Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Simple Man's Guide To Fix Social Security

There are days when I have trouble cobbling together one or two sentences.  Also understand that I am neither an accountant nor an economist.  But I cannot help but think that our elected officials like to dramatize for press and votes.  And the solvency of Social Security has many of them trying to yank your heartstrings.  But does it have to be that way?  Maybe not.  

The other day I had a great encounter with a young man (mid twenties) who is working hard to secure his future.  When it came to Social Security he flat out told me that there would be nothing there for him and his generation.  He would continue to pay in, he said, but only to pay the "bill" for me and my generation.  Those words were spoken   without malice but with a certain amount of resignation; it was sad to hear.  I believe that we can do better; we can solve the problem.  There are three things that can be done "fix" Social Security once and for all (remember, I am not an economist nor an accountant).  

Most people know that the federal government "borrowed" heavily from the Social Security Trust Fund to fund a variety of "things."  Well, it's time for the government to pay up.  Good luck with that. Pigs will fly before that happens.  This does not mean that it's not impossible.  It means that other methods are quicker and easier to implement (probably easier for our elected officials to get their collective minds around - AKA how many votes will it cost me).  

Only a handful of states do not have a lottery program.  The Federal Government could, through the Department of the Treasury, hold four lotteries a year.  This program would generate capital well beyond the stated prize monies and expenses.  These "profits" then go to the Social Security Trust Fund.  And we did not raise personal taxes.  

The so-called war on drugs is a dismal failure.  How many billions a year spent - hold that thought.  Personally, I have a very hard time with hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, PCP, Meth, etc.  But these things are not marijuana, something that grows in the soil.  Maybe it's time for the government to revisit the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, legalize nationwide medical marijuana and allow family farmers to plant and harvest Industrial Hemp (surprise - before the MTA of '37, this stuff was legal.  Industrial Hemp has no active cannibinoids.  It's the stuff our ancestors, founding fathers, etc., planted to make stuff with - google it).  If the federal government would legalize medical cannabis and then tax and regulate it in the same manner that they tax and regulate booze and cigarettes, the lion's share of the monies collected could be funneled into the Social Security Trust Fund.  Again, personal taxes are not raised to bulk up Social Security.  But there is another step.  

In the previous paragraph it was stated (my opinion) that the war on drugs is a failure but still has a billions a year price tag.  Maybe it's time to declare victory and call it over.  The federal government can take the monies now freed up from the war on drugs to pay down its debt to the Social Security Trust Fund - and pigs do not have to fly!  Further savings can be had by folding the DEA and the ATF into the FBI.  These ideas are radical; don't hold your breath for them to take place.  

These ideas do not raise personal taxes, they do not increase the personal/employer deduction/contribution of the current 6.2 percent.  They do not eliminate the current income cap. They are but simple ideas from a man who sometimes has trouble cobbling two sentences together. 

                                                     Copyright @2015 Terry Unger  



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