Saturday, February 05, 2005

FDR on Social Security

Josh Claybourn get's credit for this find.
The date is 1935. Franklin D. Roosevelt is addressing the Congress.

"In the important field of security for our old people, it seems necessary to adopt three principles: First, noncontributory old-age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance. It is, of course, clear that for perhaps 30 years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions. Second, compulsory contributory annuities that in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations. Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age. It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans."

Okay, okay. I got it. I can't argue with the logic.
I even agree with the vision.
But I can sure complain that my whole working life I have been taxed for Social Security more than the benefits being paid. That extra amount was the ersatz "surplus" that we hear so much about.
Some time between 1935 and lately -- I think it was sometime in the sixties but I really have no idea -- Congress made arrangements to rape the fund and spend all the money as fast as it was collected, instead of setting it aside to be used for the purpose it was received.

We have ex post facto prohibitions. We have laws against "theft by conversion." But apparently we have no protection against unprincipled politicians who want to misappropriate taxes. And keep on doing it even after they get caught!
It makes me have very bad thoughts about politicians. Individually they are great human beings, I'm sure, but collectively they have made the capital into a cesspool of deceit.

As I see it, any portion of Social Security funds used for the general fund are de facto income tax revenue, but with no deductions allowed for those being taxed.

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