Now I'm confused. Back in the maelstrom of 2008 I remember talking to a young Democrat about pensions. Much better rely on the government, he said, than on Wall Street. And at that point in history, he had a point.
But now comes President Obama during a teeny-weeny battle over the debt ceiling, the sort of minor spat we have every two or three years. All of a sudden the president is doing the FICA shuffle. Here is the president reneging on Social Security in an interview with CBS chappie Scott Pelley:
Pelley: Can you guarantee, as president, those checks will go out on August the third?
Mr. Obama: I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.
Wait a minute Mr. President. I thought that Social Security Benefits were protected by a Trust Fund. I thought the Trust Fund was secured inside a Lock Box. So how come all of a sudden on a day in July you up and say, well, who knows if there will be any money to pay those Social Security Benefits? You know, the Social Security Benefits sequestered away in a Trust Fund, hidden away in a Lock Box. I just don't get it.
In fact, I would even go so far as to recall, in deepest sorrow, President Truman's words at the end of World War II. Truman said, after the surrender of Germany:
This is a solemn but a glorious hour. I only wish that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day.
Thank goodness the sainted Roosevelt did not live to witness the day that President Obama threatened America's senior citizens with the suspension of their Social Security Benefits. Here is what President Roosevelt said about Social Security:
We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.
The idea was, I understand, that by making believe that the FICA taxes were earmarked for Social Security people would believe that the government had set up a real insurance program instead of a pay-as-you-go Ponzi scheme. But now at least we know, thanks to President Obama, that it is all a mirage, always has been, always will be.
So now I'm inclined to call up my friend and ask him whether he is still so confident about the safety of his future Social Security Benefits. The thing about relying on Wall Street--meaning for the average person Fidelity or Vanguard or some greedy banker--is that if they run off with my money I can get them put in jail. But I can't do that with your average "damn politician." He'll just fly off on his Boeing 747 into the sunset and look down his nose at me.
He might even laugh at me.