Social Security...and Generational Trust
Suddenly I had a thought: why DO the young people have to pay for the boomer's retirement. Think logically: If there are so may baby boomers now, there must have been a hell of a lot of baby boomers then...all paying into the system all these years? Where did all that FICA money go? The answer of course is: the government spent it...on things other than social security...much like the corporations have underfunded (isn't that such a nicer word than spent or stole or 'dipped their hand in the "rainy day" money jar') the many now-defaulted corporate pension funds. The US government (I have this feeling it all started under Lyndon Johnson--the master of political and economic sleight of hand) wanted to keep on spending--Viet Nam War, the Great Society...). He could have taxed...no, the electorate didn't want that; they could have spent less...no the politicians and the people didn't want that; they could have increased the national debt even more...how much more debt can more be without more being excessively, dangerously more? So they decided the path of least resistance (sneakiest path) was to mix all government funds, the yearly operational account and the FICA insurance account, i.e., co-mingle, steal from the Social Security Fund (oh, I'm sure they passed a law to make it all legal...i.e., to protect their collective asses) to pay the onslaught of everyday governmental bills...and in so doing THEY passed on the payback of the thus-borrowed FICA money to the future generations...which--from all the howling--I assume is now! It is time to pay the piper.
What are we going to do about it? Well, the kids could procreate more, like the Mormons, have more kids quickly: millions of new boomer babies to soon pay into this generations future retirement funds. (A Swiftian solution: knock off the aging baby boomers generation; put put poison into their beta blockers and Viagra.) Or break the social trust and just (legally, of course...new laws will be passed) deny them their (some or all of their) payments. Of course then, a great many of this generation will have to take care of those aging, without-sufficient-social-security funds; or just see their parents join the homeless blocking the entrances to every young person's boutique in America. (Maybe that the real social war coming up in America: between people with children and people without? Oh, it's already happening in San Francisco? I'll have to subscribe--quick--to the SF Chronicle.)
As a member of the electorate for the last 50 years I guess it is my fault for letting our elected representatives ripped off with such ease the FICA Fund. I should pay, right? But...aren't the sins of the fathers supposed to be visited upon the sons?
To the sons and daughters of the baby boomers...those who are being asked to replace this generations ripped-off FICA insurance funds: I know you didn't ask to be born into this world, but a sad but all-too-true-fact...we didn't you into this world for your sakes, but for ours...one of which was to handle our shortsightedness in not knowing we were going to live this long. Sorry. The only consolation you can take is that you will probably replicate that birth-intent factor with your kids. Or even...maybe...heaven forbid...you might enjoy us--our being around (longer)...even if we are expensive?!
Another way to look at the dilemma: Take advantage of our (baby boom) generations successes (no cold war, a still-great country, the Internet, ipods, etc...) and shrug: win some, lose some. Who knows what your kids--what are we up to now, generation triple X?--will inherit from you? Would you want them to break familial--or national--trust with you? A nation--or generations--without trust, is a nation without civility...or cohesion, or laws...or maybe without even the right to call itself a nation (a supposedly ongoing concept).
Win some; lose some. Birth is an inheritance and a legacy.