Monday, May 31, 2010

New York Times: Social Security 'promise'?

Chicago Monday PM 31 May, 2010

Editors, The New York Times


The New York Times OpEd “Easy Money, Hard Truths” of Thursday, May 27 says “Government accounting is done on a cash basis, so promises to pay in the future... [such as] Social Security benefits....”

The United States Supreme Court, in its 1960 Fleming vs. Nestor decision, said:

“The noncontractual interest of an employee covered by the Social Security] Act cannot be soundly analogized to that of the holder of an annuity, whose right to benefits are based on his contractual premium payments.

“To engraft upon the Social Security System a concept of "accrued property rights" would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustment to ever-changing conditions which it demands and which Congress probably had in mind when it expressly reserved the right to alter, amend or repeal any provision of the Act.”

Social Security has nothing to do with promises. And since its 1935 inception not a single wage earner has ever written a check to Social Security System for his 'contribution'. Do you think FDR would trust individual wage earners to voluntarily contribute anything? All the checks come from employers. If they don't remit, they go to jail. But as opposed to individuals, employers can pass on the entire Social Security remittance to their customers in higher prices. The Social Security 'promise' is nothing but a silent, painless national sales tax.

On top of that, do you think FDR ran right down to the Riggs Nattional Bank to deposit those first contributions in some special acount? No, they went directly to the general fund, as they continue to do 75 years later, to be spent on whatever Congress wants. Pay old age pensions? We'll get to that when we need it. We can always pay enough to keep the geezer vote.

Then there's that pesky old Constitution, without a word about old age pensions. What about 'the general welfare clause'? James Madison explained in his Federalist number 41 what the founders meant by “general welfare”:

“Some... have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution... that the power 'to provide for the general welfare of the United States,' amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the general welfare.... But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon?”

What follow are 17 clauses specifically defining what Congress can do, from “borrow Money” thru “make all Laws... necessary... for carrying into Execution... [all] Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States....” Not a hint of old age pensions.

Social Security is clearly unconstitutional, and so is Medicare, and ObamaCare. After the Constitution is blatantly ignored three times in 75 years (all by the same political party) how many more hits can it take before it has no more meaning than a Soviet Russia 'constitution'?

Arnold H Nelson

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