A few weeks ago I received one of those chain e-mails from my mother-in-law. You know the ones. They often fly fast and loose with the facts in order to disparage a cause, person or political party. This one happened to deal with the utter failure of the Social Security program. And as is typical, this one made some pretty wild claims. But as is almost always the case, these e-mails circulating in cyberspace often have their basis in fact. So, I began to dig a little deeper. What I discovered about the origins of the Social Security program, and the litany of broken promises made by said program, lead me to believe that liberals never intended it to be a safety net. It was merely a net, a net designed to enslave the American population into government dependence and to defeat America’s tradition of individual liberty and self-reliance.
Many reading this article may find it hard to believe that the American people ever bought the sales job I’m about to detail for you. But remember, back then the people trusted government. They didn’t have the 24-hour news cycle and glowing figures of corruption like William Jefferson, Maxine Waters, Chris Dodd and Rod Blagojevich. Plus, the people were not constantly reminded of famous political promises broken like “Read my lips, no new taxes,” or “When there’s a bill that ends up on my desk as president, you the public will have five days to look online and find out what’s in it before I sign it,” or “This will be the most ethical Congress in history,” or “This 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard. NO NEW DEFICIT SPENDING.” I had to include two quotes from outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She’s broken so many promises it was hard to choose.
I started off my research at the inception of the Social Security program. Read for yourself the brochure that announced this new government entitlement to “We the People” back in 1936.
It’s titled “Security in your old age.” It’s addressed to workers and businesses all over America. When reading this I was reminded of the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” The first sentence sounds innocent enough. “Beginning November 24, 1936, the United States Government will set up a Social Security account for you, if you are eligible,” it reads. But here’s where Americans of today will scratch their heads and wonder aloud why this program sounds nothing like the compulsory redistribution of wealth system we have today. The brochure outlines the following:
For the first three years, starting in 1937, both employer and employee will pay 1 cent for every dollar the employee earns, up to $3,000 a year.
The next 3 years, starting in 1940, employer and employee will pay 1.5 cents for each dollar the employee earns, up to $3,000 a year.
The next 3 years, beginning in 1943, both will pay 2 cents for every dollar earned, up to $3,000.
After that each pays 2.5 cents for three years up to $3k. And finally, beginning in 1949, twelve years from the start of the program, both employee and employer will each pay 3 cents on each dollar earned, up to $3,000 a year.
The section ends with this PROMISE: “That is the most you will ever pay.” The pamphlet concludes saying that the taxpayers´ money will go into a fund where it will earn 3% interest. And, “What you get from the Government plan will ALWAYS be more than you have paid in taxes and usually more than you can get for yourself by putting away the same amount of money each week in some other way.” By now you’re probably getting that sick feeling in your stomach as I did upon reading this. The queasiness came when I realized NONE of these promises were ever kept.
The Heritage Foundation did some fantastic analysis on the Social Security system back in 1998. They found that Social Security pays a very low rate of return for two-income households with children. The rate of return is only 1.23 percent for an average household of two 30-year-old earners with children in which each parent made just under $26,000. Those couples will pay a total of about $320,000 in Social Security taxes over their lifetime (including employer payments) and can expect to receive benefits of about $450,000 (in 1997 dollars, before applicable taxes) after retiring at age 67, the retirement age when they are eligible for full Social Security old-age benefits. Surprising to most, the rate of return for some ethnic minorities is negative. I say “most” because conservatives instinctively know that liberal policies always have a negative impact on the poor and disadvantaged. Look at Obama’s economic policies. Low-income earners have suffered lost wages and lost jobs. Due to his “soak the rich,” policies, charities are strapped and can’t provide help for those in need.