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Free? For who...?
Straight Talk | 24-February-2005 | Ron Pickrell

Posted on 02/24/2005 8:04:26 PM PST by pickrell

One of the strangest words of the English language has four letters. Somehow it seems more obscene than the rest. The word "free" paints for the reader an idea of something that has no cost. It is a reasonable interpretation, at first glance. Unfortunately, it has also become a well known, and ruthlessly effective tool to seduce the unwary. And the price can be staggering.

How many times per day do you hear about this or that being "free"? What is usually meant, is that the costs to everyone involved have been ignored by mutual agreement, and will merit no further investigation. What is increasingly meant, is that the costs will be borne by those who are in no position to object. If they further haven't even been born yet, the debate is compellingly carried in favor of those who share in the present distributions of their future heritage. Game, set and match... by default. Before they were even born.

When the government provides anything to the citizen for free, do people still actually believe that no cost is attached? It is apparently true, that if we can bind the yet unborn to paying the bill, with interest computed, for what we now award to ourselves, we could perversely apply the word "free", and no one who is carrying off the booty will object?

After all, they are only getting their "fair share". Free health care, free prescriptions, free education, etc, etc. Ever wonder where all of this "free" money came from?

No one who pays income tax will normally be fooled hearing about free government money... except where the Social Security system comes into play. Something curious occurs when the magic dust of the phrase "pension money" is sprinkled into the conversation. At that point, many who have labored all of their lives to provide for their family, while watching others hitting the lawsuit jackpot, or collecting settlement money extorted from corporations, suddenly have a change of heart about the concept of "fair share".

After all, you'd be a sucker not to grab your fair share.

As has been pointed out so many times before, Social Security is now funded by only part of the money taken in from workers. The rest of the money taken in- the part that is over and above what is needed for payouts to recipients, $150 billion- (that's $ 150,000,0000,000.00 per year at present), is handed to Congress to spend on whatever pork project that they feel will help them get elected.

This "extra" money was connived by devious officials who years ago sold the American Public that Social Security had to be "saved", and that by the government collecting this "extra" money, a trust fund would thereby be built up to provide for your retirement.

It was, is, and ever shall be, a complete and total fraud. An inexcusable lie. It was never invested- it was looted.

If this money had been put into assets which would earn a return, such as municipal bonds, home mortgages, or any of a host of investments that have safely enriched some of the wealthiest investors on the planet, instead of being spent in order to hand out "free stuff" to politicians' constituents, there would be no Social Security problem now, or ever.

Compounded returns, like compounded interest, produce enough profits to build those magnificent, Italian-granite-clad buildings that you see in herds, in Chicago and New York... as well as Riyahd and Tripoli.

Indeed, if this money had not been squandered, then the entire amount paid yearly by Americans in interest on their home mortgages would eventually be waiting for them... at their retirement!

But this was not done, and so the "extra" money collected from the American worker, that he was assured was being "saved" for his retirement... is gone. It doesn't exist. It doesn't matter that he now considers this "unfair". It paid for all of that "free" government stuff that he demanded from his congressman. And now it's gone.

The good news is that word is slowly getting out about the sorry con-job that Social Security played on us as a group. President Bush has decided, correctly, that now, this moment in history, will likely be the last possible time that Social Security can be perhaps really be "saved". At this point several things can happen.

(1)... The "extra" money that is being handed to Congress to spend- that 150 billion in "free" money that no Congressman had to honestly face taxpayers over, will no longer be used for non-retirement purposes, but will instead be retained by the taxpayer in privately owned, publically administered accounts, and build in value over the years, from actual returns, from honest investments... bearing interest and dividends. In this case, Congress will no longer have $150,000,000,000.00 extra every year to overspend, and will either have to:

(1).A: ...cut back spending- [sorry, I didn't mean to make you spew coffee through your nose. Fetch a hanky and we will continue...] This option, (1) A:, will be fought to the last dying breath by a Congress which has no intention of EVER spending less of your money than they did the year before.

(1).B: ...raise income taxes, or create some other new taxes to continue the orgy of government spending.

(2)... The "extra" money will still go into private accounts as in (1) above, but will be "replaced" by additional taxes levied upon those making over $ 90,000.00 in earned income, thereby continuing the fiction that the extra money collected is in any way connected to retirement, while actually continuing to provide Robert Byrd with funds for more monuments to name after himself. We don't know what he will do after he has entirely paved West Virginia over.

(3)... Additional "extra", extra money will be collected from all working taxpayers, not just those making over $ 90,000.00, by increasing everyone's percentage of their FICA taxes, and thereby "saving" Social Security even more, by upping the amount Congress can spend on pork projects by yet another fifty or another hundred billion, on top of the 150 billion currently spent as "extra" money. "But-", you will ask, "...if Congress is already collecting $150,000,000,000.00 more from us than we currently need to pay recipients, exactly how will collecting $250,000,000,000.00 more than we currently need help??? Won't that just indebt future generations even more, merely so that we can spend even more money now...?"

{Sigh}, you just don't seem to understand. If we can force future generations to replace all of that extra money we are currently spending now- then why can't we further force them to pay even more? It sounds like party time... to me.

And we'll just tally up all of this additional "extra" extra spending, display a Grand Canyon full of government IOU's, and thus assure the citizenry that because of the newest "fix", that their grandchildren will be squeezed even drier, into paying even more money, and thereby keep Social Security solvent until they all collapse and die under the debt burden. By our pretty, multicolored graphs, we can show that by draining their blood, later, and perhaps even selling their DNA- Now that I think of it, though, ..it is unclear, what we do after that...?

