R. Bechard: Benefits are not a handout

Government officials are calling Social Security benefits entitlement spending. But members of Congress have free health care insurance, outrageous retirement packages, dozens of paid holidays, three weeks paid vacation and paid sick days. To me, that's welfare.

And they call my Social Security retirement payments an entitlement?

The only thing wrong with the government is everything.

For all their benefits, members of Congress contribute what? Nothing. Not one penny.

Senior citizens and veterans need help, and members of Congress have the nerve to give themselves all those benefits without paying for them.

I worked hard for my retirement money to ensure that I would have that check. That benefit is not an entitlement like some kind of charity or handout.

Reggie Bechard, Lewiston

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CRYSTAL WARD's picture

entitlement is a good word

The dictionary defines entitlements as-- noun 1. the act of entitling . 2. the state of being entitled . 3. the right to guaranteed benefits under a government program, as Social Security or unemployment ...
The government forces people to pay into FICA- Federal Insurance Contribution Act better known as Social Security-- for the taking of your money they guarantee a benefit and set the rules ,amounts and regulations. You should proudly stand up and shout –YES I AM ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THE BENEFIT OF SOCIAL SECURITY. The government took your money !! The political tactic being used is to paint entitlement as a dirty word –meaning you want something for nothing—a hand out – welfare- that you paid nothing for it and want it because you are one of the “entitled” --- NO NO NO if you paid in you should get the benefit you are entitled and guaranteed to have --- and do remember your money paid in over 30 + years earns interest !! so you do have more than you paid in— you indeed were responsible and paid in your share

 's picture

the "radical socialist" Count Bismarck invented Social Security.

In the 1880's his social legislation including social & health insurance became the model for the "welfare state". This legislation was his attempt to prevent the growth of socialism in Germany.
The right's ignorance of the origins and purpose of this social legislation is self-serving. They want to destroy modern America and return to life as it wasn't in 1880. When corporate owners could starve, beat, imprison, and kill their corporate slaves often with government assistance.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Actually, most people get

Actually, most people get more in Social Security and Medicare benefits than they pay in to the system.

“According to the institute’s data, a two-earner couple receiving an average wage — $44,600 per spouse in 2012 dollars — and turning 65 in 2010 would have paid $722,000 into Social Security and Medicare and can be expected to take out $966,000 in benefits. So, this couple will be paid about one-third more in benefits than they paid in taxes.”

“Some types of families did much better than average. A couple with only one spouse working (and receiving the same average wage) would have paid in $361,000 if they turned 65 in 2010, but can expect to get back $854,000 — more than double what they paid in. In 1980, this same 65-year-old couple would have received five times more than what they paid in, while in 1960, such a couple would have ended up with 14 times what they put in.”



What does that make the return on investment, and how does it compare to, say, private investment in an IRA or money market account over the same period of time? Serious question, not being argumentative.

It actually makes sense we'd get back more than we put in when the interest on that money is taken into account, and if it's comparable, I think I'd rather keep it in the SSA than risk another market crash erasng all the savings.

My Series EE savings bonds mature at 200% their original value after 17 years. Does that make them an entitlement too?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“The Act provided benefits to

The Act provided benefits to retirees and the unemployed, and a lump-sum benefit at death. Payments to current retirees are financed by a payroll tax on current workers' wages, half directly as a payroll tax and half paid by the employer. The act also gave money to states to provide assistance to aged individuals (Title I), for unemployment insurance (Title III), Aid to Families with Dependent Children (Title IV), Maternal and Child Welfare (Title V), public health services (Title VI), and the blind (Title X).[3]”[1]

The takeaway here is that SS supplements retirees’ income, so they don’t have to live in poverty. This is far different than to day where people use it as the federal retirement system.

Another point is that payments are financed “financed by a payroll tax on current workers' wages”. This means there is no investments action and no return on investment. He system is pay as you go.

Lastly, in a system where the average recipient receives more benefits than they paid is clearly unsustainable.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Social_Security_in_the_United_St...

