Monday, October 12, 2015

Social Security, The GOP, and You

I am sorry I haven't been in much of a mood to write anything here. The years of everything and anything else imaginable going wrong with my life have finally caught up with me. Yes, things are improving, a job, a possible promotion, and good references for the next job I seek are all improvements. But just the same, I am just feeling “meh” all the time. But, we have an asshole in our mists.. Well several, and they are all running for president. So, right now, I am going to bend your ear about Social Security.

Yeah, that “ponzi” scheme that the GOP is in a rage over. You know, that “entitlement program” that the moment you work one paying job that pulls taxes you have paid into. The same program that my Dad and Mom paid into, to support their parents, the same program I paid into to support my parents, the same program your potential kids will pay into to support you, when you have become gray in the head, and long in the tooth. But here we are, the GOP wants to kill this program as we know it, because the deficit... Well, guess what, the United States government owes tons of money to this program.

This will surprise you a bit, but Trump is not a complete asshole. Yeah, color me shocked at the prospect that Trump isn't totally insane. Trump has said in the past, and I don't know if he has flip flopped, that Social Security is not an entitlement program, it is the government honoring its part of a deal made between it and the people. Sure he has said that it needs to be “reformed,” that waste and fraud needs to be eliminated, and we need to ensure that it is solvent for everyone, by means of a “great economy.” Still not going to vote for him, but just the same, when someone isn't a total loon, I do have to point it out. Now that you have your shock, lets look at the others, and I am not going to list them all, because lets face it, I am not up for writing a novel:

John Kasich: He wants to reduce benefits for everyone. Yeah, like my Mom is having such a swell time on that thousand dollars a month. I actually know people who get less, and by the time they pay the rent and power bill, they have Alpo for dinner. Now, if its not bad enough that he told voters that they would have to “Get over it.” he also wants to privatize it. So, not only do we pay in, get less, we also get to worry about how it is invested, and what happens if that investment goes bust. But hey, he isn't alone. They all want to privatize Social Security... Except Trump and two others currently in the race.

OF course, you have the lets raise the retirement age contingent (of which yeah, that is most of the GOP presidential candidates). Alright, a thought experiment for you all. Imagine where you will be at 68 years old. All the health problems you have now, are only going to be worse at that age. You can get a general view of your health by looking at your parents health at that age, and what type of work you do now. I will say that if you work a nice little day job, that pays well enough to not worry about every little thing, where you sit behind a desk, you might well be good to go to work until you are 70 or 72 years old. Providing your mind, and eyes hold up well enough. But I can tell you that at 60 years old, both of my parents health was circling the bowl. I worked over a decade on a farm, lugging around hundred pound bags of feed, getting run over by 1500 pound cows, throwing bails of hay on trailers in hundred degree heat. Even seven years removed, I can still feel that. I was told at 25 that I would need my knee scoped within a decade, and if I was really lucky a knee replacement in twenty years. On those short cold days in the winter, I hobble around like a former NFL linebacker. Ironically, I am not much older than those men.

Its also a cheap way to reduce benefits. Consider this, if you are older, spent 45-50 years working, when you do become eligible, you are going to receive less funds before you pass. Yes, you'll pay more in. But with the benefits being reduced, and you being older before you can collect them, you are going to have a great deal less. And if Social Security is the only retirement you can save, and lets face it, how many people make enough at this moment to not be going paycheck to paycheck, or can drop a few thousand in the bank every month (in a year you can do it even at minimum wage depending on your debt load)? Look, Social Security is here to stay, but if the GOP gets their greedy little hands on it, it will be unrecognizable. Making matters worse, and given their track record over the course of my lifetime, they “reform it”, make it worse or outright break it, then offer no real solutions except to kill it (like the PPACA). Yeah, they say we have a better plan, but so far all that has come out of it is 55+ attempts to repeal it, without a replacement (maybe because Obama hijacked their plan).  Oh wait, they do have a plan here is how it works out... 

1.  You will deal with it, and get over it. 
2.  You will pull yourself up by the bootstraps, (or struggle to pay the bills, get your meds, keep from living under a bridge, if you don't move back home with the kids).
3.  You will continue to work, or find a new job once you are on Social Security (double bonus, Social Security plus regular pay, and you still add to Social Security).
4.  You work until you die.  Of course, that makes step 2 easier, because your health will decline rapidly, and you will die quicker.