Sunday, July 23, 2006

Social Insecurity

Sorry folks. I have been working such long hours recently, I got lazy and didn't check the facts on an e-mail I received. I just haven't had a lot of time to post and I felt guilty that I hadn't posted something, at least, so I got an e-mail from a friend, and didn't check it out, I just posted it. I apologize. Both for being lazy and for stooping so low as to simply accept a misleading e-mail as fact. I violated my own rules, that I set for myself to never post information without checking it's veracity first, and all I've done is embarrass myself. Also, although I have posted other peoples writings before, I really prefer to post original thoughts. I will be more careful in the future. Sorry again, and I'll try to post something more original and thoughtful in the future.


Jim said...

Most of this "letter" is false.

Untruth #1:
. . . participation in the Program would be completely voluntary

There was no provision in the Social Security Act of 1935 (nor has there ever been any provision) for the payment of Social Security payroll taxes (now commonly known as FICA, from an acronym for the Federal Insurance Contributions Act) to be voluntary. Since the inception of the Social Security program, the law has required that payroll taxes for persons working at jobs covered by Social Security "shall be collected by the employer of the taxpayer by deducting the amount of the tax from the wages as and when paid."

Untruth #2:
. . . participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the Program

Social Security taxes were never limited to the first $1,400 of annual income, nor was there any provision in the Social Security Act of 1935 to permanently fix the tax rate at 1%. The Social Security Act of 1935 set the original rate at 1% of the first $3,000 of annual income, with provisions to gradually increase that rate to 3% over the next twelve years.

Untruth #3:
. . . the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year

The original Social Security Act of 1935 specifically stated that Social Security payroll taxes were not to be allowed as income tax deductions...

Social Security payroll taxes have never been deductible from income for tax purposes, either when the program was originally instituted or at any time since.

Untruth #4:
Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the independent "Trust" fund and put it into the General fund so that Congress could spend it?

A: It was Lyndon Johnson and the Democratically-controlled House and Senate.

The monies paid into the Social Security trust have never been "put into the general fund." The requirements for how the Social Security Trust Fund is to be financed and invested have not changed since the fund's inception in 1939.

Untruth #5:
Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

A: The Democratic Party.

Social Security withholding has never been deductible from income for tax purposes. The original Social Security Act of 1935 specifically stated that monies paid into Social Security via payroll taxes were not to be allowed as income tax deductions.

Untruth #6:
Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?

A: The Democratic Party.

Prior to 1984, income derived from Social Security benefits was exempt from taxation. Amendments to the Social Security Act passed by Congress in 1983 allowed for 50% of Social Security benefits to be considered taxable income for taxpayers whose total income exceeded specified thresholds.

Responsibility for this change cannot fairly be assigned to either political party. The idea originated with a proposal issued by the Greenspan Commission, which had been appointed by President Ronald Reagan, a Republican. The amendments were passed by a House of Representatives in which the Democrats held a clear majority of the seats (296-166), but the proposed amendments received "Yea" votes from members of both parties, and they were signed into law by President Reagan.

Q: Which political party increased the taxes on Social Security annuities?

A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the "tie-breaking" deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the U.S.

Wow! Something that is actually true!

Untruth #7:
Q: Which Political Party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?

A: That's right! Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party. Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive SSI Social Security payments! The Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!

No one — whether he be a citizen, immigrant, or illegal alien — is eligible to collect Social Security benefits unless he (or someone else, such as a parent or spouse) has paid into the system.

Someone has confused Social Security itself with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — the latter is a federal welfare program "designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income" by providing "cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter." Immigrants can qualify for SSI benefits under certain conditions, but SSI is financed by general revenues and not Social Security taxes. SSI was not enacted by the administration of President Jimmy Carter (a Democrat); it was created and signed into law in 1972, during the administration of President Richard Nixon (a Republican).

Untruth, easily verified, equals lie.

Jim said...

Meant to mention that these answers can be found at

Erudite Redneck said...

Yet the claptrap is already out there. Fabrications are like cats: Hard to get 'em back in the bag.

I don't know how anyone who has ever held or job -- or not held a job! -- wouldn't know this, especially:

"No one — whether he be a citizen, immigrant, or illegal alien — is eligible to collect Social Security benefits unless he (or someone else, such as a parent or spouse) has paid into the system."

Ask homemakers who don't work outside the home, and then their sorry husbands leave them at, say, age 45, or older. They're screwed. They start paying into the system almost 30 years after most people do, which means they will receive much less social security payment when they do retire.


Lone Ranger said...

I would have been suspicious as soon as I read that social security was meant to be voluntary. Since when have socialists many anything voluntary? It's toe the party line or off to the gulag.

Jim said...

Mark, your apology is accepted.

tugboatcapn said...

I thought you were dead...

Welcome back!

Here are a few facts, (easily verifiable,) about Socialist security.

