-- Social Security. This is the "untouchable" entitlement, which needs reform as much, or more, than any other federal program. Women, especially, get a raw deal with Social Security. Again, as The Heritage Foundation has noted, "Among retired workers, women received $300 less than men in Social Security benefits in 2010, collecting only $1,023 in monthly benefits on average. Women are more likely than men to lack all of the necessary 35 years of payroll tax contributions to qualify for full benefits, as many take time off from the workforce to care for children and elderly parents. And those who don't have a full work history are even worse off. Many seniors receive benefits below the federal poverty level."
Add to this the annual ritual of federal agencies spending millions of "leftover" dollars before the end of the fiscal year September 30 -- $562,000 on "artwork" by the Department of Veterans Affairs, $178,000 by the Coast Guard on "cubicle furniture rehab," according to The Washington Post -- and you understand why so many are cynical about government's track record of achievement and cost containment.
Space does not allow a full accounting of all federal agencies and programs that should be eliminated or reformed. And yet their budgets are auto-renewed each year, many programs even receiving an increase in the amount of taxpayer money they are allowed to waste. There is no congressional requirement that these agencies and programs prove themselves worthy of our money and, once spawned, government programs are virtually impossible to kill.
Given so much evidence of government's inability to make our lives better, what makes anyone think it will suddenly become competent running Obamacare? Only individuals, not government, can improve their lives by making right choices. Too often, government adds to our burdens with additional debt. It's the one job government does well.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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