The era of entitlement
In response to Mr. Tessem (“Proud to be a union man,” letters, March 8, 2011, The Aspen Times): Please note, my “diatribe” was very specifically directed toward public unions – where the collected dollars are directed to democratic cronies. I don’t want to take “rights” away from anybody … all workers deserve fair salaries and reasonable benefits. (In fact I hail from a similar line of midwestern family members with ties to IBEW, USW, ICWUC.) I just want public union members to pay their way fairly for benefits, like you did in your union, like private sector workers have always done.
Regarding your comment about Bush borrowing from Social Security, in fact, the 1935 Social Security Act required surpluses collected to be “loaned” only to the federal government to be used for “general purposes.” This loophole was never filled, so all subsequent administrations have “raided the lockbox.” The box is filled with IOUs.
Over the years, administrations have added taxes, increased age limits, etc., to get where we are now; otherwise Social Security would have run out of money back in 1980.
Further, in 1999 Congress voted 416 to 12 on a Republican bill (Herger) that would have closed the loophole, and blocked any further use of Social Security funds going into the general fund. But, no surprise here, the Senate Dems filibustered and ultimately killed the bill. It’s the Dems that want to have unimpeded access to those “borrowed” dollars to spend on their ever-expanding Social Programs. (Bush tried another route by his platform to support privatization/personal control over Social Security benefits.)
Despite what Harry Reid says, only by targeted refinements to entitlements will they be available to our children. And we see our legislators right now kicking the can farther down the road.
Finally, by the way, my vision of Jesus is with tools in hand, wearing Carharts like mine, working for and with others showing we all can become more than we are.
I believe in the chance for all workers to live up to their highest level of achievement based on their God-given talents, enhanced by motivation to seek higher education and better skills. However, the pabulum of a nanny-state government handing out entitlements inhibits that motivation. And we just can’t afford it anymore.
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