. If borrowing the funds with no plan for repayment was not devastating enough, along came Jimmy Carter who decided that any immigrant entering the USA and remaining could obtain Social Security upon reaching the age of 65, without having paid one dime into the program. If you are an American citizen and you have not worked and paid into the program, you are not eligible to receive a penny. Sounds fair, huh? Carter seemed to think so.
One would need an immense ledger to tally all the borrowing from Social Security that has taken place under both parties. On the other hand, one could record any repayments to the fund using the space on the shank of a toothpick. Repayment is not a reality of this world! Instead, politicians on both sides of the aisle today have conveniently swept Social Security into the welfare bargain bin along with any other “entitlement.” Even though you worked and the government automatically took Social Security deductions out of every paycheck, it is framed as if it is something the government provides to you out of the goodness of its heart. By creating this mindset, it is much easier for the politician to tell you that Social Security is broken and that the government can no longer afford to pay it. Once that step has been taken, the theft will be complete.
This time, Obama demanded that Congress raise the debt ceiling and provide him with the funds he needs to operate on yet another continuing resolution. With his usual desire to have things his way and only his way, he threw a petulant tantrum and threatened to veto a Defense funding bill that would have given our military personnel a small pay raise unless an equal amount of funding was provided for social welfare programs that foster fairness and equality. Basking in the pleasure of once again blaming the Republicans for causing the whole fiasco, Mr. Obama pointed out that a government shutdown could cause a delay in processing Social Security payments.
The Republicans are so stupid they actually believed they could be blamed, so they caved like a bunch of spineless twits. They needed $150 billion to make the equation work, but where could they get it? That’s right! They immediately turn to the trusty old standby, Social Security. But by now there are only cobwebs and aged I.O.U.s in the lockbox. Still, the specter of Social Security checks not arriving allows them to borrow money—actually, to conveniently print the money and throw it into circulation. Problem solved! Debt ceiling crisis avoided! Social Security checks will go out! Everybody’s a winner! Ya think?
The irony here is that Obama used fear mongering about Social Security to incite the citizenry against a Congress indisposed to giving him the money that he was demanding. Congress, in turn, did not have the fortitude to stand up and do the right thing for fear that they would pay the price come next election cycle. Consequently, they decided to calm the Social Security fears and concede to the president by once again reaching into the Social Security funds for a loan. How ironic is that? How stupid can we be? Heck, how stupid do we look to these people? Duh!
Anyone in the USA today who plans on there being a shred of this country left for their children and generations beyond to appreciate better wake up and smell the coffee. With our government’s proclivity to spend spend spend what it does not have, we have finally come to the point where Social Security is apparently both the problem and the solution. If you told anyone that, they would tell you that you are crazy and take you off to the asylum. And that’s where we are.
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