Unfortunately, you can kiss your Social Security goodbye from the day it started, and the victims (some would call us suckers) of this scandal are the American people. When FDR hatched the scheme of having workers contribute a portion of their income to the Social Security Trust, it was with the promise that those who contributed to the “insurance” program would receive benefits from that Trust upon retirement. In reality, the money taken from your paycheck is not insurance and does not go to the Trust Fund, it goes to the general fund and Congress spends your contributions each year.
Your hard-earned money that you contributed to the Fund, has been spent from day one of the program and there is NO money in the Fund today. Currently, more money is paid out to Social Security beneficiaries than comes in in contributions, and this will only worsen as the baby-boomers retire, en mass, and leave only a relatively few workers left contributing. What this means is that we have to borrow more and more money each year to continue paying benefits at the current level for more and more people; soaring deficits are already taking us into bankruptcy, and this is UNSUSTAINABLE, we can’t continue on this path for long.
If the Social Security contributions, from the beginning, had been placed in a true retirement account in low-risk investments in the market, there would be billions of dollars in the Fund, even after the 2008 market decline. Instead, Congress has consistently robbed the Fund and there is ZERO dollars in the account. If we continue on the current path, there will be no Fund in a few years, and no further benefits will be paid out to anyone. So, with your choice being NO Social Security versus reforming Social Security, which would you prefer? How can we preserve something from Social Security?
We have to make choices that are neither fair nor easy, and this involves the consideration of private accounts, increasing the retirement age, increasing payroll contributions, decreasing benefits, and limiting benefits to wealthy retirees. Academic elites resist true reform and criticize current proposals as “pretty drastic” and “horse manure”; they’re right about drastic, and drastic reform is all that will save any vestige of this program. We can’t afford to continue to “kick this issue down the road” anymore as Congress has for the last 20 years.
As far as whether or not Social Security is constitutional, this is a moot point. The fact that a Supreme Court packed with FDR yes-men said that Social Security was constitutional is more a reflection of political corruption than jurisprudence. The fact is, it’s a crime perpetrated on the American people by the federal government over the last some eighty years, and this has to stop. Given the history of the U.S. Congress’ abuse of the Fund, if the choice were between the two, would you rather trust Washington, or your state government to hold your retirement money? My preference would be to have a private account in my name that I possess and have inheritance rights to, that the government cannot confiscate and spend, and that will BE THERE when I retire. One way or the other, we’re going to have to do something drastically different from what we have been doing, if we want Social Security to exist in the future.