That does not answer the

That does not answer the question of how that ROI compares to private sector investment. And I have not argued with the contention that it was intended as supplement, because I already knew it was.

If you give some of your income to a bank do you expect to get the exact same amount back? Or do you expect to get it plus interest? The former would be both stupid and, well, stupid is fine.

Regardless of how the system is financed, when I give the government some of my money to hold until later, I would still expect compounded interest.when I get it back. They speak of the SSN as a "trust fund" and it definitely holds a certain amount of money. If they are not using it to make safe investments in accounts with a guaranteed return (bonds, money markets), they are dumber than we thought.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The takeaway should be that

The takeaway should be that there is no ROI. If you take more than you pay into the system, someone gets less than they pay into the system.

You should read about how government is financed. It is a pay as you go system. There is no real trust fund. Excess SSN payments have been used to buy treasury bonds. Where does the movement get money to buy back these bonds? The answer is from the taxpayer.

 's picture

Social Security always was intended to be a National Retirement

Program - from day one (check the legislation and the debates over it). Since the 1980's, that mission has been betrayed as politicians on the right in the pay of corporate interests have socialized more and more of the corporate costs and shifted more and more of the benefits of government and the economy to themselves leaving the middle class like a city broken by war.
Point your anger to the real enemy of your and my way of life, the corporate sycophants who espouse a religion of unfettered Capitalism where you and your family are just an input to production that can and should be discarded when your usefulness to them has ended.

 's picture

Another load of socialist nonsense ...

... usually heard from folks who won't lift a finger to help themselves or their families, because the government is supposed to do that. Rather than accept any personal responsibility, they have to blame their lousy prospects on something - and evil capitalism is an easy target.

SS was always meant to supplement one's own savings and investments, but those require some personal initiative, something in very short supply on the left.

 's picture

I'm not saying you didn't

I'm not saying you didn't work hard, Reggie, but Social Security is not the national retirement system. It was never intended to be, has never been, and is not now, the national retirement system. It is insurance against abject poverty in old age.

That said, from the very beginning in the 30s, politicians allowed people to believe that Social Security was all they needed, to encourage more and more people to become dependent on government, and to avoid doing any personal investment for the future. And, wow, have they been successful.

The help a senior citizen needs should arrive in his early 20s in the form of honest advice to begin saving for retirement.

RONALD RIML's picture

Probably because fewer and fewer employers now offer

'Retirement' systems. And many that did, figured out creative ways to screw pension-members out of of many of the benefits through 'buy-outs' and restructuring.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Want some smegma cheese with

Want some smegma cheese with that whine?

RONALD RIML's picture

Ask Gravel - he whines about those of us

with (supposedly) safe Gvt Pensions. But I know many who've been f*cked in the private sector and the 'market'......

No fool I.....

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Are you talking about

Are you talking about Government pension that have been underfunded for years? If you are, just sit back. That bubble is going to burst. We are starting to see some cities go bankrupt because unscrupulous politician have approved pensions the public cannot afford.

The traditional defined pension plan is on the out. Only vestiges survive in government and a few union dominated private business, such as Bath Iron Works, which is indirectly a government entity.

Anyhow, I had a pension and I have private investments as my retirement. I used past tense in describing my pension for a reason; it is no more, but I have my private investments. The same private investments most Americans have that you want to tax more.

I guess receiving government pensions all your retired life makes you complacent as to how the rest of us live. That warped perception is shameful in my opinion.

RONALD RIML's picture

You 'Had'

So which private entity screwed you????

 's picture

As of 2pm ...

... three people have disagreed with my post. I'm curious. What did you disagree with?

RONALD RIML's picture

You - not the subject matter. Happens to me all the time.

Folks just think our opinions suck - no matter what they are.... ;)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You figured that out too, eh?

You figured that out too, eh?

 's picture

For once ...

... I agree with you.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Apparently, they're happy

Apparently, they're happy with being told by the politicians that their SS checks are gifts from the govt. Never mind, that they probably won't live long enough to collect half of what they paid into it.

 's picture

The government loves SS.

It's been stealing from it for years.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

They don't even deny it.

They don't even deny it.


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