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HORIST: Social Security and they suck

What is the greatest danger to the welfare and freedom of the people?  Our Founders knew the answer when they crafted the Constitution.  It is government.  Of course, we need government, but as Thomas Jefferson noted – the less, the better.  In fact, virtually the entire Constitution was crafted to limit governments authority over we the people.

That is why they gave us a capitalistic free-market system instead of a socialist system.  Socialism, by its very definition, is an authoritarian economic system because it empowers a central government to regulate choices and redistribute wealth in ways that make government (bureaucrats) the ultimate decision-makers.

Experiments in socialism have resulted in the rise of the most despotic regimes in world history.  Stalinist Russia, Maoist China, Kim’s North Korea, Castro’s Cuba to name the most recent and most notable.  It has also been the road to economic collapse and impoverishment of the masses – and now, we have Venezuela as the latest example.

One does not have to look outside America to see the deleterious effects of socialist policies.  It was domestic socialism that destroyed Detroit – and is bringing down other once powerful economic engines as Illinois (primarily Chicago) and the entire state of California.  If you examine our impoverished inner-cities, you will discover that they are islands of socialism surrounded by the obvious benefits of capitalism.  Travel through the west side of Chicago, and you will see people living like those in Cuba and Venezuela.  Drive through Palm Beach, and you see the fruits of capitalism.

American socialists, such as Bernie Sanders, define their philosophy as a hybrid oxymoron – “democratic socialism.”  They do not see the evolution toward totalitarianism as a final destination – assuming that a little bit of socialism is advantageous and that it will not be the slippery slope to totalitarianism despite all evidence to the contrary.

Initially, the virus of socialism appears to be benign and even beneficial to the desires of the public – and in the early stages, it tends to seem beneficial.  But … like an addicting drug, the initial euphoria leads to  a tragic and destructive dependency.  And, like drug addiction, it becomes more and more difficult to pay for the never-ending promises.  Socialism eventually kills societies as surely as drug addiction kills the users.  Socialism has cost the lives of tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people in nations where it was allowed to run its course.

There is no doubt that the siren call of socialism can be as compelling as it is wrong.  Sanders & Co. hold up Social Security and Medicare as the model examples of the democratic socialism.  By every measure, the American people have come to love those programs – just as so many welfare recipients rely on government money even though it creates destructive generational dependency.  To put it simply, we get hooked on the addictive programs.

While there is much praise of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from folks on the left, there is very little examination of those programs in terms of their economic and social benefits. Do they uplift people or simply make them desperately dependent?

There should be no doubt that the enactment of Social Security was a move toward American socialism.  But has it been a great benefit as claimed?   Maybe not.

If you look at Social Security as an investment in a person’s future – which is exactly what it is, albeit a forced investment – it is a money loser.  If you look at “return on investment (roi)” – as is usually what a smart investor does – Social Security is a terrible investment.  If investment firms, mutual funds, banks, insurance companies or individuals had put their money in Social Security instead of private sector investments, they would all be out of business – bankrupt.

Like socialism itself, Social Security is a con game, a Ponzi scheme. It is only because it is run by government that it is prevented from being charged as a fraud by the Security and Exchange Commission.

Virtually everyone who participates in Social Security – and that is virtually all workers – has had a negative return on their investment.  In other words, the money they are taking out is worth less – has less buying power – than the money they put in.  It is the same as investing $1000 in a shopping mall that fails – and you only get $250 back from the bankruptcy.

For 2019, the maximum amount a person can receive from Social Security is $2861 per month – but only if you have had the maximum withdrawal for a full 35 years.  The average actual payment per recipient is $1372 per month – less than half of the promised amount.

If Social Security was based on free-market principles — and your money was invested in the safest private sector investment over past decades – the monthly check for a retiree would be … ready for this … ten times what it is today.  That is based on analysis of the safest blue-chip investments over time – and that includes sailing through the various economic downturns and recessions.  That is why privatization of Social Security is about the only way future generations will not be ripped off the way we seniors have been.  Even in the privatization model, there would be safety nets to protect against those rare cases where something goes wrong.

Bernie Sanders’ and his cohorts on the radical left are promoting what they call “single-payer” or “Medicare for all.” From the way they talk, you would think that Medicare is some wonderful social program.  It is nothing more than an expansion of the disastrous Affordable Care Act – Obamacare.

For sure, everyone would have the same level of healthcare.  We would all be like those veterans waiting in line for much needed medical services at the government-run VA hospitals.  We would all have such high deductibles that we would have to pay for most medical treatment out of our pockets – as do so many on Obamacare.  We would not be able to keep our doctors.  With private practitioners dropping out, we would only find treatment in government-run facilities and by government-employed doctors.

Medicare for all is a bad idea because Medicare, itself, is a bad health plan.  It has HUGE deductibles – covering only 80 percent of the costs.  If you required, say, $500,000 in medical services – and that is not outrageous for serious injuries, diseases or debilities – you would have to cough up $100,000 in co-pay.  Even a $10,000 visit to the emergency room would mean a $2000 co-pay.

If you think I am inflating the costs … my son went to the emergency room with nasty stomach pains.  It proved to be severe indigestion.  The total bill was $19,000. I landed in the emergency room with a kidney stone that had to be surgically removed.  That little outpatient visit cost more than  $35,000.  If I only had Medicare, my co-pay would have been $7,000 — but fortunately, I had one of those private sector supplemental plans that people like Sanders and Senator Kamala Harris want to eliminate.  My portion of the bill was approximately $1000.

