I find that the recent editorial in The Sun regarding Social Security falls far short of the reality of the situation ("Social Security sets off sparks," Sept. 14). Joe Biden said the same thing the editorial did on a CNN interview before the last Republican debate. It's easy. "A simple thing," he said. If it's so simple, then why hasn't anyone fixed it? Because it's not simple.
Yes, in a vacuum Social Security is relatively easy to fix. If we didn't have the exploding costs of Medicare and Medicaid. If we didn't have a debt that was accruing compound interest by the second. If we didn't have a president who is pushing for another half a trillion dollars in spending and tax cuts that he wants to add to that debt and pass the responsibility to pay for it onto future administrations. If the Federal Reserve wasn't printing so much money that the inflation rate when interest rates return to historic norms wouldn't eat a huge percentage of the dollar's buying power. Then yes, perhaps Social Security would be easy to fix.
But that's not the case. Medicare and Medicaid will continue to eat a higher percentage of our gross domestic product because, let's face it, the people don't seem to have the stomach to tell anyone they can't have a scooter to wheel them around, let alone treatment for something serious. The debt is growing like a cancer, and it's accelerating. The Republicans and Democrats can't agree on what to cut even when a figurative gun is pointed at their heads like it was in the debt ceiling debacle.
This president hasn't shown one iota of spending restraint, and even if he isn't re-elected, there's no guarantee that we won't end up with another George Bush gunslinger in office who commits us to another costly war.
The smart money is on inflation. The Federal Reserve will print money and devalue our dollar. That means that the buying power of those Social Security checks will be far less than what it is today. Cost of living increases will become impossible to keep up with. So, technically, it's not a Ponzi scheme, because all of the money won't be gone. But for those who have paid into it all their lives, it will be the equivalent of one terrible investment. We lost our shirts on it. If we had any decency, we would allow our children and grandchildren to opt out and find their own investment.
Fred Pasek, FrederickCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun