Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Redefining Moral Obligations

Rep. John Salazar (D, Colorado) believes "we have a moral obligation to stand up and protect Social Security for the next 70 years and beyond." He claims that "changing the Social Security system to drain the trust fund and cut benefits simply does not make sense."

Rep. John Salazar must be forgetting where Social Security money comes from. The "trust fund" he speaks of is you, me, and every other taxpayer. Unlike us, the government does not save. It does not set aside money. It does not earn money. It spends it and gets more by reaching into the pockets of productive people. Any "trust fund" the government has is the future tax dollars it must collect to fuel its spending. When Rep. Salazar claims that changing the Social Security system will "drain the trust fund," he ignores that the Social Security system itself, an unfunded liability that draws from future earnings of workers, already drains the "trust fund." I see the drain on the "trust fund" every time I receive my paycheck. The only way to stop draining it, is to stop Social Security completely.

In eliminating Social Security completely, we run into a problem. While I'd be willing to take a loss on the 12.4% I've paid each year for the last 7 years (The employer matches my 6.2% --> 6.2%*2 = 12.4% = my actual loss, not including my expected return on the money over the 7 years), it does not seem fair for someone who is now retiring to have lost 12.4% yearly for 30+ years and receive nothing.

Our "moral obligation" is not to save Social Security. It is to eliminate it. Like a bandage that has been left on too long, we must remove it as quickly and painlessly as possible.

No comments: