> 2.) The US social security program, including aid to disabled
>elderly, was started precisely because the private sector did not
>for these people and a very high percent were stuck in poverty. It has
>been very successful and efficient in performing what it was set up to
>do. (By the way, the stories about the supposed crises in the SS system
>are unbelievable overkill in comparison to the relatively trivial nature
>of the problem - for those interested in this, there is an interesting
>article in the current issue of the New Yorker magazine).
The Social Security Administration and the original programs it ran
were established as an Old Age and Survivors Insurance Program; period.
It was established because there was seen at the time, a need for the
government to become involved in such an endeavor. It was felt that, as
you said, the private sector was not providing this service, or was not
providing it in an acceptable manner for all workers.
If the program was as you said, "very successful and efficient in
performing what it was set up to do", it would seem to me that the
program would be self-sustaining and not require periodic increases in
the percentage of wages the workers (and their employers) must pay into
the system. As wages increase, a fixed percentage would create an
increase in the amount collected without increasing the contributions.
But this has not been the case. there have been several increases in the
percentage up to its current level and if the Congress-critters had their
way, it would be increased even more from its current level of 14%. yes
that is correct....14%. Each worker contributes 7 percent and his
employer contributes 7 percent. And I can tell you as a former manager
who had to deal with such things, employers DO count that 7% as a art of
labor cost and it is considered when hiring and when writing estimates
and actual costs for contracts, production costs, and so on.
A big part of the current problem with the liquidity of the fund is the
extremely high cost of Federal Medicare. And the main reason Medicare is
costing so much is the very high level of fraud and abuse of the system
by unscrupulous health care providers and the lack of government
If, from the beginning, the SS fund had been set aside and made a
totally separate fund (and not paid into the general treasury as it was
and is), and it had been invested in carefully planned and monitored
investment programs, there would be money to burn now. But the system is
in trouble, despite what some apologists for the government try to claim
or their attempts to trivialize it. There are plans being discussed in
Congress right now to do just that; invest the money in long term,
mid-yield, portfolios so the money will grow and start to pay for its own
Administration and payout.
You also said:
> The military program probably takes the cake for fraud and
>Somehow I haven't seen many advocates for dismantling social programs
>because they are supposedly inefficient also calling for the dismantling
>of the military!
I will admit that the military is fraught with fraud and waste. That
is a given. Much of it is in the area of government contracting for
weapons systems research and development and in weapons systems
But the military is not now, nor has it even been, meant to be a profit
center, or to even break even. It has a job to do in protecting the
country just as your local police department has a job to do in
protecting your local community. Do you expect your local police
department to be a bastion of efficiency? Apparently some people do as
the new laws on confiscation of property without an due process show.
They get to confiscate the property of suspects on the slimmest of
"evidence" and keep that property or seel it for cash to use to cut the
cost of operation of the department.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--