Wednesday, August 10, 2011

All In Our Lifetime: The Bankruptcy of America

            America’s backwoods pioneer hero, Davy Crockett, served as a U.S. Congressman from Tennessee for two terms, representing two different districts.  He went to Washington first in 1827 for the 9th District, then again in 1833 to serve for the 12th District.  During his tenure a bill came up for vote to donate an amount from the Treasury to the widow of a Navy officer.  Although the bill was defeated, he voted for it as a matter of sympathy.  While travelling his district, however, he was informed by one of his constituents that the money was “not yours to give,” and that nowhere in the Constitution was authority given to Congress for charity purposes.  Today we know this as “redistribution of wealth,” part of the doctrine of Karl Marx who wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1848.

            Although the United States had weathered debt off and on from the very beginning of its creation, most notably due to the Revolutionary War, and then the Civil War and others, we were always able to pay it off and move forward, becoming the richest nation on earth.  The Constitution established a system of free enterprise capitalism, and protected it from abuse and misuse.  Article 1, Section 8 clearly sets out the powers and duties of Congress.  I wasn’t until 1935 that a program was established that would inevitably drain the Treasury beyond revenue.  That was President Franklin Roosevelt’s (Democrat) “New Deal” creation of The Social Security Act (unconstitutional), a program that would itself be bankrupt in 100 years.  Social Security grew to the point where it consumed one fifth of the annual budget.  With the average lifespan today far exceeding that of 1935, the plan was flawed from its birth.  We were in a depression then, and it was a desperate attempt to help Americans.

            Then came World War II, which was the key event that brought us out of The Great Depression that began in 1929 (NOT Keynesian economics), and after the war our economy was booming.  We pretty much forgot about Social Security and didn’t mind the seemingly small amount that was taken out of our paychecks each week.  After all, we would get it all back some day, right?

            Spending on defense (constitutional) was cut back after WWII, but then the Cold War saw it escalate again, and the defense budget has waxed and waned to the needs of several wars since 1945.  Today it stands at 20% of our annual budget.[1]

             President Lyndon Johnson (Democrat) created an expansion of Roosevelt’s work when he signed the Social Security Act of 1965 (unconstitutional) to create the social insurance program we know as Medicare.  The costs of Medicare doubled every four years between 1966 and 1980 due to health care costs.  Today it is expected that Medicare will be bankrupt just 50 years from its creation.  Medicaid (unconstitutional) was also created in 1965.  Each state administers its own Medicaid program and provides up to half of the funding for Medicaid.  Medicaid and Medicare are in the same financial boat heading for Niagara Falls.

            Social Security is currently the largest social insurance program in the U.S., where combined spending for all social insurance programs constitutes 37% of government expenditure.  Whenever I bring up the issue of Social Security, people go on the defensive and claim, “I’ve paid into it, so I deserve to get it back.”  That is true, anyone who received a paycheck in their lives (and had a Social Security Account Number SSAN) paid into the system for both Social Security and Medicare.  When it was started, there were three workers being taxed for every one taking out of the program.  Today it is reversed, with three taking out for every one putting in.  Regardless, this was a legalized, revenue-adjustable Ponzi (pyramid) scheme from the beginning.

            One of the first citizens to benefit from Social Security paid into the system a total of less than $25.00.  She received in her lifetime (lived to 100) over $22,000.00 in benefits.  Now, obviously, this is an exception, but how many people end up putting far less into it than they get out, especially if they retire at 65 (or younger), and live well into their 80s?  Where does that extra money come from?  It’s not from interest on the “invested” money.  It has to be taken from other citizens’ contributions, or from the general fund in the Treasury. 

            How about all the children on Aid to Dependent Children benefits, where nothing on their behalf has been put in?  How about all the people who claim disability who never put anything in?  Where does the money come from for food stamps, lunch programs, Medicaid, home heating help, SSI, etc., etc.???  Yes, we put into Social Security and should be given back at least that amount because that was the “agreement,” right?  No, there was no agreement.  The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) was IMPOSED upon us by our government, which means Congress approved it and it was not just Democrats, but Republicans, too (House voting yes – 284 Democrats, 81 Republicans; no: 15 Democrats, 15 Republicans.  Senate –  yes: 60 Democrats, 16 Republicans; no: 1 Democrat, 5 Republicans).

            So you put into Social Security and expect to get that money back.  What about the employer?  Your boss had to pay the same amount into the system on your behalf.  Most people don’t know that.  Yes, FICA is doubled by your employer matching funds and a check is sent into the government every payday.  And you thought it was just your money, didn’t you?  Think about it.  The employer has to come up with that money somehow, so the costs of doing business are passed on to the consumer who buys the product or service you provide.  Everyone’s cost of living goes up a fraction of a cent, so nobody’s really hurt, right?  This is how Congress thinks when they pass another bill that will increase someone’s costs – it will be spread out throughout the population, so nobody will be financially hurt by their bill.  Now, multiply that bill by several thousand and what do you have?  Inhibition of business and free enterprise.

             Initially just 1 percent of the first $1,400 of your wages were withheld from your paycheck, and matched by your employer; just $14!  Over the years, Congress increased, tweaked, modified, and amended it so that now you pay 6.2% of the first $106,800.00 (if you have a really good job), which totals $6,621.60.[2]  I doubt that this bill would pass Congress today at its present rate, but it’s too late now, folks.

             But I digress.  How did we get into our financial situation today?  Probably as much by EXPANSION of benefits to more and more people as by any other reason.  If limited to the few who really needed government assistance for a short period of time to get back on their feet, we would probably be very financially secure indefinitely.  I’m amazed at the number of Americans who are receiving some level of disability check every month who appear to be as physically fit as myself.  Is it Crohn’s disease?  Wear a Depends®.  Are you blind in one eye or have cataracts?  Confined to a wheelchair?  Only have one arm?  Other than complete physical or mental disability, there are many people with the same problem (or worse) that choose to work and contribute to society.  It is, obviously, a personal choice to be either a plus or a minus.  Kick back and enjoy the “free money” from our wonderful, socially conscious government (or help yourself with the fruits of your own labor, not someone else’s).  Avoid the stigma of relying on family, church and community.  Get a check from the government and you can live reasonably well with pride, and you don’t need to tell anyone.  Say you have a wealthy uncle.

             I’m dismayed and saddened when I think that the demise of our country was laid out in my lifetime by people who believed in socialism[3] more than in the restrictions of our Constitution.  We have stepped way beyond the confines of that noble document, and are so far from its original intent that it may require a second Revolution “to throw off such government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”[4]

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