Star Parker

If no working American in his or her right mind would buy into Social Security today if there were a choice, then what does it mean, in our supposedly free society, that there is not a single politician who will openly discuss giving us the option to get out? What it means is that Social Security reform, as currently discussed, is focused on bailing out politicians and not American citizens. When politicians tell us that they are dedicated to "saving Social Security," they are telling us that they know the system no longer works, but they don't have the courage to end it. They are telling us they don't want to do the hard work of figuring out how to meet obligations to those who have already paid in and allow working Americans the option to exit from a very bad deal.

Rather than looking for opportunities to raise money to meet obligations by cutting the substantial fat out of our federal budget, or by looking for creative means for borrowing funds to meet obligations, politicians will shift the burden to us. They will raise our taxes or our retirement age or cut our benefits so they can "save the system."

Soon after I got off welfare, I started my own business. The first thing I discovered was the "self-employment tax." An entrepreneur who starts up a business is immediately forced to fork over more than 15 percent of earnings to the government, 12.4 percent of which is the Social Security tax. That was 20 years ago. If over those years I could have been putting those funds into my own retirement account, I would be considerably wealthier and would own a nice nest egg today.

They want to save this system? No thank you.

Of course, our nation should have a safety net for the unfortunate. But, in a free society, individuals should first be allowed to succeed before government decides it should step in. Social Security does the opposite. It first takes your money, assuming that you can't take care of yourself, and then leaves you whatever is left over. This makes sense in the USSR, not in the USA.

Mean household wealth among African-Americans today is less than $6,000. These folks do not need to be saved by raising their retirement age or their or anyone else's taxes. They need to be saved by being allowed to be free and keep and save what they earn.

Where are today's leaders? Where are our honest men and women?

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.