The Insecurity of Social Security Part II

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In Part I of the Insecurity of Social Security, found here, the recent revelation of the upcoming, and entirely foreseeable, insolvency of the Social Security disability fund was discussed to some extent.  With a sense of compassion for the reader, this subject was divided into two parts to prevent snoring and glazing of the eyes.  So now, with eyes and minds refreshed, we delve into Part II.

The fiscal dilemma in which the trustees of the disability fund find themselves is essentially, very basic economics.  Not enough money, no supply, to meet the needs of the people, high demand.  You can find direct info on this fund at the website here.  As noted, “the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.”

So that’s the stated, basic purpose.  To financially assist those citizens with disabilities.  As previously stated, I believe this to be a worthwhile goal for any advanced society and from what I have found, so do others.  It is an issue that in its most basic form, truly crosses party lines.  There will be those who need financial help and there are those who can, and more importantly, will be willing, to help those in need.

To be perfectly honest, I find the notion of citizens helping citizens, of their own free will, to be an entirely plausible notion.  And it is not a position that rests solely on faith.  There have been and will continue to be organizations devoted to helping and providing assistance in all forms.  Financially generous millionaires and generous middle and lower-class members who give what money and time they can.  We do not need government compulsion to direct our benevolence or generosity.

Case and point: Grover Cleveland is not widely known as one of our foremost presidents.  But in his day, he was able to hold a firm line regarding the appropriate extent of government involvement in the lives, and charitable activity, of the American people.  In a piece from the Independent Institute, “Cleveland believed in keeping government expenditure at the minimum required to carry out essential constitutional functions.”

As president, he famously vetoed a bill that would have provided government assistance to Texas farmers suffering from drought.  Upon his veto he wrote: “I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution; and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadily resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people.”  Cleveland also stated that, “the friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied on to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune.”

Nevertheless, there are detractors who raise some issues with the more privatized notion of charity.  Here is an article from the Atlantic with just such a position.  Check this piece out and see how it stands in comparison to current events.  As stated, “the government’s footprint has always grown alongside the rest of society.”  Yes, it has.  And what good does it do when that foot, causing the print, has the welfare of our society under it?

I am not so idealistic as to assume that the Federal government will pack up shop, say “Well, we gave it a go” and leave the entitlement system in the hands of private citizens.  But the fact remains, they have tried and are currently, by their own admission, failing miserably.  Meanwhile, an unintended consequence of compulsive “giving” to the state in order for that state to “give” to others is that the people will not have that money to give away, as they would choose, to those who need it most.  The middle-man gets it first and it seems that many monies are lost along the way. Unless people find a way, independently of the ineffectual bureaucratic hands, through churches and private institutions, money will always be lost, wasted and therefore, incapable of helping those for whom that money is meant.

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