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William Crandell: Social Security at 77

Published 12:51am Thursday, August 23, 2012

Social Security turned 77 this week and it is still going strong.

As a kid back in the 1970s, I remember hearing Republicans refer to Social Security as nothing more than welfare for old people. As a young man, I had no clue how offensive that statement was, but now that I’m middle-aged and facing retirement, I think I understand.

These days, I don’t think  I would hear such a coarse statement in public, but I do believe for much of the GOP the sentiment is still there.

Now there is a new phrase being thrown around that is just as offensive, and that is the word “entitlement.” I’ve never understood how it’s an entitlement when it’s your money. I’ve always believed Social Security is a contract with the workers of America that needs to be honored.

Contrary to what politicians like Paul Ryan are saying, Social Security is not going broke; rather, it has a $2.7 trillion surplus and is still fiscally sound. It is a self-funded program and does not contribute to our nation’s deficit.

The attack upon Social Security is really about privatizing it and turning the money over to 401(k) accounts and letting Wall Street — the very people who devastated our economy in 2008 — also destroy our retirement. Sorry, but I don’t trust them, and neither should America.

Have you ever noticed that it is those who are going to be comfortable in their retirements that want to do away with Social Security? It’s an easy target for the wealthy who claim to want smaller government, but that really translates to the rich having to pay fewer taxes.

But the vast majority of Americans need this safety net to survive. As the middle class shrinks and families find it harder and harder to save money and invest in retirement, Social Security will be all that they will have in their golden years.

Taking that away for Wall Street profit is cruel and turns the argument over Social Security into a class struggle.

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