We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, June 18, 2012

Social Security Money Is Not Like T-bills

Click here to access article by Allen W. Smith from Dissident Voice. 

Probably because I am dependent on it, I have been roughly following Social Security issues for a number of years. If I were more naive, I would think that no one else really understands Social Security except for this author. Everyone else takes this program as advertised: as a conventional "trust fund". The Wikipedia entry defines this as follows:
In common law legal systems, a trust is a relationship whereby property (real or personal, tangible or intangible) is held by one party for the benefit of another. ...The trustee owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries, who are the "beneficial" owners of the trust property.
Thus every author I've ever read, except Allen Smith, writes about Social Security as being a typical trust fund. But like everything else in the capitalist political facade, it is a fake trust fund. That is, it is made to look like a conventional trust fund, but it isn't really. It is just like the widely ballyhooed "democracy" we enjoy by participating in carefully managed elections. Can it be that no one else in academia really understand this? I doubt it. It is more likely that they dare not reveal the hoax for what it is because the One Percent's enforcers would make life difficult for them. Allen Smith apparently is courageous and, as a retired professor, he is fairly well insulated from repercussions. 

The ruling One Percent has been happy to use this money from working people to pay for all their foreign adventures until in recent decades when they could see that a trend was appearing on the horizon: the payouts would soon be catching up with the payments received. It was then that they started thinking about other arrangements. 

Roughly we can categorize these arrangements as liberal and conservative pushed by their two parties labeled Democratic and Republican. Their different strategies are illustrative of the style differences of these two parties--aggressive versus slow, but both for the same end.

The Republicans want to slash it's benefits drastically and privatize it so that they can invest the money through Wall Street. Whereas the Democrats want to slowly strangle it by raising the age when one can receive benefits, fixing the formula that calculates benefits to reduce them, and the most brilliant idea of all, cut Social Security payroll taxes so that the so-called fund is depleted which will justify slashing benefits or killing the program altogether. The fact that worker's payments are called "taxes" and not "premiums" is revealing of what the program really is: just another tax on working people to be used for whatever purpose the One Percent's political operatives desire which, of course, has been mostly invading other countries and killing its citizens to secure profits for US corporations and extend the Empire.