Sav­ing So­cial Se­cu­rity on the backs of tax­pay­ers

Politi­cians who squan­dered the na­tion’s trea­sure should sac­ri­fice first

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Tammy Bruce

When politi­cians in­sist on “re­form­ing” some pro­gram they mis­man­aged and de­stroyed, they al­ways turn to the av­er­age Amer­i­can and begin ex­plain­ing the “sac­ri­fice” we have to make in or­der to save it. It never oc­curs to th­ese peo­ple, the oh-so clubby, in­cred­i­bly wealthy po­lit­i­cal elite, that they should be the first cadre to sac­ri­fice fi­nan­cially for the “greater good” they keep telling us about.

Case in point: So­cial Se­cu­rity was back in the news last week when New Jer­sey Gov. (and pos­si­ble 2016 GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date) Chris Christie blovi­ated about his com­mit­ment to telling peo­ple “hard truths” and then an­nounced his ideas to “re­form” So­cial Se­cu­rity.

Mr. Christie’s pro­posal in­volves rais­ing the re­tire­ment age from 67 to 69 years of age, and es­tab­lish­ing means-testing, which would limit benefits for re­tirees with an in­come of more than $80,000 a year and elim­i­nate them en­tirely for any­one who makes over $200,000 a year.

The idea of a means test in it­self im­plies that the gov­ern­ment, and its care­giver politi­cians, can di­vine how much money ev­ery in­di­vid­ual needs to live their lives. Or, even more dan­ger­ously, it would set the prece­dent that gov­ern­ment will de­cide how much money you “need.”

So­cial Se­cu­rity needs re­form­ing be­cause, as USA To­day re­ports, trustees in charge of the So­cial Se­cu­rity Trust Fund say it will run dry in 2033. There is some­thing that needs to be fixed: It’s a fed­eral regime that is ad­dicted to spend­ing and fix­ated on re­duc­ing the av­er­age Amer­i­can to mere money gen­er­a­tors for the fed­eral ma­chine.

The Amer­i­can peo­ple were sold on the lie that there’s a “So­cial Se­cu­rity Trust Fund” col­lect­ing the taxes paid for re­tire­ment benefits. Now we’re told we re­ceive pay­ments from a younger set of work­ers, pay­ing as we go. Much like a clas­sic pyra­mid scheme, you pay in and the feds use your taxes to pay some­one else who got dragged into the scheme ear­lier than you. And now they sanc­ti­mo­niously tell you how much you have to give up to keep the plot go­ing.

The fact of the mat­ter is each of us leads a dif­fer­ent life. Af­ter the fi­nan­cial col­lapse of 2007-08, brought to us by the same po­lit­i­cal bo­zos who are al­ways try­ing to fix their fi­nan­cial dis­as­ters on our backs, Amer­i­cans lost al­most ev­ery­thing. We lost our homes. Mort­gages were un­der­wa­ter. Re­tire­ment ac­counts were gone. Lives built for decades came crash­ing to a halt, with fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als los­ing most, if not ev­ery­thing, they had worked for all their lives.

And now politi­cians are declar­ing how much money is enough for you to make be­fore they de­cide to take away So­cial Se­cu­rity benefits? Not un­der our watch.

Wealth is rel­a­tive, and none of us should en­able the gov­ern­ment to de­clare what it is that any­one needs, or doesn’t need, fi­nan­cially or oth­er­wise. It’s that sim­ple.

Fo­ment­ing a lit­tle per­ceived eco­nomic class war­fare has al­ways been the friend of tyran­ni­cal regimes. Af­ter all, it keeps you dis­tracted from notic­ing there is an­other an­swer to solv­ing a na­tional fi­nan­cial prob­lem: hold­ing those re­spon­si­ble for it accountable.

If we are go­ing to start means-testing to save So­cial Se­cu­rity from ruin, let’s start by hav­ing politi­cians and bu­reau­crats be the first to sac­ri­fice. Let’s im­ple­ment means-testing for the man­agers of the mon­ster in Wash­ing­ton, and if they don’t fall un­der ar­bi­trary level of in­come, then their pen­sions should be sent into an ac­tual fund to save So­cial Se­cu­rity.

Politico re­ports for­mer IRS of­fi­cial Lois Lerner, now in­fa­mous for tak­ing the 5th Amend­ment in front of Congress, is re­ceiv­ing a $100,000 an­nual pen­sion from the gov­ern­ment. Shouldn’t we means-test Ms. Lerner? All the sen­a­tors we fired last year dur­ing the midterms are tak­ing home healthy pen­sions as well. Kay Ha­gan, as an ex­am­ple, de­feated in the midterm, will re­ceive more than $1,000 ev­ery month for the rest of her life sim­ply for serv­ing one term in the U.S. Se­nate. Does she “need” that? We should find out, no?

McClatchy D.C. re­ports Demo­cratic Rep. Ge­orge Miller of Cal­i­for­nia will be el­i­gi­ble for an an­nual pen­sion of $125,500. Repub­li­can Sen. Saxby Cham­b­liss of Ge­or­gia will re­tire af­ter 20 years, qual­i­fy­ing for a yearly pen­sion of $53,000.

The pres­i­dent of the United States re­ceives a pen­sion equal to the salary of Cabi­net of­fi­cials, which is cur­rently $191,000 a year. Pres­i­dents th­ese days leave the of­fice wealth­ier than when they en­tered, and in “re­tire­ment” they make mil­lions in the pri­vate sec­tor. When Mr. Obama leaves of­fice he will re­ceive $191,000 ev­ery year for the rest of his life, af­ter spend­ing eight years destroying the na­tion fi­nan­cially.

And peo­ple won­der why we look funny at politi­cians who keep telling us we have to sac­ri­fice for the greater good.

In the mean­time, The Wash­ing­ton Times re­ported last week the Obama “ad­min­is­tra­tion has granted about 541,000 So­cial Se­cu­rity num­bers to il­le­gal im­mi­grants un­der Pres­i­dent Obama’s orig­i­nal 2012 de­por­ta­tion amnesty for Dream­ers, of­fi­cials told Congress in a let­ter made public ... .” Yes, a brand-new level on the So­cial Se­cu­rity pyra­mid scheme is be­ing ush­ered in. All so the feds can pre­tend big gov­ern­ment and mas­sive re­dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth works just fine. Bernie Mad­off would be proud. Tammy Bruce is a ra­dio talk show host, au­thor and Fox News con­trib­u­tor.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY ALEXANDER HUNTER/THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

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