As adults when most of us find our selves in hard economic times, one of the options seldom considered is to go over to our neighbors and rob them to fix our cash flow problem. But apparently that is a viable solution the federal government is considering. Taking away what is rightfully ours, to address their deficit spending associated problems. Including those they have garnered from the complete denial that budgets exist for a reason.
Their solution of course is to sell off to Wall Street the biggest unprotected item on the Federal budget; Social Security liability. Since Reagan, every President has raided Social Security. All putting their own personal IOU’s in the kitty. As it stands now, the fund is on life support, but oh if you the owner of your money were allowed to invest it yourself! For sure you would spend some of it to get the economy going and who doesn’t think they could do a better job then the Federal Government managing their own money!
Before you start thinking about a nice big check arriving and the sudden need to find yourself a broker other than your brother in law, you need to think for a second. For sure, there is no pile of money just sitting in Washington labeled Social Security. Never was. The regular shifting of money coming in from taxes and going out to pay the bills is a juggling act only a Federal Government could ever hope to pull off. But just like Bernie Madoff found out, sometimes things can get a little confusing. Luckily when the funds don’t balance, the Government has an ace in the hole; they borrow the difference. However even that has its limits, and the billions doled out to save the car industry, Wall Street and Bankers have left our credit rating in the low teens! So now that it has come time to start paying out Social Security big time, borrowing that money is not going to be so easy.
So privatizing Social Security, is the old new idea back in town for a new look. The selling feature to them is that that by putting the money in your own investment hands you in effect will be stimulating the economy in ways the government never could. A couple of dozen things are wrong with this. For sure, every time you invest it will cost you to buy and sell. Look for attached fees and taxes on income to kill the nest egg real quick. Considering current CD rates are less than one percent and that is in most cases require at least a two year commitment. Annuities tie the money up and by investing your funds in everything from derivatives (oops, money gone) to venture capital funds,the risk is out of site! We all may need to be buying empty mattresses to keep our money in. Secondly, the government doesn’t have the money; they will need to borrow it! Which puts us right back to square one.
It is no wonder that Wall Street is behind this idea. It will mean millions in fees for them they don’t now get and if you think shaky investment schemes were prevalent before, wait till they get their hands on this money. Can you say, “From the frying pan into the fire?”
The former President, George Bush that is, said his biggest regret was not his efforts in Iraq, or during Katrina, but the fact that he failed to privatize social security.Had he done so, your account could well be at zero right now. It’s a shame our current President is leaning toward supporting the plan in his efforts to support the newly elected conservatives now arriving in Washington.