Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Hypocrite Series: Clinton on Retirement Security

In the first of a 3 part series of town-hall style question/answer sessions, Senator Clinton says this in response to a question about retirement:

This is a huge issue because pension security, retirement security is something that is really part of the basic bargain that I believe we should have between our government and our people.

What many don't know is that Social Security is a relatively new concept in America. Signed into law in 1935 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Social Security provides benefits to Americans around 65 years old (it varies depending on year of birth and includes other provisions as well). At the time, Roosevelt was in a fight with the courts over the constitutionality of several components of what is called the "New Deal". To annoy colleges worldwide, I'll quote Wikipedia:

During the 1930s President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in the midst of promoting the passage of a large number of social welfare programs under the New Deal and the High Court struck down many of those programs (such as the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Recovery Act) as unconstitutional. After having a significant portion of his enactments struck down by the Supreme Court, Roosevelt proposed legislation that would have expanded the Supreme Court to fifteen members. This would have allowed him to nominate six additional members (under certain conditions) which would be more likely to uphold his enactments with his members in place. Having had its autonomy and independence significantly threatened by FDR's ploy, the Supreme Court's tone seemed to change significantly. The Court allowed many New Deal programs very similar to ones they had previously struck down to go through, including Social Security.

As a side note, can you even imagine living in a time where a President attacked an entire branch of our government? What's more interesting is that in all of my History classes, this little tidbit was left out. Revisionist history? Liberals at work in our schools? Roosevelt was treated as a saint even in the fairly conservative part of the country I live in. You be the judge...but back to the topic at hand...

Anyway, as you'll notice, Roosevelt likely wouldn't have been able to put through a Social Security plan without the threat to the Supreme Court. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, we're saddled with employers dutifully reporting our wages to the government and pulling out FICA taxes before we can even object. Just like Edwards' Form 1 plan, it's another out-of-sight-out-of-mind trick by our government. The self-employed who get nailed with it on quarterly estimates and/or for their yearly income taxes are the only ones who really notice.

The attitude Senator Clinton takes above is a common one, and I can't hold it against her. Nevertheless, I disagree. Retirement issues should be left to personal responsibility, family, Church, and community in that order with emphasis on personal responsibility. In a free country, the government should not rob its citizens on payday and claim it's for their own good.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home