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SOCIAL SECURITY: Will’s wrong to call it welfare

Letter by Mikel Olsson, DuPont on Dec. 23, 2010 at 9:10 am with 9 Comments »
December 23, 2010 2:33 pm

I’m tired of conservatives such as George Will referring to Social Security and Medicare as “welfare” and “entitlements.” Entitlement is the belief that you should get something for nothing.

By the time I retire (if I can retire), I’ll have paid FICA taxes for 50 years. According to actuarial tables, I’ll be lucky to get 20 years of Social Security before I die. That doesn’t sound like something for nothing.

Also, when I become eligible for Medicare, I will need to pay monthly premiums (in addition to what I’ve already paid in FICA). That is called “health insurance,” not “welfare.” Will should be smart enough to know the difference – if he weren’t blinded by conservative ideology.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. George Will has been called a “super intelligent trash compactor”.

    I really think that he shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than that.

  2. bobcat1a says:

    “Stupid is as stupid does.”-Forest Gump
    And intelligent is as ……?

  3. Sometimes George is really smart and sometimes he isn’t. This is one of those “isn’t” times. Maybe he is bipolar like most conservatives I know.

  4. beerboy was too generous by putting in the word Super!

  5. donjames says:

    Many parents have heard FICA Screams. Indignant children, holding in trembling hands their first paychecks, demand to know what FICA is and why it is feasting on their pay.

    FICA (the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax) is government compassion, expressed numerically: It is the welfare state; it funds Social Security and Medicare. Sometimes it makes young people into conservatives.

    GEORGE WILL; THE WASHINGTON POST
    Published: 12/23/1012:05 am

    Comprehension problems much, libs?

    And did any of you even bother to read the piece? Because if you had you might have noted these two paragraphs were merely an intro to an opinion on tax code reform advocacy – an opinion with which I think few Americans (outside of the bookkeeping/ accounting/ tax preparing industry) could possibly disagree.

    As to FICA, does Mikel really believe the current average of $1,200 per month SS payout will come close to equaling the comparative monthly pittance he/ she is currently paying in?

    The max a taxpayer currently is required to contribute each year is $6,621.60 on the first $106,800 of gross income. With the average US income in 2009 being about $50,600, that puts Mikel’s likely annual contribution at roughly $3,850 – at the current rate. (For the sake of argument, we won’t go back to the start of Mikel’s career to adjust the contribution rates downward). It doesn’t take a math wiz to realize that, using Mikel’s base of 20 years, his/ her payout would be $288,000, while his total contributions (again, at current rates) would have been less than $192,500.

    This is only for SocSec – we won’t even mention medicare benefits. And unlike an actual insurance policy that is paid-out only when the insured property is affected, SocSec and Medicare are entitlements.

    Smells like welfare to me.

  6. ItalianSpring says:

    Mikel- if you’re tired, take a nap. It doesn’t change the fact that they are social programs. “Conservative Ideology”? Do you ever watch any alphabet news? Sheesh.

  7. The fact that it has become an entitlement program and part of a vast welfare system is why those like you – for whom it is insurance – are being burned by the system.

  8. Sometimes I think George Will needs to limit his intellect to baseball. Social Security and Medicare are being demonized as “welfare.” These programs are not welfare. Both are insurance policies. There may be a serious question as to whether these programs are overly generous, mismanaged, etc. However, since the programs are collecting more taxes than payouts, it is not the cause of our country’s tax problems, not with over $2.5 trillion outstanding in special treasury bonds. The unresolved crisis is in the future.

    As to whether the payouts that exceed contributions, that may be an issue if the payouts are excessively high. The payouts are already weighted in favor of lower earning workers.

    Solve the long range problems of social security and medicare. The social security and medicare beneficiaries, which soon will include myself, need to quit complaining about the costs of maintaining their health. I was taught by my grandparents and parents that it is necessary to save when younger to support your lifestyle when older. Just like the rest of us, the elderly need to choose between health care costs and going to Palm Springs! Or down the road to Ocean Shores!

    It is interesting, in order to make the extension of Bush’s tax rates float, there will be a ‘holiday’ on FICA taxes. You also need to look at the computations for refunding the employee share of FICA when filing a tax return under the current tax code. The working poor need to have some ‘skin in the game.’

  9. commoncents says:

    Let’s see…what can we do to not make it an entitlement or welfare program. Oh yes, we can make it so that not everyone gets it. Ok, you don’t get it if you, or a spouse, doesn’t pay into it. Check! Ok, now we have to make it so that what you receive is in proportion to the premiums that you pay – the more you pay in the more you receive. Check! So now we have made it so that the poor and those who work under the table and such do not receive much, if any, of a benefit. What else can we do? Oh yes, let’s tax it so that those who continue to work after starting to receive the benefit don’t retain full benefit even if they need to work just to maintain a standard of living because they didn’t save…punishment for not saving is having to continue to work. Double penalty by being taxed? Check!

    Last piece of the puzzle? Means test the benefit including unearned and investment income so that those who truly don’t need the benefit do not receive it? How dare you!!! I earned that benefit, dammit!

    Seems to me the only people that feel “entitled” to the money are the ones that really don’t need it. And those for whom it would be a “welfare” check already don’t get it. Pretty clear to me who is taking advantage of the system.

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