Maybe it is the fact that I grew up in a small town in rural Iowa, but as a kid I remember being taught lessons about “The right way to treat other people.” As many things may be legal to do but they still fall outside of the concept of “The right way to treat other people”.
I shake my head as I look at this nation that passed a huge tax cut under Trump for corporations and the wealthiest citizens. I know it is only a matter of time before Republicans cry foul over the large deficit that they created and want to put that expense on the backs of low and middle income Americans. Prior to Reagan there was no tax on Social Security as it was considered morally questionable to tax funds that were supposed to be there to help people meet their most basic needs.
First off, everyone should be furious when any politician refers to Social Security as an entitlement program. Almost everyone that works in The United States pays into this system. How can it be an entitlement when it essentially is your money that you paid into an insurance program being returned to you at a time when you will likely need it the most?
I know people will say Social Security wasn’t designed to be anyone’s everything. Well, much has changed and we need to seriously reconsider the objective of Social Security. One working person used to be able to provide for a family. People used to also have job security and get pensions in their retirement years. I’m 38 years old and I don’t know anyone my age that will have a pension plan in retirement. The only people that I can think of that might still have a pension are people that work for the government, and that’s only because of strong unions. Almost everyone else is completely on their own.
To me it only makes sense that since so many corporations have weaseled their way out of paying anything towards an employee’s retirement that Social Security now more than ever needs to be adjusted to help fill that needs gap. People don’t have less needs now than they used to have, they are just getting squeezed harder financially from higher prices, low wages, and virtually no employer pension plans left. Maybe the employers (especially the large very profitable corporations) need to pay a larger contribution to help make up for the slow nickel and dimming of the American worker that had been going on for many decades. More contributions could then support larger payouts to those that really need it.
It sickens me to know that we live in a country with such wealth yet so many retired and disabled people are forced to live in poverty. Even the United Nations has felt the need to address the rising poverty in America. Social Security was designed to help end extreme poverty in America. In 2016 the median Social Security payment was $1,248/month for people 65+. That means half of all people are getting less than $1,248/month to live on. The ones receiving the smallest benefits are also usually the ones even more fully dependent on Social Security. I know people like to play the blame game here and say that person should have done something differently in their life so we don’t have to care. Well the reality in America is all it takes for someone to potentially lose everything is to become sick or disabled for any period of time. Last that I checked people aren’t “in control” of whether they will become sick or disabled or not.
Asking half of people 65 or older to fulfill their needs on under $1250/month is just unrealistic. This forces many elderly people into extreme poverty. Meanwhile Social Security was originally designed to end extreme poverty. In my mind forcing so many elderly into extreme poverty is not “the right way to treat other people”. We need a system that uses common sense and takes all the aspects of the current economy and modern day life and expenses into account in recalculating the contributions and payouts.