Monday, February 14, 2005

Paying it forward

Random, related thoughts on Social Security and whether it is SUPPOSED to be about "taking care of me" or, rather, here's a thought: "taking care of the destitute elderly and disabled."

I always thought of Social Security as participating in taking care of the generations ahead of us, and relying on those coming behind us to take care of us.

I don't see my money in SS as "my nest egg" at all.

All of the hullabaloo now about Social Security going bust means, for me, that by the time my time for SS comes around, I may have to fend for myself. Okay, I'll deal with that over the years as best I can.

I thought Social Security was created to provide something for the destitute elderly so they wouldn't starve or freeze to death.

What happened to feeling some responsibility, both individual and as a nation, toward those who cannot help themselves, who have the most meager of resources?

What happened to pay it forward? Providing help because we ought to?

What happened to acknowledging that everyone doesn't need Social Security income, but some people really do?

I don't get this whole "pull some of your money out and put it in your own personal investments to make a better return" -- that sounds like IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, mutual funds, all that kind of thing. We have access to that already, if we can spare the pennies. What's with the taking "my" money out to make a better return for MY retirement? Sounds like it would DESTROY a national SAFETY NET for people who really, really, really are going to freeze to death or starve to death unless we as a society give of our money to help.

Hello, it's not all about you.

Let's revise and reform Social Security, sure. But while we're at it, let's make sense out of it. Don't pay SS to people who don't have any real need for it. Do make people keep paying in to SS even if they make a ton of money (it's not about them). Do something to make prescription medications and health care truly affordable for those who don't have enough income to cover food, heat, and their maintenance drugs.

Stand up and be a country, be a nation that takes care of those of its citizens who really CANNOT pull themselves up by their bootstraps.


End rant.

Now, I'm not saying this was well thought out, rational, a structured argument, or any of that. Just some random, related thoughts...


Anonymous said...

this is something that needed to be said... that needs to be thought about... you make a very good point that this is not just another "401"... it is *us* paying it forward. Thank you

Mumcat said...

Well ranted. You said some important stuff here.

It's very easy for the administration to say "Take some out and put in your 401(k) -- but if you don't ahve anything to take out, how in the name of Adam's puppydog are you going to be able to increase your 401(k) with that money? The rich have it -- and that's where I see most of the thrust of Social Security reform heading. I like the idea of elminating or curtailing SS for people who have a yearly income of over a certain amount -- roughly equal to that which an ordinary person would earn in a year. Not a corporate exec, just a plain middle-class person who is managing to barely scrape by without having any cushion to put in the 401(k).