Americans for the last sixty years have believed that Congress was saving the money sent in as FICA premiums for old age. They have also believed that they were paying billions in Medicare insurance premiums so that once they turned sixty-five; they wouldn't have to worry about scrambling for medical insurance in their retirement years.
The problem with this perception is that it was a gigantic fraud foisted on the public while the permanent establishment in Washington over spent. Programs in Washington were started to placate or buy off almost every group of voters from farmers to business owners.
When demographics worked in their favor with more young than old, the Congress just stole the pension money and spent it. Business was at the head of the gravy train, benefiting on everything from financing for the sale of Boeing airplanes to protecting bankers from going broke when their complex finance schemes ended in disaster.
At the top of the benefits pile-up is government workers. These workers have premium wages, premium benefits and premium pensions. And as USA TODAY pointed out this week, they are more at risk from death than from layoff once they get a coveted job with the US Government.
But now the demographic tide has turned. All of the Baby Boomers born after World War II want to retire. They all paid in their entire working lives. Whoops! The cupboard is bare, and the only way to pay all their claims on the vanished money is to borrow, borrow and borrow some more.
But most cynical in the Gang of Six proposal is what is called the "chained" CPI. This is code for changing the way social security checks will increase with inflation. High inflation, together with the Gang of Six proposals, will make seniors poorer, while protecting the discretionary spending from reform.
Remember, the key word is power. This discretionary spending money is the key tool they use to stay in power.
©2011 Floyd and Mary Beth Brown. The Browns are bestselling authors and speakers. To comment on this column, e-mail email@example.com. Together they write a national weekly column distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Floyd is also president of the Western Center for Journalism. For more info call Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.