When Barack Obama, the chosen leader, and other politicians refer to Medicare and Social Security as “entitlements,” it really pisses off my uncle, Clyde! Why? Clyde paid the maximum in social security taxes and medicare taxes for almost 40 years before he retired and collected any benefits. And, now he pays a monthly premium for his Medicare benefits! Clyde doesn’t think of his monthly social security check or his medical benefits as “entitlements” because he paid, in advance, for them over decades when he worked!!! He thinks of those taxes as an investment (although not voluntary) he made for his old age. Clyde thinks he entered into a contract with the federal government when he paid for services to be provided at a later time. “Entitlements” have come to mean that you get something for nothing just for being you! The public has been seduced by politicians into thinking that people who collect their social security and medicare benefits are somehow bilking the system and getting a free ride. Nothing is farther from the truth. Clyde paid, in advance, into the social security fund…..in order to collect his paltry monthly government payment!!
The fact is that the federal government has done a TERRIBLE job in managing Clyde’s tax payments (his investment) over the years. That is why the system is in trouble! In an earlier post on March 1, 2010 (No wonder Social Security is in Trouble), I described how the system can be used to benefit people who never paid a single penny into the system! And, while FDR in 1935 wanted social security to make everyone “secure;” it was never intended to be the only source of an individual’s retirement. It is a supplement, at best!
But, Clyde’s point is lost on most politicians. He paid (invested) in social security; and he paid, in advance, for his medicare benefits. These benefits are not government giveaways to Clyde….they are payments back to Clyde for “loaning” (his tax dollars) to the government to fund social security and healthcare. The fact that the government has chosen to provide social security and medical benefits to a broader range of recipients is not Clyde’s problem.
Nevertheless, something has to be done. Now all of us have to pay for the federal government’s mistakes….and that means more taxes! Plain and simple! The income ceiling for contributions to social security and medicare must be increased…probably to $200,000+! Full benefit age requirements must, gradually, go up to accommodate the actuarial tables for the longer life span for Americans.
“Entitlements” are freebies, according to Uncle Clyde! Social Security and Medicare are not “freebies” to my uncle! Let’s try to maintain some prospective! “Freebies” are payments made via Medicaid and other federal programs (food stamps, free mobile phones, etc.) for which the recipients paid nothing to receive! Let’s keep it honest!!!
P.S. Medicare is MANDATORY when you reach 65! You are placed on the plan whether or not you want it. And, you pay a monthly premium…even though you have paid, in advance, every month of your entire, previous work-life!