In a recent letter, “Oh, the ills of socialism,” in the March 2 issue of The Herald, Sheri Meyers defended her appreciation for “socialism” and presented a defense that was built on a wrong premise. I could address each item specifically, but letters are not allowed the print space required.
She touted (paraphrased) that if one disagrees with socialism, then they should refuse/reject/avoid certain benefits from government programs. Her first three examples: refuse Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits/assistance.
As one who does not appreciate “socialism,” nor its philosophy, I would love to refuse Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately, I can’t. I am forced to support these out of every dollar I earn. It is called a tax. I would much rather have my government trust me to take care of myself — to make my own investments for my future, etc. Rather, the government in its infinite wisdom saw fit to believe they could provide better for me in retirement than I could for myself — then forced me to buy into a program with hopes of a minimal return on my mandated lifetime annual “contributions” at a later date.
Now if you are one that for whatever legitimate reason, or are just not disciplined enough to plan and take care of your financial future, I can see how Social Security is appreciated. For the less fortunate, safety nets are not “socialism”; rather, they are good charity and needed … and should not be abused.
Also, note that Social Security was designed to take care of itself — as Al Gore once said, it should be put in a “lockbox.” The funds were to be collected and set aside for future withdrawals for those qualified to receive the benefits thereof.
Problem one: The government could not withstand the temptation of all these funds sitting there growing untouched, and later decided it would be better to incorporate these funds into the overall general fund and used immediately for whatever it desired.
Today, Social Security funds have all been wrongfully depleted, and payments/benefits come in and out of the general fund in our annual budget. Thus, it is ever a problem as to how funding will be able to continue as the retiree population grows. The government started this, changed course mid-stream — and totally screwed it up. (As is unfortunately too often the norm).
Problem two: No matter how much I have paid in over my lifetime, when I die, the benefits stop and are gone. Everything I paid in is now the government's to use as they desire — not to my estate.
I am for privatizing Social Security and/or allowing those that want out of it to get out. For Meyers to say, “If you don’t like it, don’t use it” totally discredits that I, too, have paid into it, howbeit unwillingly. I still paid and am due whatever benefits I can get back as much as the next guy.