Here’s An Idea
Social Security and Medicare may still be that “untouchable” third rail in politics, but it needn’t be the case. The whole thing could be handled very simply and even fairly if the government were only willing to admit they had made a mistake in the first place in constantly turning the free market on its ear for the sake of progressive socialism. It certainly has NOT guaranteed “social security” for old folks and it will continue to fail younger folks year after year.
The simple fact is that the government should not be in the insurance business!
A little background: My folks were both working long before Social Security and Medicare were established. They bought their own insurance policies from private companies to provide for catastrophic eventualities and they saved for their retirement out of the wages they made. They did all this even during the Great Depression. They also knew how to budget their money so that they did not spend more than they earned. They had two children, for which they provided essentials, an astronomical amount of love, and a more than adequate education subsidized by their own intellects and common sense.
Needless to say, my brother and I went into the work force in the early years of Social Security and F.I.C.A. deductions. We never had a paycheck that didn’t include those deductions. I remember my folks grousing about those deductions and the ever-increasing federal and state income tax deductions. My mother was the bookkeeper in the family, so it fell to her to file the tax forms every year. She got us involved early on, giving us massive columns of numbers to add up and double check for accuracy, as our kitchen table was covered with receipts, check stubs, forms and IRS formula tables. Back in those days, we knew just how much the government was costing us.
Even though my folks had been FDR devoted Democrats, they would often say that they would never live to see the money that was being taken from them via Social Security and Medicare payments. They knew that if the choice were left to them about how to spend their own money, they would be better off.
My father worked until he was 67 years old and forced to retire. (He was, after all a structural ironworker and nobody wanted him climbing around on I beams at that age.) He received Social Security checks for a little less than four years until his death. His death was very probably the result of depending on the medical system to diagnose a leaking aneurysm within the confines of what Medicare insurance would pay for. In the end it took a conscientious doctor in a Veterans’ hospital (of all places) to find what others had missed. They were almost able to save his life, but the aneurysm burst and he took his (forty-year-old healthy, according to his doctors) heart to the grave with him. In other words, his was a needless death even back then.
My mother had been disabled for several years by that time, and she received Social Security checks, (and of course continued to pay Medicare premiums) for another fourteen years. To say that I was not impressed with the healthcare she received over those years would be a gross understatement. But I did not run her life or make her choices for her. Even though she lived with us, she insisted on using her own resources for her healthcare – and that was Medicare. As with my father, her last hospitalization was (at my insistence) a different one from that which had been treating her and sending her home to die. Medicare has a way of putting one in an impossible rut if you are in need of repeated treatment. It is very hard to extricate yourself from one system to seek another within that bureaucratic system of government health insurance.
Choices. Isn’t that what life is really all about?
So, here’s the idea. Since everyone should know that Social Security and Medicare are broken, bankrupt, and less than adequate, can we, at least, make it a choice to participate in or not? This choice could be exercised at any time either to continue or withdraw from the system. If you withdraw, then you are out for good. You simply take a payout of the amount you have paid in, along with calculated interest on what that money would have earned you in a modest investment or insurance premiums, and you are on your own. Otherwise, if you believe in the Nanny State, and wish to continue to serve and be served by it, so be it.
The advantages should be obvious. Let’s see how many politicians, present and future, will dare to touch the rail and put some common sense back in government, shall we? And doctors, who would you rather answer to – your elderly patients with their own money, or the regulatory government bureaucrats telling you what you must do or not do for your patients? Can we have an honest answer to that one, please?