I have been thinking a lot about social security for years. Not in terms of the debate now raging, though. I have been thinking about how to get social security insurance, SSI. Why? Life hit me in the back with a sledgehammer when I was five, and I've spent a good deal of my existence too sick to work. Sometimes paralyzed, s in too much pain to walk for almost a year, and now... When my spine is too broken up and scarred for medical science to do much more than try to make me comfortable. When my condition became worse six years ago, I found myself suddenly penniless without any hope of getting back to work.
Social security became the only option I had to maintain my independence.... Without it, I would be in some sort of home.... There would be no shows, no blog, no paintings and drawings. I would be too preoccupied with just keeping my stomach fed to care for the finer nuances of life. I would probably be a wino, I suppose? Who knows? I don't even like to go there. In other countries I would be even worse off, starving slowly to death in the streets of some slum with open sewage.
Here in America though, we have a safety net that is supposed to catch people like me. This is social security. Right now, a lot of people are acting like because social security is good, that any changes in this organization are bad. Well, that's not very good logic. Like most people, I have grave reservations about Bush, but that hardly means that he can't do anything right. Social Security does need changes, and he should be applauded for bringing this 'vote killing' topic into the national debate.
I am wary of anything that assumes people know what they are doing, or will do the right thing all the time. Let alone save money. I live in a crew of folk where few of us can save a dime. We struggle every month. And most people are like me, not like those who can save. Not being able to save money due to medical bills or being an obsessive artist or whatever is not a crime. Never should be. It will become so if people are individually in charge of their retirement savings. This simply is not fair. To those who do have enough income to save, it seems fair of course. They don't know why they should help any one who they don't want to.
What folly. Let them have my spine for a year and see how they feel. I doubt this logic could hold up to any serious argument.
The other matter in this debate, though, is how the money that is in social security is being used. It is invested in safe, yet very low yielding bonds or something. They make like 1% on the money. Now, obviously, this money could probably earn more in the stock market... Especially if the best minds in the economic sector were put together. Okay?
The other matter is letting young people have some of their money back to invest as they will, in some limited way. If the further investing of social security can lessen the burden these young people have to put up to insure the retired are living with dignity, then I see nothing wrong with that. However, what are we going to do with the others, the ones who are not knowledgeable or brainy enough to invest correctly? Do we let them die in the streets?
That won't happen. We will as a society have to get together and help them. In some way. There will always be taxes, and people will always pony up a little bit for the underdog. We are noble apes, after all....
So, my attitude is 'wait and see.' Not that you should give a damn what I think, of course.... You have to do all that 'thinking' stuff for yourself.