Letters

Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

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The Battle over Social Security

George Foster - February 10th, 2005
Thank God for the troops. Expect to hear very soon from our seasoned soldiers, marching shoulder to shoulder. These veterans will fight to the bitter end to keep what they believe is rightfully theirs.
AARP, the largest senior lobby group in the world with 35 million members, is ready to confront politicians with every weapon in their arsenal in order to keep our Social Security system from being cannibalized by Wall Street profiteers. George W. Bush’s plan for a partial privatization of Social Security is the centerpiece in his bid to promote an ownership society in America.
I have to admit to being initially intrigued with the idea of investing some of the social security withholding that I fork over to Uncle Sam with every paycheck. Why not allow participants in the system to invest some of the money? After all, Social Security withholding is our hard-earned cash, right?
But wait a minute. As was outlined by an opinion piece in the Northern Express
Weekly issue of 1/20/05, Social Security should be considered an insurance account, not a retirement fund. 70 years ago our country committed itself to institutionalizing a system that would guarantee monthly income for senior citizens. Social Security was never intended to be a retirement plan that an American citizen could rely upon to live comfortably. It was meant to be a survival package.
When politicians focus on Social Security as the big crises in our economy, they are simply wrong. The system has periodically needed adjustments over the years and might need another one soon. The real question is: do we want a safety net for our retired citizens or don’t we?
7.65% of our earnings (up to $90,000 of wages for 2005) is a small price to pay to ensure that our elderly are guaranteed some monthly income and medical care benefits. Besides, who do you think pays for older people who are left with nothing? We taxpayers always end up with the bill, anyway.
Do you really trust a bunch of rich politicians, who regard future social security benefits to be laughable compared to the rest of their investment portfolios, to decide this issue? Whether they are Republicans or Democrats, they don’t have a clue how critical Social Security is to the little guy. As a result, AARP should be very suspicious when millionaires tell us they have the ultimate solution for senior citizens. Especially when that solution is to take money out of the system.
Social Security is not even the big problem – funding issues can and will be resolved. Retirement planning, or lack thereof, is the immediate crisis we should be focused on. Admit it – chances are you haven’t given much thought to retirement savings. Most of us are just struggling to stay alive day-to-day, right?
Well, join the group. Americans can’t or refuse to save money and it is stifling our economy and the retirement prospects of our citizens. Europeans save 20% of their gross domestic product, Japan 25%, and China a whopping 50% of GDP. By contract, the average household in the U.S. saves .8% (not 8%) of their household income. .8 of 1% equates to $240 annually saved for every wage earner of $30,000. As a result, we have become a nation that only knows the mindset of “borrow and spend.”
What we really need is for politicians to take the restrictions off actual retirement accounts. Beginning in 2005, only $4000 can generally be put into individual retirement accounts (IRA’s) on a tax-free basis. Whoop-de-do, that is $333 per month maximum. With the lack of savings and retirement accounts being such a huge problem in this country, why not allow $10,000 annually? Better yet, if we instituted unlimited tax-free contributions, the amount of consumer savings would grow exponentially.
Before we gut Social Security, let’s listen to what the seniors have to say. They know there is no reason why we can’t retain our Social Security safety net and do more to encourage Americans to save for their own retirement.


 
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