Social Security: Immoral Special Interest Politics


Democracy and Power 114:  The Power Players

Who actually controls the force of government?   The politicians and interest groups control the American political process.  The politician seeks power.  Special interest groups – big business, small business, unions, education, seniors, and a multitude of others – seek favors: tax breaks, subsidies, exclusive legislation, etc.  .

Social Security:  Immoral Special Interest Politics

Every sentient politician knows that Social Security cannot continue under the present law.  There is no saved money or enough future workers to sustain the promised benefits.  Young worker, even the unborn, will be burdened with increased taxes or less than promised benefits.

How will this immoral burden on future generations be resolved?  As usual special-interest politics will make the decision.  The politicians will count the votes gained and lost by changes to Social Security.  Because seniors have an immediate vested interest and are better organized than the young, the seniors will prevail.  Resultantly, the President and Congress will manipulate the Social Security law in favor of the seniors. 

Ethics and sound economic policies are irrelevant.  The politician’s prime interest is to retain his or her position of power.  The politician’s focus is on the next election. 

Currently, Social Security isn’t breaking even.  The taxes collected do not cover the benefits paid.  Then, why is President Obama proposing to cut the Social Security tax in half, which must be paid by future workers?  Simple, no president has won re-election with high unemployment.  The President hopes to stimulate the economy by increasing the disposable income of today’s workers and employers.  He is intentionally diverting Social Security revenues for one year, until his next election.  After the election, the President will increase taxes or manipulate the Social Security benefits.

The President has counted votes.  Seniors will continue to receive their Social Security checks.  Workers and employers will have more spendable income. For at least a year, young workers are not taxed.  This is clever politics.  It is terrible policy.

How do We the People stop special-interest politics?  In the case of Social Security, young workers should have the opportunity to opt-out.  In lieu of paying the 7.65% tax, they put the money into an IRA, which cannot be withdrawn until retirement.  The worker would give up all claims to Social Security and Medicare.  However, the deposited money would never be taxed – not prior to deposit or when withdrawn.  Potentially, this would greatly reduce the national debt, and would certainly give more freedom and control to the young worker.

As to stopping the other special interest politics, concepts similar to Cut, Cap and Balance must be established.  Cutting spending to 18% of GDP and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution would restrain the growth of government and stop some special-interest schemes.

For sure, We the People must create structural restraints to control the collusion between politicians and special-interest groups.  This is a gigantic task and very necessary.

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