Let’s Decide Fate Of Social Security, Medicare, On The Words Of An Email Chain Letter

So here’s an inane chain email by some anonymous fool…

KEEP PASSING THIS AROUND UNTIL EVERY ONE HAS HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO READ IT…THIS IS SURE SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT!!!! THE ONLY THING WRONG WITH THE GOVERNMENT’S CALCULATION OF AVAILABLE SOCIAL SECURITY IS THEY FORGOT TO FIGURE IN THE PEOPLE WHO DIED BEFORE THEY EVER COLLECTED A SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK!!! WHERE DID THAT MONEY GO?

Okay, got off to a bad start there. Stop yelling! Typing multiple sentences in ALL CAPS does not do anything for credibility.

Remember, not only did you and I contribute to Social Security but your employer did, too. It totaled 15% of your income before taxes. If you averaged only $30K over your working life, that’s close to $220,500.

Read that again. Did you see where the Government paid in one single penny?

We are talking about the money you and your employer put in a Government bank to insure you and me that we would have a retirement check from the money we put in, not the Government.

Now they are calling the money we put in an entitlement when we reach the age to take it back.

If you calculate the future invested value of $4,500 per year (yours & your employer’s contribution) at a simple 5% interest (less than what the Government pays on the money that it borrows). After 49 years of working you’d have $892,919.98.

If you took out only 3% per year, you’d receive $26,787.60 per year and it would last better than 30 years (until you’re 95 if you retire at age 65) and that’s with no interest paid on that final amount on deposit! If you bought an annuity and it paid 4% per year, you’d have a lifetime income of $2,976.40 per month.

Nice sleight of hand there, mentioning employers also contribute to Social Security (which of course is true), but then pretending you could pocket that contribution (in addition to your own) in a country without Social Security. Come again?

There’s definitely a high level of deception going on here. Nah, couldn’t be, right? Social Security is 6.2% out of your paycheck. Your employer also pays 6.2%. Medicare is another 1.45% out of your paycheck, and again, your employer pays 1.45%. That means you’ve now paid 7.65% and your employer has paid 7.65%. So the amount you know for sure you can pocket (or put into a personal savings account) is 7.65% of your income. As for the employer share, there are no guarantees there. Maybe your employer, out of the kindness of their little hearts, would pay you their contribution instead of pocketing it, but this is purely speculation. There is a law right now forcing your employer to contribute to your future retirement, in the form of Social Security. In a country without Social Security, there is no such mandate.

And you don’t need to take my word on these Social Security tax rates, just go right to the source:

Social Security & Medicare Tax Rates – ssa.gov

Or alternatively, you can simply do a google search for social security tax rate and google will supply you with the answer directly!

I suggest you take a look at the chart in the above ssa.gov link. Take notice that there were regular increases to the Social Security and Medicare tax rates through the decades until 1990, when the last increase happened. That’s 24 straight years at the same rates. So I have a message for all you Social Security and Medicare alarmists out there: Even if Medicare and Social Security were in danger of insolvency (they are not), I think we’d probably choose to raise the tax rates a bit before we’d let them fail, right?

So what does all this mean? The 15% cited in this chain letter is misleading at best because half of it is contributed by your employer, and there’s nothing stipulating that your employer pay you their share if Social Security ceased to exist. So that makes this email chain letter completely disingenuous right off the top. Scratch that, it’s a flat out lie by a person trying to persuade people to follow a certain ideological thinking based on faulty information. Or in other words, dutifully following the Fox News playbook.

But wait, I’m not done! Also remember that 1.45% goes to Medicare, which yes, is part of the Social Security Act, but last time I checked Medicare was a single-payer government run health insurance system, not a retirement fund. So that means you can’t (or at least the author of this chain letter can’t without properly explaining) lump the Medicare tax into your potential personal savings account (again, in a country without Social Security) unless you come up with an alternative for your health care costs when you reach age 65. And nowhere in this chain email is that addressed.

THE FOLKS IN WASHINGTON HAVE PULLED OFF A BIGGER PONZI SCHEME THAN BERNIE MADOFF EVER DID.

Entitlement my foot; I paid cash for my social security insurance!

Just because they borrowed the money for other government spending, doesn’t make my benefits some kind of charity or handout!!

Remember Congressional benefits? — free healthcare, outrageous retirement packages, 67 paid holidays, three weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days.

Now that’s welfare, and they have the nerve to call my social security retirement payments entitlements?

They call Social Security and Medicare an entitlement even though most of us have been paying for it all our working lives, and now, when it’s time for us to collect, the government is running out of money.

Why did the government borrow from it in the first place? It was supposed to be in a locked box, not part of the general fund.

Sad isn’t it?

I say bravo to the person who wrote this, not because it is good writing, but because you cannot clearly discern a political ideology (even though my liberal brain keeps trying to). But I am tempted to say these are the words of a red state conservative who continues to vote against his own economic interests. He can’t understand why they call Social Security any entitlement even though the Republican Party he religiously votes for also calls it an entitlement, and they do so with judgement and noteworthy scorn.

Oh, and by the way, this email chain letter appears to have been lifted from the following article (which also misleads on the 15% number): Free to Plan a Secure Retirement

So how about this: Next time you attempt to present a credible alternative to Social Security, first you need to learn how to grab attention without writing everything in CAPS. Then you need to drop the false assertions. And last, try coming up with your own message instead of crafting a poorly worded chain email based on an article anyone could find with a simple Google search.

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