(4)... We can continue on our present course, and merely crush our grandchildren under debt. [Is any of this starting to have an inescapable, tediously familiar ring to it? If I told you that the ponzi scheme was teetering, would you look upwards to verify?] After all, under force of Federal Marshalls, we can compel our grandchildren to fork over as much of their future paychecks as we decide that we want to spend on ourselves right now, correct? So what is different about option (4), from (1), (2), or (3)? Well, to hear Jack Kemp tell it- the ink is a slightly different color...

Why would some of these choices even be considered?

Because the unscrupulous in Congress, (which leaves out several janitors and a cook, I hear), can convince many ordinary taxpayers that returning the money back to the retirement system, would somehow need to be "paid for". Is that great or what? It's like Machine Gun Kelly telling the banks that the money the State Police took from him and returned to the bank after the robbery would have to be "paid for". If we divert Social Security money back into something as risky as... well, Social Security- we will increase the deficit! Translation: They will not reduce their overspending, so the looted FICA funds, buying all of this free government stuff for us all, will have to be replaced. There is, after all, no question of cutting off the flow of more free stuff for us.

After all... it's free.

There is no present consituency for:

(5)... Beginning to live within our means.

This last outrageous wacko idea will not be even seriously suggested until the citizens of the United States awaken to the reality that having your cake and eating it too... is merely a ruthless case of stealing from your grandchildren. That if we don't want to pay for ever-increasing government, we must begin to campaign for less free stuff. It's unheard of and yet- it's been said a thousand times before, but never actually considered. First, we will have to care...

In short- if we refuse to surrender to tax increases even more of the money that we use to house and educate our children, then the Government will just have to indenture our grandchildren even further, by futher borrowing and the resultant expansion of the Federal debt. It is a Hobson's choice that is false and phony. But it is all that you are likely to hear.

Ten million federal bureaucrats who produce nothing except mountains of paper need to be paid each week. And we need to continue to relentlessly add to their numbers, since no amount of government is ever enough.

We tried cutting back the military and the intelligence services in the Clinton Administration, and found that cutting off our arms to save blood flow for our bellies... was not the wisest decision in modern times. We have successfully prevented energy exploration from inconveniencing any more caribou, and now hemorrage more dollars overseas to fund terrorists than ever before. Also... a galaxy-class stupidity.

Now the Left argues that we need to cough up trillions of dollars in Carbon Dioxide credits to the rest of the world, to even the playing field. Not to actually save the environment, (since even they admit that no difference will possibly be made by our financial hari-kiri), but rather to somehow feel better about ourselves.

Failing that, we must turn over 75% of the world's surface to the United Nations, to enable the greatest act of piracy ever known on the planet. We'll call this the "law of the seas treaty", since "Rule of the Jungle" is already taken.

After all, we need to save the planet for our grandchildren...

After all, we clearly have the money....

And speaking of reparations....

How do you argue with this kind of logic?

We can "save" Social Security by beginning to invest a portion of the revenues... with the result that over the coming years, the individual retirement accounts will eventually earn enough to replace part of- (yes only PART OF)- what is now a growing and crushing burden assigned to our grandchildren. That is because we waited this long to fix this problem. If, back in the seventies, (when we elected to mandate that the "extra" FICA money be "invested" in government bonds), we had instead actually invested the money... this discussion would not even be occurring now.

But since the ones who argued that it wasn't a problem, THEN, won the day- we NOW find that FICA/IRA accounts would now only solve part of our problem. That is the prize we all won for succumbing to the "Well, it isn't really a problem, yet" argument, in favor of the "Gosh this will give us $ 150,000,000,000.00 each year to hand out free stuff...We'll remain incumbents forever!" argument.

Somehow, that argument has lost a lot of it's initial luster. Shall we wait again?

What the new retirement accounts will earn- our grandchildren won't be forced to pay.

The argument against it, is that since our children will still be crushed under repaying the Social Security money that we have already spent, and repaying the interest and principal on the National Debt; and since we can't eliminate all of what we have foisted upon them, then why remove any of the onerous burden we have piled onto them? In fact, let's destroy any prayers that the little buggers will ever have for the future.

Would you like to solve this little problem before your grandkids know real despair?

I'll tell you how I would do it, knowing that I would get exactly 3 votes in a national election.

I'd insist that it's time to put EVERYTHING on the table, and ask just what you would sell your grandchildren into economic indenture for. And demand answers. No one get's off the hook.

The first program manager who told me that "Well, we HAVE to spend all of our money...or else they'll give us even less next year-"

...would be in the unemployment line even quicker than Hillary can spot a photo opportunity.

Every last manager would explain exactly what National Security Function was provided by each dollar spent. Every last employee would explain why everyone else's grandchildren need to be economically indentured because of the Critical work that he or she provides to us all.

But we all know that would only be a drop in the barrel. A good start, that would last until the demagogues emerge from the sewers.

Honesty Time. The only real way that spending will be restrained, will take place in front of the camera. Because it is public opinion that drives policy. Anything else is just messing about.

When the onslaught of pitiable old ladies, helpless school children and other victims, are endlessly paraded in front of the news audience like so many human shields protecting turf and funding, only a few hard-core bad guys like me would turn the cameras to a sandbox. And only a few cold unfeeling misers like me would ask the American people one question.

What makes your entitlement so special that these kids will never know the hope that you had growing up?

Again, everything else is just messing about.

But-but-but...the argument is that it's not a problem right now. Sound familiar?

Well, it isn't a problem.

For now, anyway...

For us, anyway...


TOPICS: Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: free; grandchildren; socialsecurity

1 posted on 02/24/2005 8:04:27 PM PST by pickrell
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