Social Security has no future. No long term future, anyway. It’s a noble idea: caring for the elderly with government programs. It may well have succeeded had it held true to it’s original intent. Keep in mind when I talk about Social Security, I refer to all the programs that fall into that category including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and welfare.
It might be possible to salvage the original plan if enough politicians can stop being politicians long enough to make some hard choices. Do we commit political suicide by rolling Social Security back to a time when it gave aid to the aged and infirm, rather than to anyone who didn’t care to earn a living? I work very long hours, and very late. When I’m not working, I’m up very late. I see commercials paid for by attorneys telling people how happy the attorney will be to help them get approved for SSI. I imagine some are denied unjustly. I’m also absolutely positive others who are fully capable of supporting themselves by working are taking advantage of a broken system.
There are times a helping hand is required and that hand should be easily accessible. We have an obligation to the generations before us to make the “golden years” a period of relative ease without taxing the benefit they receive. I also agree there is a need for a “safety net” to protect against personal economic catastrophe, provided the catastrophe isn’t self-induced. A net is designed to catch one before they hit bottom. It’s not supposed to be an elevator, allowing one to enjoy a relaxing tune while they gently descend to the lowest floor. And the net shouldn’t be designed to ensnare the user in an inescapable trap of poverty, once it’s used.
None of these things fall to the federal government to maintain. The more we rely on government to meet our needs, the less liberty we’ll have to take care of ourselves.
Fixing Social Security in 2016
I acknowledge this idea has no chance in our current political climate. I also know some of you won’t like it either. But an idea is a building block. It’s a place to start.
I’m certain our Founders intended our government to function from the bottom up, rather than from the top down as it does today. I know this because they didn’t create a Constitution granting all authority to the federal government (see the Tenth Amendment).
The closer the solution gets to the problem, the more likely it is to succeed. The smaller the bureaucracy, the lower the cost. Most importantly, the more local the administration, the easier it becomes to identify true need.
If the federal government only collected revenue necessary to perform tasks assigned by the Constitution, the people of the individual States would be able to care for their own needs. If the fraud and abuse inherent in a centralized entitlement program were eliminated by a localized social program, it would be much cheaper to administer. It would also provide a focused solution to specific issues that don’t necessarily effect everyone in the program.
This solution could have the added benefit of restoring a sense of community to our society. Doesn’t it make better sense than surrendering more and more of our earnings to a government that returns less and less? This approach requires shrinking our government. It’s important we disassemble the “house of cards” orderly, one card at a time. We must start now, before someone shakes the table and the whole thing crashes down on top of us.