Skip to comments.An American Perspective (SS & Term limits)
Posted on 10/08/2004 8:26:29 AM PDT by qam1
Perhaps the most daunting battle on the horizon for Generations X and Y is the uphill struggle for social security benefits. While our fathers and grandfathers have been paying into social security for the past 70 years and are currently being compensated, roughly in full, the situation is bleak for Americas youth. The baby boomers are now retiring, which means that massive sums of money are being poured out of social security. Meanwhile, Generations X and Y are working to support the huge baby boomer generation. It has been estimated that somewhere around the year 2016, the amount of money working Americans will be putting into the system will be less than the amount the baby boomers will be receiving in benefits. Therefore, the U.S. government is currently buying bonds which will help alleviate the burden on Generations X and Y--that is, until the year 2038. In 2038, around when Generations X and Y are beginning to retire, the government bonds will all have been cashed in, leaving little to pay for their retirement. Therefore, the youth of America must rise to the occasion, and act now to prevent this impending disaster.
Many in Congress believe that social security can be saved by raising taxes, which would add more money into the program now in order to avoid the turmoil in a few decades. However, those that are now starting to work must realize that the benefits they will receive from social security when they retire will amount to little. If taxes are raised to salvage the system, working Americans will be throwing even more money into a social program that will prove insignificant in their retirement. Another option is to cut social security benefits, and allow Americans to privately invest their money. However, this is not a viable option for politicians, who quite possibly would sign their death warrant by advocating a cut in social security benefits.
With a presidential election on the horizon and a massive movement from both campaigns urging Americas youth to vote, we must consider our future. While both John Kerry and George Bush attempt to appeal to young voters, their actions certainly do not reflect their appearance. Less than a year ago, perhaps the largest expansion of a social program in American history occurred with the passing of a 400-billion dollar Medicare bill, intended to help cover prescription drug costs for 40 million older Americans, at the expense of younger Americans. Neither candidate has advocated reducing the social programs, due to interest group pressure and needed votes from older Americans, who of course have a much higher voter turnout.
Perhaps some young Americans would like to take action, but they will find it very discouraging, given the lack of political power given to our youth. Currently, the average age of a House member is roughly 54, and that of a Senator is nearly 60. How can men and women three times my age fully understand and represent my beliefs, concerns, and values as a 19-year old? They simply cant, and it is for this reason that I believe major legislative reform is due in Washington. This nations forefathers never intended politics to become a permanent profession, and it is time to carry out their original intentions. With men such as Strom Thurmond, who served 47 years in the Senate, as well as Ted Kennedy, who to date has served 41 years in the Senate, it is no wonder why Americas youth are disillusioned with politics.
I firmly believe that career politicians contribute to much of the waste and gridlock in Washington. I am consequently advocating a 28th amendment to the U.S. constitution to impose term limits on both House as well as Senate members. Presently, over 90% of incumbents in Washington are reelected, which results in very little change between congressional sessions. If Americans truly want to end bureaucratic mismanagement and inefficiency, how can they possibly expect results when some of the same congressmen have been serving since the Presidency of Gerald Ford? Not only do I have faith that this amendment will help resolve the problems of my generation, but I also believe many ethnic minorities and unheard voices will gain more political power. With a constantly changing government in Washington, gridlock may fall, ideological conflicts may be averted, and legislation may be passed much more smoothly and proficiently.
While the results of social programs continue to mount on young Americans, old politicians will do their best to ignore their requests for assistance, and seek to carry out the wishes of more influential groups. I am well aware that passing a constitutional amendment is an arduous task, and obtaining support from Congress for an amendment that will effectively fire them from their long-held positions would not be taken kindly. Nevertheless, if legislators sincerely believed that the youth deserve a voice in Washington, they would not only give us the ability to cast a vote, but also the ability to create change ourselves. Perhaps politicians should act now, lest Americas youth begin chanting the revolutionary phrase, No taxation without representation!
Joshua Powers is a staff columnist for the DSJ. His views do not necessarily represent those of the entire staff.
I support reasonable term limits. Two terms for Senators and four or five terms for Representatives.
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social aspects that directly effects Gen-Reagan/Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.
Theft is wrong. Period.
Younger people have only themselves to blame for the SS problem. Simply put, they don't vote and when they do vote it is generally for liberal candidiates and causes. I've been there, believe me. It wasn't until I made it to my mid twenties that I started to get it that democrats weren't my friends.
Solution: MOBILIZE. Demand that your elected officials stop selling you down the river just to buy out the senior vote. Start talking with your friends and get them to understand that privatizing SS is your only hope. I no longer believe in SS so I have my own 401K to pay for me when I get too old to work any longer. Oh, and don't be afraid to remind seniors that they didn't pay for the drug benefit that they are receiving and furthermore, griping about the cost of drugs that weren't available as recently as 10 years ago that are keeping them alive longer is foolish.
This is BS.
I was born in 1946. That happens to be the same year that the first baby boomer appeared.
A quibble first, though. You don't define baby boomers as to when they were born, but how they were raised in contrast to how their parents were raised.
A baby boomer is someone who was raised on TV, though his parents were not.
Now since baby boomers first appeared in 1946, the oldest one would be 58.
You can't retire and draw social security when you're 58. In fact, I think you can't get full social security until you're 66.
Anyway, I just hate it when some asshole says the baby boomers are now retiring.
'Younger people have only themselves to blame?!?!?!'
Who put the system in place? Who is the bulk of the population, voting or no? What politician has EVER responded to youth concerns, voters or not?
I'm sorry, but shifting the blame to Gen X and Y doesn't work. Blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the so-called "greatest generation" and their suckup sons and daughters in the boomer cohort who perpetuate this redistributionist thievery.
We Xers just get to clean up the mess and pay the bills. No social security for us, just the joy of working until we drop (unless we salt a pile away in a Roth or 401K--assuming the government doesn't start dipping into those, too). Gen Y might actually have a shot at their paychecks being SS and tax-free after GenX takes the hit.
As to your suggestion that mobilization is the answer, it ain't. "Lead or Leave" didn't do squat, nor will any 'mobilization' efforts aimed at reforming social security by young people. There are only two real solutions for young people who don't want to be raped by the government out of either their tax dollars or social security "trust funds:"
1) Leave for a while. The first 70K (might be more now) of income outside the U.S. is tax free. Many countries don't take out much in the way of retirement benefits from the paychecks of foreigners. Since you won't get social security anyway, there's very little incentive to contribute to it, and seeing the world will give you a better appreciation of how good the U.S. has it (plus it'll allow you to move your voter registration to a more battleground state if you want to vote and have it count). And some countries will even give you BACK your retirement contributions to THEIR systems if you're leaving! I found it a nice way to start my own retirement fund outside of Social Security, one that actually is secure!
2) Vote and volunteer for a candidate. Not a party. A candidate. Get them to depend on you, and focus only on this issue. Single issue voters and volunteers influence candidates more than voters who care about everything.
A baby boomer is defined in lots of different ways by different people, but the crux of the definition is that there were a boatload of kids born after WWII vets came home. And vets started coming back well before 1946. So restricting the generation to those born after that year seems silly.
Strauss and Howe have written on this extensively, and I like their defining the generations' years. Of course there will be different mindsets within each generation. But generally, with the same shared experiences (U.S. position in the world, a post-war boom economy, and the coddling of the so-called "greatest generation") the Boomers were born from about 1940-1959.
Thanks for making me remember one of the defining moments of MY generation...I still remember New math being foisted on us like it was some great idea. "What if 12+2 really equalled 16?"
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