SOCIAL SECURITY DILEMMA
By Jon Christian Ryter
January 4, 2006
The Flim-Flam Sham & Why Bush Needs to Have Guest Workers
Take a close look at the guy or gal riding next to you on the commuter train tomorrow morning. Don't take a train? How about the subway? How about the bus? Or the car next to you, inching along the freeway slow enough that the guy in the Beemer next to you can shave and not risk an accident. Or the gal in the PT Cruiser on the other side who can deftly apply eyeliner, mascara and lipstick as her car crawls forward one agonizing inch at a time. Or the guy—or gal—in the SUV behind you (whom you can't see because their face is buried in the morning's newspaper as they drive). What color is their hair? Or rather, how old are they? How many of them, do you suppose, are "baby boomers?" The upside is that, in a year or two, they will join the ranks of the retired and won't be crowding your highway each morning. The downside is their Social Security benefits will come almost directly out of your paycheck—you and 2.3 other commuters who will support each one of them.
The odds are about one in six that the commuter next to you is a baby boomer—born during or just after World War II—between 1941 to 1946. There are some 18 million of them—men and women who will begin to retire in 2006. Over this decade 27 million people will join the current recipients in the Social Security parade. While they won't be eligible for reduced earnings from Social Security until they reach age 62—and full benefits when they reach 65, 66 or 67, many of them have company pensions that can be exercised after 20, 25 or 30 years of service even if they are only 55 years old. So waiting on that first Social Security check does not necessarily determine when they say good-bye to the nine-to-five, or take the gold watch and leave the factory swing shift forever.
Today, most of those high paying union jobs with the unbelievable fringe benefits—along with the companies that were forced by the unions to pay them are in Mexico, Pakistan or China, with Mickey-D paychecks—without the fringes—just like the latest job movers like Hewlett-Packard, Eastman Kodak, and Kimberly Clark who recently announced plant closings and job cutbacks in the United States. Since none of them expect to be courting American labor in the future, each of them have announced major changes in their American pension plans.
In announcing plant closures in the United States, Hewlett-Packard added that they would no longer contribute to the pension plans of its American employees. When Eastman-Kodak, which posted a $146 million loss during its second quarter, shed 25 thousand American jobs it also shed the dead weight of funding its pension plan. Kimberly-Clark, maker of Kleenex, is doing the same thing. Kimberly-Clark downsizing cost 30,500 American jobs and $775 million in severance packages. They also converted their retirement program to a contributory 401K which means their contributory participation will be minimal—if at all.
By midyear, 2005, 5.01% of the American work force was without a job. And even though new job growth exceeded job losses, it was clear to the Bush Administration that even if the job drain was somehow plugged for the next five years and job growth continued at the same rate, we still won't produce enough new wage-earners to offset the drain on Social Security from payments to the new retirees—nor the benefits that would be paid for prescription drug coverage for the elderly. Adding 27 million new Social Security and Medicare recipients over the next five years will turn the Minutemen's worst bad dream into a George Bush version of Freddy Krueger's Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue.
By 2010, 13% of the American population will be eligible for Social Security and Medicare. By 2010, 17% of the population will be eligible. By 2030 that number will grow to 20% and by 2050, that number will reach 21.75%. And while Social Security Commissioner JoAnn Barnhart noted that a "trust fund" of $1.7 trillion exists to cover the benefits being paid to retirees, in point of fact the program that supports today's retirees requires today's workers to pay for today's beneficiaries. With a $1.7 trillion trust fund to pay the benefits of recipients, why would today's payroll deductions be needed to support today's benefits? Because the trust fund doesn't exist—except in the form of IOUs the government can't cash.
The $1.7 trillion nest egg that would have guaranteed the solvency of Social Security well into the 22nd century was squandered by Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society that created a generational pool of Democratic voters who where chained to the feeding trough of the State—in precisely the same way their ancestors were chained to the hulls of slaver ships that brought them from the Dark Continent to the tobacco and cotton plantations of the American south and the vast agricultural estates of the Caribbean basin. Black America became the chattel of the white labor bosses and African American civil right hucksters—the ancestors of the same Democrats who bought their great-great-grandparents in the slave markets of Atlanta, New Orleans, New York and Baltimore. For a monthly stipend, Black America agreed to trade their votes—and their liberty—for the lies of the Party and a handout from the State, living in poverty while generations of immigrants from Europe and Asia came and flourished, and experienced the fullness of the American dream that was denied to the voter chattel that kept the Democrats in power for almost a hundred years as they wasted the trust fund of the elderly.
Today, as Congress lies to the American people about how "secure" the nonexistent Social Security trust fund is, the politicians on Capitol Hill continue to play the shim-sham shell game with what's left of our retirement incomes in order to conceal from the people the stealth programs they have implemented to hide the theft of our money. Today, to conceal the fact that the piggy bank is empty, Congress has engaged in a new shell game to conceal the theft.
When Social Security was enacted, your benefits were based on the average income of five of the last ten years you worked. You, theoretically, could select the years that would be counted. In other words, if your income "slipped" due to age or health problems in the last two or three years before you became fully vested, you could skip those years and have your benefits pegged on five consecutive years in the middle of the ten year period. That would allow you to maximize your benefit potential.
