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Want to Win the Youth Vote, Talk About Social Security

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Hey working young people, the government is stealing your money and not just once, every two weeks. We should applaud Rick Perry for being open and honest about the real situation of Social Security and youth voters should take note that Perry is looking out for them.

Last night during the GOP Presidential Debate at the Reagan Library, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said “Social Security is working for millions of Americans.”

Well Mr. Romney, Social Security may be working, but it’s working on the backs of young people who are being lied to and scammed out of hundreds of dollars every two weeks when they get their paycheck.

“In the book Fed Up! Governor [Perry] you say that by any measure Social Security is a failure. You can’t say that to tens of millions of Americans who live on Social Security and those who have lived on it. The Governor [Perry] says states ought to be able to opt-out o f Social Security,” Romney said. “Under no circumstances, under any measure would I say it’s a failure.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry on the other hand, declared Social Security was a “Ponzi scheme,” because at minimum, that’s what it is, and was the only candidate in the Reagan debate to mention and address the 25-30 year-old demographic.
“You cannot keep the status quo in place and not call it anything other than a Ponzi scheme, it is, that is what it is, Americans know that and regardless of what anyone says, ‘oh it’s not,’ and that’s provocative language, maybe it’s time we have some provocative language in this country,” Rick Perry replied. “It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years today you're paying into a program that's going to be there,” adding, “Anybody that's for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it's not right.”

Ponzi scheme: an investment swindle in which some early investors are paid off with money put up by later ones in order to encourage more and bigger risks

Scam: a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation

Fraud: deceit, trickery; specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right

Plunder: to take the goods of by force, pillage, sack, to take by force or wrongfully : steal, loot, to make extensive use of as if by plundering, use or use up wrongfully

Yes, seniors and those close to retirement who have paid into Social Security their entire lives are in fact entitled to that money, because it’s their money. But that’s the point. Young people are currently paying into the system, but won’t collect a dime of what is being taken out of their paycheck by the government when they reach retirement age.

It has been suggested that Social Security be replaced with a government savings/retirement account, but we already have numerous accounts to choose from in the private sector (which has been proven more efficient in the past 30 years than government) to invest and save and even grow our money: 401k, CD, Savings, IRA, Stock Market, etc.

For example, if a working person in their early twenties puts 15 percent of each paycheck into a 401K, there is potential for their money to grow substantially, into the millions of dollars. Other private retirement plans offer similar benefits.


How much would that money grow in the government Social Security “coffer?” Zero. As soon as the government takes money, it is worth negative amounts because it has already been spent.

The Social Security tax being taken out of the paychecks of youth voters isn’t being put aside for their future, it’s being spent as soon as it is taken out. Social Security funds are literally worth more stored under a mattress for 50 years than with the federal government.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts funds for the program will be exhausted as early at 2035.

We examined the percentage of simulations in which the trust funds are exhausted by a specific year. In 42 percent of CBO’s simulations, the funds are exhausted by 2035. In 84 percent of the simulations, the trust funds are exhausted by 2050. In 97 percent of the simulations, the trust funds are exhausted by 2085.

President Obama admitted in July that Social Security is broke and isn’t working as the government continues to promise.

"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Mr. Obama said in an interview with CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley, according to excerpts released by CBS News.

If politicians are so set on “improving” or “reforming” Social Security (which is less than promising, when has the government ever “improved” or “reformed” a government entitlement program efficiently? Never) they should at least give young people the option to opt-out of this fraudulent and dishonest government program.  If young people believe the government is better at saving their money, fine. If young people want to save their own money, ensuring it will be there for the future, even better.

Economist Thomas Sowell pointed out in June:

Someone needs to say to those who want Social Security and Medicare to continue on unchanged: "Don't you understand? The money is not there any more."

This is not some newly discovered problem. Innumerable economists and others pointed out decades ago that Social Security was unsustainable in the long run, including yours truly on "Meet the Press" in 1981.
But the long run doesn't count for most politicians, since elections are held in the short run. Politicians' election prospects are enhanced, the more goodies they can promise and the less taxes they collect to pay for them.

That is why welfare states in Europe as well as here are facing bitter public protests as the chickens come home to roost.

It has been said innumerable times that nobody already on Social Security will lose their benefits. But it needs to be spelled out emphatically, so that political demagogues will not be able to scare retired seniors that they are going to have the rug pulled out from under them.

Retired seniors have the least to fear from a reform of Social Security, since neither political party is about to take away what these retirees already have and are relying on.

Despite irresponsible political ads showing an old lady in a wheel chair being dumped over a cliff, the people who are really in danger of being dumped over a cliff are the younger generation, who are paying into Social Security but are unlikely to get back anything like what they are paying in.

The money that young workers are paying into Social Security today is not being put aside to pay for their retirement. It is being spent today, paying the pensions of the retired generation -- and it can't even cover that in the years ahead.

Social Security is a failure and it will fail to deliver on promises made to those currently paying into the system.

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