For background on this, go to this page:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/sschanges.asp

I’ll start this post by saying, it amazes me how many people read these stupid forwards and then pass along erroneous information without checking out to see if it’s actually factual or not. I remember a friend telling me that Target was a French company that had horrible Veteran’s policies. About a month later, I got a forward which told me where, exactly, she got that completely nonfactual information.

Though, the point of this post is not to point out the completely erroneous information in the forward above, that was sent to me a few days ago. Though, considering I studied The Greatest Generation (and, therefore, social security) in a class last year, I couldn’t even get through half the email without getting angry at how, well, untrue everything in that email was, such as the program was supposed to be voluntary (it wasn’t), the program was supposed to be taken out of income taxes (it wasn’t), and that they were taking TOO MUCH money.

Um, if you want someone to blame for the large percentages of income being taken out, I’m not saying you should hold Johnson and Carter harmless, but certainly don’t let Nixon and Ford off the hook, either, as they 100 percent supported that.

No, see, if you want to know the real problems with social security, read these facts:

1. Social security was never meant to be a de facto pension. Many elderly people say, “But I can’t live off of $12,000 a year!” Good. You’re not supposed to live off of it. THAT really was not the intention. The intention was for widows and children who lost the household’s sole breadwinner in order to help; and for those people who wanted to spend their last few years not working, as supplemented by savings and/or a pension.

2. The Baby Boomer Bubble has busted. They’re all retiring. They didn’t replace themselves quite as well as the Greatest Generation did – not saying they should have, but if there are less people making money, there is less money going into the FICA coffers.

3. People are living too long. When Social Security was put in place, you could collect at 62, and the life expectancy was something like 65. Many people didn’t even live long enough to collect it. Now, people are living well past 80, and have been collecting it for over 20 years, when they were only supposed to collect it for about 2-3 years. However, if anyone suggests upping the retirement age to, say, 70, you hear more of a backlash than just canning the program entirely.

Case in point: I had this discussion with a friend a couple of years ago, and she said that her grandmother died at 73, and it was “ridiculous” to think that she could have “only” been retired for 10 years or less. I don’t understand how a 10 year or less retirement is ridiculous. What is ridiculous is 30 year retirements. There are some people who will be retired for longer than they were employed! How is that considered okay?

Of course, we must also keep in mind, that social security is going bankrupt not because of any of the reasons listed above, but because Bush & Co. are borrowing against it to fund the country’s massive deficit, which is exacerbated by an unjust war. However, that’s another issue entirely.

One erroneous fact in Snopes, however, was divorcing social security from SSI and SSD (supplemental security income and supplemental security disability) – while, no, these aren’t FICA, they are administered by the Social Security Administration. Though, as Snopes points out, they aren’t *exactly* the same thing, and many people reading that forward would not know the difference.

The person who sent me this forward is a so-called Christian. He is a good person – a hard worker, a good father, and an all-around good person. I would say, for the most part, he exemplifies a “true Christian” – something I can’t say for many people who just go to Church on Sundays.

Obviously, passing on erroneous information does not make you a “bad” Christian, by any means, but the last lines of the forward (scroll ALL the way down to the bottom of the Snopes page … oh, you don’t have it open? You can open it in a new tab in Mozilla Firefox. Oh, you don’t have Firefox? WHY NOT?), where it talks about how Jimmy Carter allowed immigrants to collect social security. As it points out, no one is eligible to collect it unless they’ve paid into it; and anyone who has paid into it is eligible. Legal immigrants work and contribute to society, why the hell shouldn’t they be able to collect it? And since when did “immigrant” become a dirty word? Most of our grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants.

Yet, so many “Christians” are all for shutting them out of the system completely. Since when did the tale of the Good Samaritan become a moot point? We flip out about abortion, gay marriage, and premarital sex, but we don’t seem to care that people don’t treat their neighbors with love and respect. That above all should be a Christian’s primary concern. And, if our neighbor makes a home here, and contributes to the well-being of our society, then absolutely he is entitled to the same benefits as someone who was born here.

I added “Republicans” to this subject line, because this isn’t about Democrat or Republican. Both parties are responsible for social security as it is today (which, up until 20 years ago, was pretty damned wonderful). It’s the fascist nationalist greedy capitalists (if you can call them capitalists – I don’t really think that’s an accurate description, either, as their brand of “capitalism” is hardly what Adam Smith had in mind) who don’t want to let those dirty, working class proletariats get their hands on THEIR hard-earned (by their stockbrokers) money. Like they’re taking so much of it, anyway. And, no, there shouldn’t be a total even redistribution, as that’s been proven not to work. But when did it become okay to not only turn our backs on the weakest members of our society, but it became acceptable to shun anyone who proposes that we do help them? Of course, this issue runs so much deeper than social security …

That’s not very Christian, if you ask me.

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