The Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, gave a speech on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, in which he proposed, among other things, raising the retirement age from 67 to 69. He stated that, “We should remember that Social Security at its core should be retirement insurance. I’m suggesting that Americans pay into the system throughout the course of their life, knowing that it will be there, if they need it, to support them in their later years, so seniors will not grow old in back-breaking poverty. But, if you are fortunate enough not to need it, you will have paid into a system that will continue to help Americans, neighbors, friends, who need it the most…. It is fair, and it is what we must continue to do. We can only do that by changing Social Security.” http://www.wsj.com/articles/christie-to-call-for-raising-age-for-social-security-cutting-benefit-for-some-seniors-1429018212
According to our government’s website, “The Social Security Act was signed by FDR on 8/14/35. Taxes were collected for the first time in January 1937 and the first one-time, lump-sum payments were made that same month. Regular ongoing monthly benefits started in January 1940.” It is important to note that it is a TAX, not an insurance premium, and it is not an insurance program.
Is this a communistic issue of “fairness” or is it an issue of out-of-control welfare and government spending? Perhaps we should remind the governor that the Social Security Act of 1935 was just a retirement program that only paid benefits to the primary worker. According to their website, “a 1939 change in the law added survivors’ benefits and benefits for the retiree’s spouse and children. In 1956 disability benefits were added….The original law contained the first national unemployment compensation program, aid to states for various health and welfare programs, and the Aid to Dependent Children program.”
My question to Governor Christie would be, before we start talking confiscation of retirement benefits, shouldn’t the law be changed by legal venues? When did Social Security suddenly become an optional insurance program for which we can select to pay premiums or opt-out? As a matter of fact, Social Security is mandatory, people are forced by law to contribute into Social Security 6.2 percent and employers also contribute 6.2 percent per employee. Furthermore, Social Security benefits are taxed again. The premise of FDR’s law was that, if nanny government did not step in, Americans were too stupid or apathetic to invest their own money to help them survive in old age. http://www.ssa.gov/history/hfaq.html
And who decides which Americans need it the most and what is the criteria? How far of a stretch will be before the smart government bureaucrats like Christie decide that your savings in the bank are not really useful to you, you must give them up to the needier and unfortunate who have made bad choices in life and wound up poor, downtrodden, and addicted to drugs. Taking it a bit further, how much of a stretch is it for the same omnipotent government to step in and decide for you that your home has too many empty bedrooms, or too much space and thus must be confiscated and occupied by poor illegal aliens who have lots of kids and are in need of space. After all, in the Marxist ideology, it is only fair and social justice to confiscate wealth and other people’s money and possessions in order to give to the community and especially to the communist party elites and apparatchiks. It has certainly happened in all the former Iron Curtain countries where everybody lost everything they owned to government confiscation, redistribution, and social engineering.
Governor Christie continued, “So, let’s ask ourselves the question, do we really believe that the wealthiest Americans need to take from younger, hard-working Americans, to receive what, for most of them, is a modest monthly Social Security check? I say no. And I propose a modest means-test that only affects those with non-Social Security income of over $80,000 a year and phase out Social Security payment entirely for those that have $200,000 a year in retirement income. Think about how much money you have to have.”
The argument is insulting and wrong. Who is to decide what I have to have? What if my needs change due to illness? Is $80,000 a year going to be enough? Nursing home care, in-home care, drugs, and medical care are very expensive. Inflation and economic policies have sky-rocketed the price of many goods and services. This arbitrary amount may not buy as much as it used to since the cost of living has escalated.
Social Security is a tax, it is no insurance and we pay taxes even on Social Security income. People are forced to take Medicare at 65 and pay expensive insurance plans for drugs, hospital, and doctors.
How about the Social Security lock box that has been robbed long time ago by politicians who spent our money with compunction? We were told that it is our money to have upon retirement at the age of 65. There is a reason why the Social Security Administration keeps accurate records of each individual’s contribution made throughout his/her employment life in order to determine the amount of annual benefit. That is an earned entitlement.
Go to a Social Security office in northern Virginia and it is overrun with illegal aliens who do not speak English. How long have these people, who are mostly young, have been paying into Social Security? What right do they have to draw Social Security benefits that were reserved and paid for by American citizens?
Christie makes the Marxist argument that people should draw benefits according to the slogan made popular by Karl Marx, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” the German version, “Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen,” expressing the idea that communism will make enough goods and services that would meet and fulfill everyone’s needs.
This is outrageous in itself. Anybody who lived under communism can attest to the fact that the economy was plagued by chronic shortages and people were deprived of basics, suffered daily, lost weight, were anemic, malnourished, even starved to death. People are also familiar with the Jamestown experiment in communism when everyone worked the land collectively but received an equal share of the crop. Some worked harder, some were slackers. The colony of settlers almost starved to death. The following year, they reverted to individual plots of land and production flourished.
Marx made famous the phrase, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” but he perhaps borrowed it from Louis Blanc who used it in 1839, an idea attributed to the Frenchman Etienne-Gabriel Morelly who wrote in 1755 a bizarre work, Code of Nature.
Under the heading, Sacred and Fundamental Laws that would tear out the roots of vice and of all the evils of society, Morelly wrote:
“I. Nothing in society will belong to anyone, either as a personal possession or as capital goods, except the things for which the person has immediate use, for either his needs, his pleasures, or his daily work.
II. Every citizen will be a public man, sustained by, supported by, and occupied at the public expense.
III. Every citizen will make his particular contribution to the activities of the community according to his capacity, his talent and his age; it is on this basis that his duties will be determined, in conformity with the distributive laws.” https://www.marxists.org/subject/utopian/morelly/code-nature.htm
What happens when a retiree passes on? His/her Social Security benefits revert back to the government if they are not married at the time. If a person were allowed to invest their money into private retirement funds, the money would revert back to the heirs and, even after paying inheritance tax, there will still be potential money left over.
Like Christie, we also “believe in the dignity of work,” but we must send young, able-bodied welfare recipients and illegal aliens to work for their unearned and generous benefits instead of sending them Social Security checks every month, while expecting those who paid into the system to have benefits reduced or confiscated altogether. If a well-off retiree chooses to donate his/her benefits, that is a different story. But forcing them to give up their benefits is Marxist confiscation and forced redistribution of wealth.
No matter how you look at what Governor Christie proposes in regards to entitlements, a progressive term that implies that anyone who receives any form of Social Security is entitled to it, regardless of whether they paid into Social Security or not, smacks of more wealth redistribution decided by greedy politicians who have already spent the supposed Social Security lockbox and threw away the key. If anything needs cutting or confiscating is the politicians’ power and insatiable desire to spend the taxpayers’ money.
Copyright: Ileana Johnson 2015