Save Social Security

The stated purpose of this blog is to promote knowledge of ancient history and understanding of how events of the distant past have shaped the world we live in today. I have used this site to review books, mostly historical fiction, but have occasionally reviewed a book with modern political significance. The weblog being a “bully pulpit”, however, I feel compelled to blog about a subject of extreme importance to nearly all of us-the future of Social Security.
Why should a young person even care about Social Security? Doesn’t the baby boom demographic mean that the burden of supporting the elder generation falls more and more heavily on younger working people? Yes, unfortunately it does. This situation can be mitigated by encouraging immigration of young working people and by economic policies that encourage job growth.
Why is it important to you to keep Social Security solvent? For one thing, YOU WILL BE OLD SOMEDAY IF YOU LIVE LONG ENOUGH.
Can’t other programs replace Social Security such as company pensions, IRAs and 401Ks? Not really. Company pensions often fail when the company hits the skids. Look at Enron. IRAs and 401Ks are dependent largely on the performance of the stock market and the stock market periodically crashes. In my working life the stock market has plunged four times, in the late 1980s, in the early 1990s,in 2001 and in 2007. Each time the IRAs and 401Ks took a severe beating. Moreover, economic conditions are such today that most working people barely scrape by and have no discretionary funds to invest. Even if you are among the relatively small percentage of working people who have enough money to contribute to an IRA or 401k, will it benefit you in the long run if Social Security fails? Not likely. You may find, when you reach your 50s, that you are supporting your aged parents who outlived their savings. I know this because my brother and I are both contributing to the support of our 87 year old aunt who has outlived her savings and must live in a board and care because she requires oxygen 24/7. Her Social Security payments are not remotely enough to support her, but if she didn’t have them we would have to contribute even more.
Is the failure of Social Security inevitable? No. It will only happen if we Americans drop the ball on this issue. I would urge all citizens to resolve not to vote for anyone, Republican or Democrat, who votes to reduce Social Security benefits or seeks to compromise the integrity of this vital program.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican President from 1952 to 1960 is quoted as saying:
“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
We Americans would do well to prove Eisenhower correct.


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