By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… I am a little weary of politicians painting entitlement programs as welfare. The right wing budget reformers major solution to the overwhelming debt this country has amassed is cutting entitlements.
When they say entitlement, they do so with the distaste they once reserved for the word welfare. Not wanting to be painted as scrooges, they are staying away from attacking widows and orphans. They seem to feel it is safer to attack the paying middle class. They also tend to ignore the billions of dollars being spent on useless wars in the Middle-East.
I commend those who are trying to get spending under control. Most Americans realize that if we don’t get spending under control, this country is going to implode. This may well require cut backs in entitlements; however, one must view entitlements for what they are: entitlements.
Entitlements are not welfare. Entitlement is not a dirty word. The government made a one sided agreement with the American worker that it would take fourteen percent of his earnings up to the first $106,000. For that contribution, the worker would be entitled to a minimal retirement payment. The government then added a medical program as well. The worker had no ability to opt out of these programs. The money was merely taken from the worker’s check each payday.
Those who want to cut these benefits are now trying to convince the American people that Social Security payments and Medicare are the same as welfare. Welfare is when you receive something for nothing. That is not the case with Social Security. Tax credits beyond what you pay in are welfare. Free phones, tax subsidies to big business, food stamps, housing assistance, and things of that nature are not entitlements, they are welfare.
These politicians say that those who most oppose the welfare society are those who are benefitting from that society through Social Security and Medicare. Excuse me, welfare is something you get that you have not invested in.
Now it may be true that Social Security is a burden on the federal budget, but one must remember the worker had no choice in whether or not fourteen percent of his wages went in to this very poor retirement program.
Social Security recipients are living on the contributions of present workers and this is not a sound policy. In fact, if a private retirement system was set in a like manner, it would be considered criminal. But Social Security was designed this way not by the worker but by the government.
The government has been using Social Security funds as a general slush fund for years. The result is the government has used your retirement fund as a tax. Now when it is time to pay dividends on the funds confiscated by the government payment, the politicians want to categorize it as a handout. How ridiculous is that?
If those who are attacking Social Security want to say the country can no longer afford the program, I would agree with them. If they wish to discontinue Social Security for those now entering the work force, I have no objection. The government could discontinue the taking of fourteen percent of the workers paycheck allowing the worker to have a fourteen percent increase in salary. The government could then say to the employee that you are on your own for a retirement program.
None of that, however, negates the government’s commitment to those whose money they have taken for years. Those people are entitled to the payment to which the government has committed itself.
This is a lesson Americans should learn. Never make an agreement with a government agency. Never enter into a contract with any entity that can change that contract unilaterally.
If you want to understand the risk of making an agreement with the American government, talk to a Native American. “As long as the grass grows and the water flows” meant nothing to the United States government and neither does their commitment to Social Security.
No one asked me but… I just read an article about Carl Postma, a 1993 Moapa Valley High School graduate. Carl is the heavy weight champion of the Tuff-N-Uff division of amateur mixed martial arts.
Why does this not surprise me? Carl was one of the toughest guys to graduate from Moapa Valley High School. Carl, taunted by one of the Boulder City Eagles after a basketball game, punched the Eagle in the beak. When the Boulder City assistant principal complained, all I could tell him was: ‘Keep your Eagle away from Carl’.
Carl was, if I remember right, the middle linebacker on what may have been the finest defensive team that ever represented the school. Offensively he was the fullback.
Carl is presently an owner of Arcon flooring in Las Vegas. To him, turning pro in MMA is all about having fun. With construction slow in Vegas a little extra cash would not be bad either.
As you get older you lose track of your students, but it is fun when one pops up on the scene. Seeing Carl’s picture and reading the article in the sports page sent me scurrying to contact a friend of mine who I never see enough but always enjoy talking to: Bill Lamping.
I called Bill because his son Jeff ran with Carl. Jeff, who was pretty tough in his own right, is now teaching school in Boise, Idaho.
The quarterback on that team was Toby Reid who now works for Carl.
Kelby Robison was a lineman who now teaches at Moapa Valley High School.
They were all part of a defensive unit that never gave up a running touchdown all season.
Carl was the standout player on the team. He went on to play defensive end at University of Nevada, Reno before a knee injury ended his career.
In the Marine Corps, we had one standard by which to measure a man: would you want that man in your fighting hole when bullets began to fly? I would want all of these guys in my fighting hole, and we would put Carl out front.