Letters to the Editor
Social Security is not an entitlement program
As I followed the overly melodramatic debate in congress over the "fiscal cliff" I grew more and more disturbed with the attempts by the liberal-left to place at least part of the responsibility for our growing national deficit on the elderly by lumping social security and Medicare in with the parasitic "entitlement" programs that societal freeloaders depend on. While it is true that a great proportion, and by some measures the greatest proportion, of our financial problems are caused by there being more people riding in the wagon of our society than there are pulling that wagon, the elderly are not the freeloaders riding in the wagon they are the builders of the road that the wagon is riding on who are now taking a well earned rest.
We need to fix one reality in our minds and, in the strongest terms possible, make our elected representatives aware of our understanding of that reality . . . social security and its related programs are not "entitlement programs" in the sense the liberal-left, socialist, and progressives use that term; they are obligations of the federal government. Social Security and its adjunct programs are an annuity program that employees and employers were forced, by force of law, to participate in without the option to opt out. It is in a sense a contract that the federal government made with every working American that if they contributed to this annuity over their working lives at some fixed point in time, "retirement", the annuity would pay them, amongst other things, a sum certain (adjusted for the cost of living) for the rest of their lives. In view of our current national economic situation, the number of "free loaders" in our society, and the longevity of retirees this may now have proven to be a bad deal on the part of the government but that is not the problem nor fault of the holders of this annuity and does not give the government authority to unilaterally change the terms and condition of the contract with those already fully vested. Congress and the President have an obligation to resolve our present financial crisis but it needs to be made clear to them that they must disengage social security from any association with and discussion of "entitlement" programs and that social security is truly the "third rail" of politics and that any politician that attempts to paint those who have spent their lives as, and continue to be, productive members of society with the same brush as the parasitic sponges whose votes they buy with "entitlements" does so at the risk of his/her political life.
If the means to support the government's obligation to this social security annuity needs to be uncovered then it may be time to increase the numbers of those pulling the wagon by reducing the number of freeloaders riding in it, time to stop paying tribute masked as "foreign aid" and time to reduce the size of government using the savings incurred as that means while simultaneously adjusting the annuity contract for new participants in a manner to make it self sustaining.
Does society have a responsibility to help those that have fallen on hard times? Of course it does, but that help should always be a "hand up" and not a "hand out". The policies and programs of the socialist, the liberal-left, and the progressives in our government and society have raised generations born into "economic slavery". Generations willingly accepting gold-plated chains and manacles and who are made to feel "entitled" to be supported by the state at an economic level that in previous generations was achieved through the industry of the individual but which in these generations is considered just compensation for their votes; "The more you give us, the more you can be assured to be elected or re-elected," government by quid pro quo. If it is truly the intent of these new, cynical economic slave masters disguised as champions of the poor and middle classes to help those in our society struggling economically they would not be encouraging dependency on the state, class envy or employing class warfare; they would not seek to make the impoverished comfortable in their poverty but would be motivating the struggling to improve their status; they would be re-instilling in society the principle that no one is entitled to anything save the opportunity to succeed or fail based on one's own industry and that success and the fruits of that success are not negatives but are things to strive for.
Members of the Judiciary, some members of the Legislature, and (most assuredly) the Executive branch of our government have either forgotten or are consciously ignoring, as they have the constitution, the proper relationship between governors and the governed in a representative republic and the governed have tacitly accepted this violation of this basic social contract. The proper relationship is that those that govern are not the masters they are the servants, they do not dictate to but are answerable to the people that they govern, they do not grant and rescind rights but are tasked to protect them, and their function is not to foster idleness and dependency but to facilitate industry and independence. It is time for the governed, especially those that are most productive, to reassert their proper position in this relationship and demand that the annuity they are vested in remains inviolate. Failure to do so will quickly result in conversion of those chains of plated gold to ones forged of iron.