In an effort to engage the R-UTN membership, from time to time the website will feature Letters to the Editor in response to articles published in the R-UTN Newsletter and online. This is the first such letter, in response to the Social Security/Medicare Update by Hank Kasven in the October–December 2015 issue of the newsletter (online here).
RE: HANK KASVEN’S SOCIAL SECURITY FAIRNESS ARTICLE
In a previous life, I worked for the Social Security Administration, so I am quite familiar with the original concepts. The most essential one is that this is an INSURANCE program, originally designed to provide “a floor beneath which no one can fall.” Contributions were to be proportional to income until a maximum was reached, because the benefit amounts were also capped. Low earners could receive no less than a minimum benefit, and high earners were capped at a maximum, those amounts being proportionate to their income.
If you can accept that this is an insurance program, not a welfare program, then it makes eminent sense. To say it is “not fair” is tantamount to saying that you could justify my having to pay a different amount for my life, or home, or auto insurance than someone else for the same coverage, based upon our respective incomes. I do not think THAT would be fair.
Lastly, realize that all income IS taxed, (at least in theory.) Those taxes are where subsidies, if appropriate at all, should come from, not an insurance program. If the Social Security system had adhered to its original concepts, and if the trust fund had not been repeatedly raided, the program would have endured just fine. Fairness has never been a concern for those who have manipulated the system to death.