The first recipient of ongoing Social Security benefits was a woman named Ida May Fuller.

Ida May Fuller worked for three years under the Social Security program. The accumulated taxes on her salary during those three years was a total of $24.75. Her initial monthly check was $22.54. During her lifetime she collected a total of $22,888.92 in Social Security benefits.

She lived for 35 years after she began recieving benifits from the Social Security system, and died in 1975 at the age of 100.

Originally S.S. paid out in lump sums.

The first recipient of one of these lump sum payouts was a man named Ernest Ackerman.

He participated in the program for one day, and contributed 5 cents.

His lump sum payout was 17 cents.

The average lump sum payout during the period between 1937 and 1940 was $58.06.

The smallest amount ever paid out was 5 cents.

Your employer does not pay half of your Social Security Contributions. YOU pay the whole 14.21%. If your Employer has budgeted $50,000 for your position, he can only offer you $46,446.82, because the rest will go to paying his half of your S.S. contributions. The full burden is borne by the employee, no matter how the funds are divided.

There is no S.S. Trust fund. Every year since it's inception, the Social Security System has taken in more money than it has paid out in benefits, and those additional funds have gone to other areas of Government Funding.

The difference between revenue collected and benefits paid is reported as an interest bearing loan to the National Treasury from the Social Security System, and the funds created by doing this are called the Social Security Trust Fund.

Now for my opinions:

Social Security is a BAD Deal. If you were to put the same amount of you income into Stocks and Bonds over the course of your whole carreer, you would have a lot more money to work with when you retire.

If they would let me opt out of the S.S. System right now, I would do it gladly, and let them KEEP whatever I have already paid into the system.

The Social Security System is a regressive tax, whereby funds are confiscated from people who are trying to get started in life, and buy the things that they need to live, and paid out to people who have already lived their lives, earned their money, and spent it as they saw fit, whether they made any provisions for their own retirement or not.

The system does not need to be fixed.

It needs to be done away with completely.

It is the System by which the WWII Generation and the Generation just before that figured out that they could vote themselves money from their Grand Children and Great Grandchildren's paychecks, and is immoral in it's very mission.

It was America's first flirtation with Socialism, and it is failing, as all Socialist Redistribution Programs will always do. It does not provide enough money for anyone to live on, and it diminishes the Worker's ability to provide a more productive benefit for him/herself using the same funds.

Lone Ranger said...

Social Security was a scam from the git-go. Odd that the collection age was set at 65 when the average life span at the time was 62.

I happen to work in the building that was built to house social security records. No way is this building large enough to hold the records of all working Americans, even back in 1935.

rusty shakelford said...

A wise man (or maybe it was a coffee mug) once said "To ere is human, to really screw up requires a computer."

Speaking of Social Security I would give anything to be able to invest mine however I choose. This is just one of the many cases (except one) where liberals don't what me to have the freedom of "choice"

Poison Pero said...

I got that same email the other day, Mark.

At least you admit your mistake....Go on. We all make them.

Lone Ranger said...

That was Dan Rather. Maybe you'd like to reconsider the "wise man" comment.

Dan Trabue said...

"This is just one of the many cases (except one) where liberals don't what me to have the freedom of "choice""

I, for one, would gladly give you the option of deciding what to do with money in regards to SS if you'll give me the option of deciding whether or not I want to pay for the paving of America, for welfare for oil companies, for Bush's war.

How about it? Want to have a budget based upon where people'd like to see money allocated? Whaddya want to bet that the military budget would fall by more than 50% and that welfare and foreign aid would increase by at least 25%?

[not that such a budget is possible...]

Lone Ranger said...

If you want smaller government, stop voting for tax and spenders. About 95% of what the government does is unconstitutional. They couldn't do those things if we didn't foot the bill. Democrats -- and an increasing number of Republicans -- seem to think they have bottomless pockets.

Of course, you'd have to learn to speak Arabic...

tugboatcapn said...

Dan, Do you own a copy of the U.S. Constitution?

It's an interesting read...

You should browse through it when you have time.

Dan Trabue said...

Tuggy asked if I owned a copy of the Constitution.

While I don't own a copy, I have perused it. I've read it enough to know that, despite ER's claims that it's okay that "conservatives" spend trillions of dollars on a massive war machine but spending $20 billion on welfare is "big spending," that the Constitution does not specify how we are to work for the "common defense" and "general welfare" of the nation. That is up to us to work out each generation.

And here's something you'll learn from reading the authors of the Constitution: They would be appalled at the irresponsible size of our military machine. I give you none other than James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington:

"Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."
-George Washington

"By a declaration of rights, I mean one which shall stipulate
freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of commerce against monopolies, trial by juries in all cases, no suspensions of the habeas corpus, no standing armies."

-Thomas Jefferson

"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes... known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few."
-James Madison

Erudite Redneck said...

Re: "If you want smaller government, stop voting for tax and spenders."