Today, your benefits are based on your average income over your entire work history—up to 35 years. Since your "top earning period" is generally not more than 10 or 15 years, and sometimes as few as 5 years, its obvious that Congress expanded the number of years from which benefits are computed to lower the gross amount from which benefits are calculated, thus greatly diminishing the monthly benefits that would be paid to the worker upon retirement. As this sleight of hand was being manipulated, Congressmen and Senators were assuring the American people that the politicians would never reduce the benefits already earned by the American taxpayer. What Congress did here was no different than what Enron or World.com did—they stole benefits already earned by the taxpayer.
Like Humpty Dumpty, Congress can't put this one back together again. Nevertheless, the Democrats have convinced America that just a little tinkering—like higher taxes, or lowering everyone's benefits, or making taxpayers work a few years longer—would fix it. Congress should know better since they've already done all three of them. If you were born before 1937, you qualified as "fully eligible" for benefits at age 65. If you were born from 1943 to 1954, you qualify for full benefits at age 66. If you were born in 1960 or later, you will not be eligible for full benefits—which of course, were calculated over 35 years instead of your 5 best years, would be less—until age 67. Congress—with the blessing of their public advocacy spokesman, AARP, has been considering legislation to postpone full retirement age until age 70.
AARP promotes itself as the senior's advocate. Strip off the "we represent senior America" rhetoric and the AARP isn't any different than any other oversized, more-muscles-than-brains, obsolete labor union whose membership is simply a commodity. Wake up, senior America! It's not about you. It's about the money. As shocking as it may seem, most of that money the AARP uses to sell their agenda doesn't come from graying America, it comes from the liberal U.S. bureaucracy in Washington, DC. Over the years, Uncle Sam has paid the AARP over a billion dollars. In exchange for government's 30 pieces of silver, the AARP has championed the government's position as their own. Today, the liberals on both sides of the aisle in both Houses of Congress claims Social Security is solvent, and only needs a tune-up to get us through another 68 years. Not in the least surprising, that has also become the position of the AARP.
Congress can play with the numbers all they want, but the fact remains that if any loose change was dropped into the Social Security piggy bank today, you'll hear a hallow sound when the money hits the bottom. The piggy bank is empty. The money's gone, It was spent over 30 years ago. But that hasn't stopped the Democrats from waving worthless IOU chits claiming the fund still contains $1.7 trillion. But that barnyard strutting is just so much Cinderella rhetoric. When you let the fox guard the hen house, the chicken coop will always be empty when Sunday dinner rolls around, and all of the chicken bones, which have been stripped clean, are lying around on the floor by the feeding trough of the State.
In 1950, 16.5 workers supported each Social Security recipient. Today, 3.3 workers carry that burden. In less than 15 years that ratio will drop to 2.2 workers supporting each retiree. By 2040, 2.0 workers will be required to support each Social Security recipient. Do the math. It doesn't get any better—it will only get worse. It should be obvious to anyone with a pocket calculator why the president is pushing hard for an amnesty program for illegal aliens. Bush desperately needs to find 15 million new taxpayers—not just to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent, but to keep the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve solvent. Bush needs to legalize 15 to 20 million illegals who are already earning a living in the taxless cash-and-carry world of the underground economy in the United States.
The president needs to reach a compromise with the secure border contingent, and he needs to reach it quickly. Bush needs to sign on to the fence, and the Minutemen need to sign on to the president's amnesty program with a proviso that was advanced by some members of Congress. Green cards—but no citizenship—should be given to any Mexican national who is currently gainfully employed in this country providing the illegals can pass a background check, with no green cards given until a thorough security check is completed. Second, any children born to "non-citizens"" should not be granted blanket citizenship because their parents, who had no legal right to be in the country, gave birth. Citizenship to the children of illegal aliens should be granted only if their parents are given citizenship. That way, if it becomes necessary to deport the guest worker, there won't be any "legal" complications to bar an expedited deportation of the entire family, or legal arguments lawyers can use to keep illegals in the country because their children are citizens.
And finally, Bush needs to reach a "guest worker" compromise on the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act needs to be reworded to specifically exclude natural American citizens from its tenets. The unconstitutional aspects of the Patriot Act should be applied only upon those who should not be construed as "covered" by the Bill of Rights—illegal aliens, "guest" workers or students, visitors to this country, and resident aliens, dual-nation citizens (including naturalized Americans who hold dual citizenship since they have dual loyalties). Natural American citizens should be afforded all of the protection guaranteed to them by the Bill of Rights. Non-citizens and dual-citizens should be afforded the protection of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (which, of course, means they have no rights and no protection).
If we can't clear these hurdles, and solve these problems very, very quickly, the American people are going to wake up one morning in the not too distant future and realize they are simultaneously living two cult classic movies: 1984 and Solyent Green.
© 2006 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights
Order Jon Ryter's book "Whatever Happened to America?"
Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.
Today, as Congress lies to the American people about how "secure" the nonexistent Social Security trust fund is, the politicians on Capitol Hill continue to play the shim-sham shell game with what's left of our retirement incomes...