Today's Opinions, Tomorrow's Reality
Avenging an Evil Plan
WASHINGTON, DC, January 26, 1999 --
It just keeps getting worse. After enduring Bill Clinton's State of the Union address last year, I was totally outraged by his self-serving plans to "save Social Security first" with funds from the federal budget surplus. Like most other Americans in the post-baby boom generation, I am thoroughly convinced that I will never live to see a single dollar of benefits from the federal government's ill-conceived pyramid scheme pension plan.
Given this outlook, I was far from excited about the President's State of the Union address this year. When I heard him propose putting $2.7 trillion in federal funds into the big black hole of Social Security, I just about flipped my lid.
To be fair, responsibility for this immensely evil proposal does not rest solely with the President. Many of his fellow Baby Boomers in Congress, most notably House Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich (R-OH), support similar spending plans. Given the president's greatly diminished political capital since his impeachment, this proposal would carry little weight without strong bipartisan agreement from Congress. The President's speech has nevertheless served to thrust the idea to the forefront of the national agenda.
It is now a virtual certainty that 60 percent of the federal budget surplus through 2015 will be spent to bolster Social Security. This is no pittance. This comes to an average of $10,000 collected from every man, woman, and child in the United States. Despite this huge infusion of money, Social Security will not be around for post-baby boom generations.
Clinton and his Baby Boomer allies deny this. They claim that with the infusion of $2.7 trillion, Social Security will remain sound until 2055. This is an absolute and disgraceful lie. Don't believe it even for a second.
Politicians base these projections upon the existence of a mythical Social Security trust fund. This trust fund does not exist. All the money in it was spent long ago to fund the deficits of the 1980s and 1990s. All that remains now is a bunch of worthless government IOUs. With the addition of $2.7 trillion, Social Security will run out of money sometime in the 2030s. When this happens, nobody from post-baby boom generations -- including Clinton's own daughter -- will have received a single penny of retirement benefits from Social Security.
In this light, the current proposal to save Social Security is nothing more than a $2.7 trillion dollar generational income transfer. Bill Clinton, John Kasich and their allies are trying to get this money for themselves by stealing it from their children.
While this portrayal may sound dark, there is a silver lining. Younger Americans will likely have the chance to punish the Baby Boomers for their $2.7 trillion heist after the last of the money is spent in the 2030s. By this time, Baby Boomers will be a small minority of the voting electorate, and will finally be subject to the majority rule of younger generations. When this day comes, it is certain that younger voters, who have had their tax dollars squandered by their more affluent parents, will vote to end this unjust program once and for all. Surviving Boomers will then be left without any Social Security benefits at all.
Ironically, this course of events will probably lead to an earlier demise of Social Security than if today's politicians just left the program alone. As it stands now, Social Security will run out of money in 14 years, forcing a political showdown over additional funding in 2013. In that year, however, Baby Boomers will still be the dominant voting block in the electorate, making it far more likely that they could pass permanent funding than they could in the 2030s. If they left everything alone until 2013, it is far more likely that Boomers could manage to fund the program through the ends of their lives.
If all of this sounds too vengeful and uncompassionate, remember that it doesn't have to be this way. If everyone were open minded and fair, it is possible that Social Security could be phased out in a way that causes minimal trauma to everyone involved. The decision to pursue such a solution is almost entirely in the hands of the Baby Boomers, who dominate both the electorate and the national agenda. If they choose selfishly, they cannot expect to receive gracious treatment in the future.
Social Security Timeline
Boomers' Save Social Security First Plan (Practical Scenario):
Boomers' Save Social Security First Plan (Fantasy Scenario):
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