Social Security: Not an entitlement, we've earned it

Social Security: Not an entitlement, we've earned it

We can call this column Chicago-Then or Chicagonow.  We can’t relegate this to Chicago When?

The following  is reproduced from an email which asked us to forward this to as many people as possible.:

"Have you noticed your Social Security check is now referred to as a “Federal Benefit Payment”? This isn’t a benefit its earned income!  Not only did we all contribute to Social Security but our employers did too.  It totaled 15% of our income before taxes. If you averaged $30K per year over your working life, that’s close to $180,000 invested in Social Security. If you calculate the future value of your monthly investment in social security, $375/month, including both you and your employer contributions  at a meager 1% rate compounded monthly , after 40 years of working  you’d  have more than $1.3+ million dollars saved. This is your personal investment.

Upon retirement, if you took out only 3% per year you’d receive $39, 318 per year, or $3,277 per month.  That’s almost three times more than today’s average social security benefit of $1,230 per month according to the social security administration (Google it – it’s a fact). And your retirement fund would last more than 33 years(until you’re 98 if you retire at age 65)! I can only imagine how much better most average income people could live in retirement if our government had just invested our money in low risk interest-earning earning accounts.  Instead the folks in Washington pulled off a bigger Ponzi scheme than Bernie Madoff ever did. They took our money and used it elsewhere. They didn’t have a referendum to ask us if we wanted to lend the money to them.  And they didn’t pay interest on the debt they assumed and recently they’ve told us that the money won’t support us for very much longer. But is it our fault they misused our investments? And now to add insult to injury, they’re calling it a benefit, as if we never worked to earn every penny of it. Just because they borrowed the money, doesn’t mean that our investments were a charity!

Let’s take a stand.  We have earned our right to social security and Medicare. Demand that our legislators bring some sense into our government. Find a way to keep Social Security and Medicare going, for the sake of that 92% of our population who need it. Then call it what it is:



Memories light the corners of my mind. I hope the government doesn’t dim them.



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  • Call it whatever you want, it'll be long gone in twenty years. I'm already scoping out overpasses for my retirement.

  • In reply to johnpseudonym:

    hank you for your comment. You are doing the right thing...

  • Sorry to say, that whether or not SS is an "entitlement", it has been robbed by the federal government and the money put into the general operating budget. Interesting how now in America we all are "entitled".

    You do know, of course, that no individual account exists for your payments? By the way, the total paid comes from the employee compensation only, for without SS payments your salary would have been that 12.3 or whatever higher, money you could have invested. Being self-employed for almost 30 years I have had to pay both sides of SS, all the while knowing that I will never see a cent of it. Because you are not paying into an individual account, you are paying into a pool, which is then paid forward to older people. For years, this additional amount has been my "Old Folks Tax".

    With fewer workers contributing to the SS, and with more and more "working off the books" to escape SS and income tax, it is only a matter of time before SS collapses and ditto Medicare. If both survive in any form, it will be so little as to be worthless, with a person having to reach an age way beyond the actuary tables to collect.

    How would you like to work these total 40 years, pay into a system that is nothing bout a Ponzi scheme, not see a cent, plus pay your income taxes?

    I do not begrudge you your money from SS. You were born at the right time when the intake of money was greater than the outflow. Such is not the case anymore.

  • I read your comments carefully. Yourare right about one very important thing for my age group. We were born at the right time but it doesn 't negate the fact that for 3 years we didn'nt receive one penny additional for our social security income. Thank you your comments are important to the dialogue.

  • In reply to Norm:

    Government should keep; the promises made to you, even though they have since FDR misled what SS is really about.

    This will be the case with all current and upcoming "entitlements", including ObamaCare, because we are broke as a nation, and no amount of taxing anyone --rich or middleclass-- will bail us out and keep the same level of services.

    What Uncle Sam giveth he can take away, even if he wants to continue giving.

  • Social Security used to go into its own account that Congress couldn't touch. As long as that happened, Social Security was a great idea. It was an investment (albeit required) into a retirement fund. It fell off the rails under LBJ, when facing a budget shortfall pulled all of the money out of the SS account and put it into the General Fund so Congress could meet their budget. They've been "borrowing" against SS ever since (although they really aren't the best at paying it back). The best answer to "fix" Social Security is to restore the Social Security account and lock Congress out of it. I think Al Gore had this idea with his (heavily lampooned by SNL) "lockbox." I wasn't a Gore supporter but that was one of his campaign ideas that I at least liked in principle.

  • In reply to Perplexio:

    Yeah, old Al did get that idea right, proving a stopped clock is right at least twice per day. LOL.

    The gig will be up on most entitlements, at least in the way we know them and what was expected of them.

    That, as Obama is fond of saying, is "math".

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    rich my replies were routed twice to the same party and the last one was meant for you..oops as rick perry said..thank yuu as always for your kind comments

  • In reply to Perplexio:

    thank you for your comments. this article has started an important dialogue about a sensitive issue. It has impacted senior in an adverse way.

  • In reply to Perplexio:

    your comments are welcome and add to the discussion of this important for future generation. as one commenter said I was fortunate to be born in the early days of s.s. and then is doesn't help as we were denied additional benefits for 3 years.

  • There is so much wrong with your math, I don't know where to start. First of all, using a "meager 1% rate compounded monthly" is an incredibly large number to be using. Compounding monthly puts you at a real return of over 12.68%. Over the past 40 years, the average return on 30 year treasuries was less than half that. Then you took an income of 30k going back for 40 years. I really doubt there is anyone making 30k today that was making 30k 40 years ago. That was the equivalent of over 150k after counting inflation.

    I am sorry, but including reasonable interest, the average social security beneficiary gets out way more than they paid in, all at the expense of future generations.

    Oh... and yes, they do pay interest on the money they borrowed from the SS trust fund.

    You, and your generation, elected the people that voted huge tax breaks and benefits to you. That is why your income tax was as low as it was during the past 40 years. You should have been paying more in income taxes, but instead you borrowed the money from yourself. Now you expect generation X to pay you your entitlement... your welfare. Just have the decency to say thank you.

  • In reply to joshSD:

    your remarks join the ranks of those persons who have opened dialogue to this important issue not only for the present but the x generation to which you allude. thank you for your comment.

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