Ask yourself this one question.  IF Medicare is such a great program, why do we need those supplemental private-sector insurance plans we see advertised on television.  They exist because Medicare is crappy insurance.  IF we go down the path proposed by the radical socialists, we will all have that same crappy coverage – just like Obamacare.

The other thing to keep in mind is that both Social Security and Medicare are NOT financially sustainable as is.  They will eventually require more funding than funds available.  As British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once famously said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

Free-market capitalism has been responsible for the highest standard of living for the greatest number of people in the history of the world.  It has given us the most advanced healthcare system in the world.  Socialism has produced the worst economic misery for the greatest number of people – and crappy socialist medicine is a part of the reason.

If the younger generation – on a foundation of ignorant idealism – embraces socialism, they will be the ones who live long enough to regret it.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

7 Comments

  1. Don

    All true. To bad we have so many ignoramuses that want just that.

    Reply
  2. Bill Walter

    You have lost your historical perspective.

    Social Security was originally established so workers would have a supplemental source of retirement income. Workers and their employers both paid into the Social Security program. Upon retirement the worker would receive their social security benefits if they had worked a minimum of 40 Quarters. Unfortunately, all payments into social security were taken by Bill Clinton and “transferred” to the general budget so that he could “balance the budget.” Every administration since Clinton has continued to use social security contributions as a source of general revenue.

    When Medicare was established in 1964, both workers and their employers paid into Medicare. Upon retirement, the worker would be eligible to receive funds for their medical needs. Since this was a “rich” fund, Obama did not hesitate to transfer millions to help fund Obamacare. Once again workers had their hard earned money taken away by the government.

    Medicare for all needs to become Medicaid for all if it is approved by Congress – or once again big government will take hard earned benefits and give them away !!

    Reply
    • Larry Horist

      You are generally correct. SS was never a Trust Fund as it has been called. It is not an annuity. It is more like a loan to the government with an IOU attached. But it is a losing investment. We do not even get back the amount of the loan. It is a scam.

      Reply
  3. Redie Armon Jr.

    Great article Hoist, thanks, keep em coming, and the info is so true to the history and nature of human beings in this great country of ours.

    G-d Bless.

    Reply
  4. Joe Cordero

    You know, I find it all amusing when ever our government has financial problems they always blame it on Social Security and Medicare. It doesn’t appear to me that any of our Politicians from the POTUS on down remember that, Social Security isn’t government money. This money belongs to the working people of America. Social Security is funded by every working American and their employer. Not the government. Our system was working just fine until George W. Bush borrowed (stole) 2.76 Trillion dollars from the Social Security fund to bail out Wall Street, Auto Manufacturers, and Corporate America. To my knowledge this money has never been repaid. So I ask what is the new Congress & the Senate going to repay this loan to the American people?

    Reply
  5. Joe Cordero

    If I’m right SS was started by Franklin D. Roosevelt as a retirement program for the working people of America. SS was and is still funded by the working class and their employers. SS Is not federally funded in any way. The SS system was working fine until George W. Bush borrowed (Stole) $2.76 trillion dollars from the SS fund to bail out, Wall Street, The Auto Industry & Corporate America. To my knowledge this money has not been paid back. So my question is. What is our new Congress and the Senate going to do about repaying that loan? I think it would be great if they figured out how to refund the SS money instead of funding a stupid wall.

    Reply
  6. Bryn Williams

    Just in case some of you didn’t know this. It’s easy to check out, if you don’t believe it. Be sure and show it to your family and friends. They need a little history lesson on what’s what and it doesn’t matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. Facts are Facts.

    Social Security Cards up until the 1980’s expressly stated the number and card were not to be used for identification purposes. Since nearly everyone in the United States now has a number, it became convenient to use it anyway and the message, NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION, was removed.

    Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social Security (FICA) Program. He promised:

    1.) That participation in the Program would be Completely voluntary,
    No longer Voluntary

    2.) That the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual Incomes into the Program,
    Now 7.65% on the first $90,000.

    3.) That the money the participants elected to put into the Program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,

    No longer tax deductible

    4.) That the money the participants put into the independent ‘Trust Fund’ rather than into the general operating fund, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program, and,
    Under Johnson the money was moved to the General Fund and Spent

    5.) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.
    Under Clinton & Gore Up to 85% of your Social Security can be Taxed. Since many seniors have paid into FICA for years and are now receiving a Social Security check every month — and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of the money we paid to the Federal government to ‘put away’ — you may be interested in the following:

    Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the iindependent ‘Trust Fund’ and put it into the general fund so that Congress could spend it?
    A: It was LyndonJohnson and the democratically controlled House and Senate.

    Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?
    A: The Democratic Party.

    Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social Security annuities?
    A: The Democratic Party, with Al Gore casting the ‘tie-breaking’ deciding vote as President of the Senate, while he was Vice President of the US.

    Q: Which Political Party decided to start giving annuity payments to immigrants?
    A: Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party. Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive Social Security payments! The Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it!

    Then, after violating the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away! And the worst part about it is uninformed citizens believe it!

    Reply

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