Liberals love to say that Social Security is “the most popular government program.” There is an element of truth to this statement as the people who will be bearing the burden for the system and not receiving much in the way of “benefits” are either young or not born yet.
But, I’d love to see the folks who defend the popularity of the program show some confidence in their statement by making it optional. I would be thrilled to take them (and the federal government) up on this. I just received my “Social Security Statement.” According to the number crunchers over at SSA, I have paid more than $35,000 in Social Security taxes and more than $8,000 in Medicare taxes.
I have a grand bargain. I’ll allow the federal government to hold onto my $44,000 (actually it is more than that since the statement only covers earnings through 2009). I’ll sign a document stating that I’ll never take Social Security or Medicare if I can hold on to — and invest on my own — the money that my employer and I would pay for Social Security. Heck, I’ll even sign another document saying that I’ll invest the money and won’t touch it until I’m 65. The way I figure it, the feds are coming out way ahead.
Perhaps I am in the minority in my willingness to take such drastic action, but I’d rather control my own financial future than rely on the benevolence of the federal government. After all, my wonderful “statement” from the government also contains this fine line which states “Your estimated benefits are based on current law. Congress has made changes to the law in the past and can do so at any time.” Not exactly reassuring.
If Social Security is so popular, let’s make it optional or let workers “buy out” of the system and invest for themselves.