Nahh. Vote for tax-and-borrowers instead! Yay GOP! Not.

Ang Tug, I know you hate to hear this, but the Constitution has said what SCOTUS has said it's said since 1803. D'oh!

Erudite Redneck said...

Dan apparently has confused me with someone else. WTH?

rusty shakelford said...

Dan, welfare for oil companies? Last I heard demand for oil was on the up. Ya see as demand goes up, supply goes down. Its almost (or exactly) like a mathematical equation. As supply goes down due to demand, price goes up. So why would the oil companies need welfare. I guess next we can send Bill Gates some food stamps.
You sound like a broken record, always yelling about Bush's war. None of us ever asked for this war, but we are not going to back down either.
No matter how much evidence comes out to support Bush's reasons for going to war you will never change your mind because you (like all liberals)have a bias that cannot be broken by reality.
I don't know about you but I will take the American "War Machine" over worrying about bombs dropping on my house.

Jim said...

Rusty, if you want to have any credibility whatsoever, you really should not deny the existence of welfare for oil companies.

Oil companies, currently making billions of dollars each quarter, receive numerous tax breaks and sweetheart deals for leases of PUBLIC land and oil reserves. This is supposed to incent them to find and produce more oil as if they wouldn't produce it while getting $3 and up per gallon.

No welfare for oil companies? Get serious!

rusty shakelford said...

So the solution to rising gas prices is to increase the cost of producing it. If you want to have any credibility you know that all costs get passed to the customer. The tax breaks were there to lower cost of production which will slow the price hike. Your problem is you have this "blame the evil corporation" mentality. Its just the latest scare tactic liberals employ to make you feel dependant on them.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm not sure that Rusty got what I was saying. I wasn't advocating welfare for oil companies. I was pointing out its existence.

Rusty also said:
" So the solution to rising gas prices is to increase the cost of producing it."

The solution to rising gas prices is to let it happen. They are artificially low currently.

I'm for personal responsibility and paying for things as you go instead of deferring payments on to our neighbors or grandchildren. Are you for responsibility?

Then let's include the real cost of oil in our prices. Oil costs $3/gallon. BUT, that doesn't pay for the damage done by cars to the air and water. That doesn't count damage done to individuals and society by auto wrecks. That doesn't count the damage done to society by urban sprawl. Our driving/oil costs are artificially low.

I'm in favor of prices reflecting actual costs and letting the market take care of it. What could be more fiscally responsible, capitalistic and conservative than that?!

Dan Trabue said...

Mark, you're passing 20 comments on a post that isn't even there! What an accomplishment!

Erudite Redneck said...

Dan, I will assume that you were confused re: " ... to know that, despite ER's claims that it's okay that 'conservatives' spend trillions of dollars on a massive war machine but spending $20 billion on welfare is 'big spending,' ... " -- since I never made any such claim, and, actually, can't find anyone else in theis thread who did.


Jim said...

Rusty, precisely! Why would the oil companies need welfare? To make them even richer. You can't deny they get it.

I don't think Exxon, Chevron, and Conoco, NETTING over $10 Billion each in profits every 3 months, are struggling with the cost of producing their product.

In my opinion we should be trying as hard to reduce the use of oil as we are to FIND new sources of oil. As in your math, the higher the cost, the less the demand. So I did something besides bellyaching about enrivonmentalists and liberals and did something to reduce my demand. I bought a hybrid and I get 50% better mileage. Why? Because gas costs over $3 a gallon and it's going to be $5 before you know it. I'm using 1/3 less gas and saving $75 a month at $3 per gallon.

It's supply and demand.

rusty shakelford said...

Well I can one up ya. I moved just two miles from my job so I only use 40 gallons a month in gas(as I walk to work).
We are not trying hard to find new sources of fuel. We know where they are, its the environmentalists who have made impossible drilling and refinement. AWNR would be handy right now. It would be in production today it Clinton didn't declare it a wildlife reservation on the last day of his presidency.

Dan Trabue said...

"I will assume that you [Dan] were confused..."

Yeah, that's always a safe bet. Sorry for taking your name in vain.

Dan Trabue said...

Rusty said:

"We are not trying hard to find new sources of fuel. We know where they are, its the environmentalists who have made impossible drilling and refinement. AWNR would be handy right now."

Suppose that there was a heroin junkie who kept right on using heroin, arguing, "well, I could try to find codeine or some other drug to help get me off the H, but the Feds are making it hard to get codeine..."

The fact would be that he's a junkie and his addiction is not sustainable in his life. He doesn't need a replacement drug, he needs to get off the drugs.

Whether there's enough accessible oil to last 10 more years or 100 more years, we're running out by all estimations. Most scientists will tell you so, the petroleum companies will tell you so, the White House will tell you so.

We are addicted to a drug that is going away and whose effects are not sustainable. We need to lose the addiction, not find a replacement.