A huge financial dilemma faces our country. A faltering government program is threatening to fail unless something is done about it. But what? What can we do that will be fair and equitable? Basically our government has screwed us, forcing us into an ever-growing Ponzi scheme that is about to collapse.
Though originally proffered as a “supplement” to personal retirement, it became a promise for future security. Senior citizens came to depend on it as their pension, complaining that it wasn’t enough and demanding more. Vote buyers were happy to increase the budget for this program, increasing benefits beyond what recipients had ever paid in, creating what would become the largest boondoggle in our nation’s history. To make matters worse, our government raided the coffers to pay for other programs, a more palatable solution than raising taxes, knowing all the while that it would be an unsustainable practice, and would pose a huge bill for future generations. When warned of impending disaster, they shut their eyes tight, stuck their fingers into their ears, and yelled, “I can’t hear you! La-la-la-la-la-di-da!” Now, accelerated by the phenomenon of the Baby Boom, disaster is at the doorstep. What to do?
The government, which has no wealth of its own and cannot pay its obligations without taking from the citizens (printing more money devalues cash held by the public, and counts as taking from the citizens,) is faced with the decision of whom to screw. Politicians abused their stewardship of the people’s trust fund by paying benefits above what had been collected by beneficiaries. They didn’t care because Baby Boomers were working like crazy, filling the pot to overflowing. In time, all that money became too big of a temptation for the greedy politicians who had visions of huge social programs dancing in their heads. They decided to borrow some of it, fully intending to pay it back, of course. Yeah, right! In no time, it was all gone, leaving just a massive pile of IOUs as a sign that it had ever existed. There is no question as to who is to blame for this financial debacle (theft,) but the deed is done. What do we do now? Who is going to get screwed?
Should the Baby Boomers who funded the politicians’ excesses get stiffed? After all, they were forcibly entered into the contract with the government, through mandatory deductions from their paychecks. They were made certain promises and expect them to be honored. That means we pass the bill on to our children and grandchildren, forcing them to pay for benefits that they will never receive. We can’t go back to those who received inflated benefits. Those people are dead and gone (or going.) We have no lien on the social programs that were funded by our trust fund. We couldn’t collect even if we did, because that money is already spent and gone. That leaves us with biting the bullet, spreading the debt and misery around as equitably as possible. That’s how a Ponzi scheme works and how it always ends. Baby Boomers will have to do with less than expected and future generations will unfairly have to bear some of the burden so thoughtlessly left to them by their forefathers. It’s sad that someone can’t be sent to jail for this. Hopefully everyone will have learned a bitter lesson.
To clean up this mess, let’s start by throwing out the bums who caused it and have perpetuated it, at least all of those who may still be there. Perhaps we can come up with a plan to privatize retirement programs. Mutual funds would most likely provide a better return than the government, and by putting the moneys into the hands of the private sector, it would be beyond the greedy clutches of government thieves. To be fair, retirees and near retirees would have to be weaned from the program.
There is one more thing we can do. It won’t help our situation financially, but it may make us feel better. We can go spit (or substitute your own retributive response) on the graves of the ones who got us into this mess.