I recently read a post by Chris Moody writing for Yahoo News. The focus was on Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, and his goals to fix what many Americans think of as broken entitlement programs: Social Security and Medicare—as if those two programs are the problem that has caused today’s U.S. National debt of almost $17 Trillion.
First, I want to examine the word “entitlement”, because today many see the word to mean the same as welfare but entitlement means “the fact of having a right to get something”.
Now, how did most Social Security recipients earn this entitlement? For me, I had to work for more than ten years and pay taxes into Social Security to earn the right to collect it later after I was in my mid-sixties, but now I will never see one dime from Social Security. I’ll explain why at the end of this post.
If you click on the link at the end of this paragraph, you will discover: “When you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn up to a maximum of four ‘credits’ for each year. The way you earn a credit has changed over the years. … During your lifetime, you probably will earn more credits than the minimum number you need to be eligible for benefits. These extra credits do not increase your benefit amount.” Source: Official Social Security Website
Did you see the words work, pay and earn—that explains how these two programs work?
Remember this: People who are entitled to and who collect Social Security have not contributed to the National Debt for this entitlement—not one penny. Why? Because the Social Security law clearly says that the program cannot be funded by any other source than the Social Security tax that was first collected in 1935.
In fact, for 2012, Social Security collected $840,190,000,000 [billions] and only paid out $785,781,000,000 in entitlements to Americans who earned those payments. And the Social Security trust fund had $2,732,224,000,000 [trillions] in assets at the end of that year—of course the real problem is that those assets are in the form of IOU’s from the U.S. Congress who spent all that money over the last seventy-seven years for other budget items.
Where did your Social Security’s funds go?
Do you know that the U.S. Congress can borrow and spend the money collected to fund Social Security from the Social Security tax but the same law says Social Security cannot be funded by any other tax?
Therefore, the United States Congress—our elected government—owes the American people Trillions of dollars. To escape the hole the U.S. Congress has dug for itself since 1935—a very deep hole—they have to demonize the Social Security and Medicare programs and manipulate public opinion to believe these programs are one of the causes of the National Debt.
Medicare, like Social Security, is funded by payroll taxes paid by most employees, employers, and people who are self-employed.… The Medicare Program is the second-largest social insurance program in the U.S., with 50.7 million beneficiaries in 2012. To learn more, I suggest you click on the following link: How is Medicare funded?
In 2012, Medicare collected $532.6 million and paid out $550 million but the deficit of $17.4 million was funded by its assets—savings account—that still had a balance of $301.2 million at the end of that year. Source: cms.gov
Conclusion: If Social Security and Medicare have not contributed one penny of the almost $17 Trillion U.S. National Debt, what spending programs did Congress approve in the last seventy-seven years that are responsible? What is it that America’s elected Congress doesn’t want the American voters to know?
Here is the answer to why I can’t collect the Social Security that I worked for and earned:
I started working at age 15 and by the age of 30—more than ten years of work [this includes my years as a U.S. Marine, and I am a Vietnam veteran] and five years of college later—when I went back to school to become a public school teacher, I had earned the right to collect Social Security.
But because I was a teacher in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005) and paid more than 8% of my earnings into the CalSTRS retirement system instead of Social Security for those thirty years, I was disqualified from collecting the Social Security I had earned between the ages of 15 and 30. The feds call it double dipping—something the US Congress had been doing since 1935 with the Social Security Trust Fund.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.
His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
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