A game changer proposed by Republican leaders regarding Social Security has many of us worried. It has been a political fact in the lives of politicians that if they want to be re-elected, they must keep their hands off of Social Security. Evidently, Congress and the President are ignoring this implied safety valve.
Social Security was immediately targeted in the first days of the new Congress and the Trump administration. They have proposed putting the trust funds into private control and slashing benefits. This proposal threatens seniors, survivors of beneficiaries, and people with disabilities. To add to this threat, there are also proposals to raise the age of retirement and to slash Medicare and Medicaid.
These politicians are fabricating a Social Security crisis that doesn’t actually exist. They are doing this in their efforts to dismantle the social safety net and Social Security.
As someone who has spent most of his life working to earn a salary, this causes me no small amount of concern, too. On top of that, this is the year I turn 65. The ability to finally collect my hard-earned benefits is now under attack. You can bet I’m going to vehemently oppose the heartless plan to deprive retirees and the disabled of benefits. I read the news, and I take notes about who is doing what.
Sure, I have a pension. I also remember the balance of my private account getting half wiped out because of terrible decisions made by the movers and shakers on Wall Street and by executives of the bankers who managed our company’s retirement accounts. I then became even more thankful for the safety net of Social Security.
For many years, Congress has been borrowing vast amounts of funds from the Social Security trust fund for needs in the general budget. This has given the appearance of problems with Social Security. In fact, Social Security does not owe money, the government owes $2,700,000,000,000 in IOUs in repayments back to the Social Security fund. This is a fact that majority leadership is eager to ignore.
Shortsighted moves to axe Social Security run counter to the American ideals of fair play that were affirmed more than 81 years ago. The Social Security Administration, then the Social Security Board was created when President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on August 14, 1935.
FDR said, “…“young people have come to wonder what would be their lot when they came to old age”” America was in the depths of the Great Depression in those days. Even people who could find work, didn’t have the luxury of setting aside nest eggs for their retirement years.
Many of today’s workers are finding themselves in similar straits because of a fickle job market and the predominance of part-time employment. Employers are not required to provide benefits packages to their part-timers. In most instances, that means there will be no pensions to supplement any Social Security contributions that are made. When today’s part time labor force is forced into retirement, they will be in a world of hurt.
It is important to maintain Social Security and continue FDR’s intent to prevent senior citizens and the most vulnerable people among us from impoverishment. Our employers and we have paid hard-earned money into the Social Security fund. We must be assured of our safety net upon reaching our senior years.
The purpose of this OpEd is to encourage readers to contact their Representative and Senators about this urgent issue.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes President Dwight Eisenhower. “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.”