A Ponzi scheme

Governor Perry dared to blurt that the Emperor is strutting around in the buff. The gov had the audacity to suggest our Social Security system is a Ponzi scheme.

His opponents pounced on this. They erupted with promises to protect Social Security from evil leaders like Perry. Even his friends chided him for making such an inflammatory proclamation. It would be better, they said, to talk about how we can save and strengthen Social Security.

What is the matter with us? So many Americans are like those folks in the fairy tale who were afraid to say the Emperor was gaga. Not to mention buck naked.

Of course Social Security is a Ponzi scheme! I know, I know, you donít want it to be. You donít want to hear that payments down the road will have to be cut. You donít want to hear that you will have to pay more taxes to keep it going. You donít want to hear a hurricane is on the way either. You donít want to hear children are starving. You prefer not to hear your favorite star fondles little boys. You donít want to hear there is a blight on your tomato plants.

Tough!† Reality ainít always pretty. These things simply ARE. And Social Security IS a Ponzi scheme.

Ponzi told people he was investing their money. He lied. Just like Bernie Madoff lied. Government told workers their money was going into an insurance program. Told them the money in there was theirs. Told them it was earmarked. Government lied. The Supreme Court told us so.

Ponzi promised glorious returns. He lied. Government promised workers returns on their money. Promised they were legally entitled to Social Security benefits. Government lied. Workers are not legally entitled to a cent.

I donít suggest you will not be able to continue to draw from Social Security. Current payments are not threatened. I donít suggest Social Security will not be there for you when you retire. It will be. But your payments may be less than you expect. Or you may be taxed more on them. Or you may have to contribute more to the system while you are working.

What I suggest is that Social Security is a series of lies, at worst. And deceptions, at best. One of those lies is that it is a type of insurance. All right. Let us compare it with your life insurance policy.

Suppose your insurance company promises to pay out $200,000 when you die. In return for you paying $200 a month. A few years down the road the insurance company raises your payment. A few years later it raises it again. And again. And while it will still pay out $200,000, it will keep some of that Ė the equivalent of a tax.

In other words, it changes the rules repeatedly. Would you maybe feel a wee bit miffed? Would you feel you had been misled?

Well, when you entered the workforce, government took a slice of your paycheck. It took money from your employer. In return, it promised various benefits. Since then it has increased what it takes. Again and again.

Yes, it has increased what you will or do draw. But it keeps changing the rules. It did not tax benefits. Now it does, for some. It did not prohibit you from your draw if your income was high. Now it threatens to.

Iím pleased that Governor Perry has dared to call a spade a spade. We could and we can reform Social Security. We can squeeze all the lies and deception from it. However, that will require that most Americans first agree on something: There is a very good reason the Emperorís suit is flesh-colored. ††††††††† †

From Tom ... as in Morgan.††††††††††††††††††

For more columns and for Tomís radio shows and new TV shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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