Watching the President’s speech to a joint session of Congress last night, I just about came unglued when I heard the following line from Obummer:
What kind of country would this be if this chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do?
My answer: One that followed the Constitution that this country was founded upon.
In the statements preceding this statement, Obummer extolled the virtues of Abraham Lincoln and Congresses in the past that preserved the Union and built the infrastructure of the country with highways (real and virtual) and many of the public works projects from FDR on. These projects, in my opinion, were within the Congressional purview of “public good” because they built the foundations that this country could grow upon. Federally funded schools, I believe, are not. These should be privately funded or funded by the States in which the schools reside. This is a matter of debate, of course, of what the public good actually covers, but I do not think that setting up Federal public assistance program (Social Security, Medicare, or Obamacare) qualifies under the Constitution of “Public Good.” But let me digress a little further…
On the subject of Social Security, let’s take a left-hand turn into what Social Security started out to be and where it is now. FDR promised at the introduction of the Social Security Program (FICA) that:
- Participation in the program would be completely voluntary.
- The participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $4,100 of their annual income into the program.
- The money that the participants elected to put into the program would be deductible from their income taxes.
- The participant’s money would be put into an independent “trust fund” rather than the General Operating Fund, i.e., the money would only be used for funding the Social Security Retirement Fund, and not any other program.
- The annuity payment to the retiree’s would not be taxed as income.
Now how much of the above still holds today? For those of you who are having brain farts, the answer is: None of the above. And why is Social Security in trouble, especially now that participation if now mandatory for everyone? Here are some clues for the clueless:
- Lyndon Johnson with the Democratically controlled Congress (both House and Senate) passed the legislation that allowed the Social Security independent trust fund to be rolled into the General Fund, allowing Congress to spend the money for any and all programs (pork barrels were included).
- The income deduction for contributions to Social Security were eliminated by the Democrats (can’t find the reference – yet).
- President “Peanut Farmer” Carter signed legislation that allowed immigrants to collect Social Security payments at 65, even if the immigrant had not paid anything into the system.
- Social Security annuities were immune from taxes until then Vice President Al Gore cast the “tie-breaking” vote in the Senate. Of course, “Uncle BIll” Clinton signed it, and the annuities are being taxed up to 85%, and that’s money that the taxpayer has put into the system for the government to take care of!
I know from my parents that they are pretty upset with the state of Social Security. They paid into the system for all their working lives, and are receiving a mere pittance of what they put in. They were fiscally responsible, and invested wisely, so they are OK, but it is absolutely criminal that the Government has taken away these funds from the People with a promise that has been reneged on.
And that is the crux of the matter. When Obummer stated the above words, it reminded me of all of the above. It also shows exactly what Obummer thinks – Government is the solution, he and Congress know better than the Founders of the Constitution, and that the Constitution is in their way. Yes, the Constitution is “about what government could or could not do”, and Obummer is making the case that the Constitution can be ignored because the Constitution is an outdated document and doesn’t apply. The problem is that what Government gives can also be taken away without regard for the individual. This has been proven time and time again with not only our own government, but with governments around the world (past and present). The Constitution provides for the protection of the individual while providing a mechanism (called “Amendments to the Constitution”) to address any future needs. This is what Obummer wants to sidestep.
Why doesn’t anyone else see this? I haven’t seen a single post or news outlet jump all over this, or am I the only one with the radar going?