The government has proven they are incapable of operating a lemonade stand.

It’s official. In the words of Buddy Guy, “Well I done got old.” In a moment of bitter sweetness, I got my first Social Security (SS) check this week. 

I could have received it 4 ½ years ago, but decided to wait until full retirement age, 66 years, 6 months. For the rest of my life, I will get paid by the government on the second Wednesday of the month, minus Medicare insurance.  

According to the government earnings site, starting in 1972 when I paid in $228, I allowed the government to keep $210,073. Then my employers kicked in another $214,492, totaling $424,565 over 50 years. Imagine the amount had I been able to make interest off that money. 

SS was originally the brainchild of Dudley Leblanc in his failed 1932 attempt for Louisiana governor. Edwin Witte, known as the father of SS, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, used Lablanc’s idea to develop the concept for federally funded pension plans in 1934. It was then pushed through Congress by Frances Perkins, the Labor Secretary in the Franklin Roosevelt’s cabinet in response to the Great Depression. At that time, poverty rates for senior citizens exceeded 50 percent. 

The SS Act was enacted on August 14, 1935, during Roosevelt’s first term in office. He established the President’s Committee on Economic Security, using the infamous Keynesian Economics as part of the New Deal. This was the first time this country had established federal assistance for the elderly, identified as Title 1. Also hung on the New (Raw) Deal was Title 111 for unemployment insurance, Title 1V for Aid to Families with dependent children, Title V – Maternal and child Welfare, Titel V1 – public health services, and Title X for the blind. I wish they had established a Title for pleasingly plump good-looking truckers too. 

Initially, most women and part-timers were excluded from unemployment insurance and old age pensions. So were those who toiled at agricultural labor, domestic service, government employees, teachers, nurses, hospital employees, and social workers. These were jobs held mostly by women and minorities, so Roosevelt managed to exempt half the working population. 

The first SS payment went to Ernest Ackerman, retiring the day after SS began. He received seventeen cents after only paying in five cents. Ida May Fuller received the first monthly check on January 31, 1940. She had paid in $24.75 for the prior 3 years. Her first check was for $22.54. After she got the second check, she had already received more than she ever paid in. Then the old gal lived to be 100, collecting $22,889 in her lifetime. 

Since, SS has been constantly on the radar of politicians, causing many changes, adjustments, and court proceedings. Increases in the tax and retirement ages were made several times. Medicare and Medicaid were added to the SS Act in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson. 

Changes are still on the mind of politicians. There is a new SS Reform Bill, HR-4583 that has seven changes. As I understand them:

· Across the board benefit’s increase by roughly 3%

· Adjusting cost of living modifications to elderly consumers.

· Increased minimum benefits for long-term low earners.

· Elimination of government pension offsets and a windfall elimination provision. (Seems this would allow more opportunities to double-dip.) 

· Increasing payroll tax income to $400,000, an increase from the current $160,200. Whereas taxes stop after $160,200 in earnings in a given year, that amount will increase to $400,000. 

· An additional 12.4% investment income tax (SS tax) for individuals making over $400,000. 

· Combining the two SS trust funds – Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund together in order to “provide more flexibility in funding SS benefits.” (Then why were they separated in the first place?)

Naturally, every Democrat wants to pass this legislation. It’s shouted, yet again, this bill will prevent SS from going bankrupt. It’s passage is doubtful with an election looming. I bet its brought back out after the elections next November. 

Folks, SS was probably a good concept initially. (I know, I can say that now that I’m collecting.) The problem was that it was rushed through by the socialist Roosevelt due to the Depression, and then manipulated by politicians for nearly 90 years. 

The government has proven they are incapable of operating a lemonade stand. The program could have been better managed by private investment companies with limited governmental oversight. However, the harshest of penalties should be levied at anyone misusing the retirement of any American that basically loaned the program earnings from their paycheck their entire working life.    

Nothing has been said about why welfare and similar programs will not run out of money for those people who won’t work or pay taxes.