Since President George W. Bush unsuccessful attempted to overhaul the Social Security program after winning re-election, the issue has been a controversial topic in two presidential campaigns. But this year, both parties in the Senate, where most members are rich enough not to care about Social Security as a retirement income, supplement or pocket change, are not talking about it, no less offering improvements to what is called a “bankrupt” system.
A senator speaking to us under the condition of anonymity said, “I was talking about it when everyone wanted to talk about it but I won’t be the one to bring it up now that no one is talking about it because then I will have to come up with a plan and I have no idea what to do about it except to talk about it and now no one is talking about it, which means there won’t be any conversations about it and without conversations no one will be coming up with any ideas.”
A close tie to another senator said, “The senators have all decided not to talk about it because when one of them comes up with some idea about changing the system that person feels he or she is going to lose votes.”
Senator Paul Ryan presented an idea to change Social Security’s process a few months ago in front of a near empty senate chamber and those who were in attendance listened with their fingers pinching their noses.
“Ryan was brave,” said a senate secretary, “but he was smart not to bring it up again. Later that day, after his presentation, senators refused to talk about his idea and one of them was seen spraying the podium with Glade where Ryan spoke. I think Ryan got the message.”
“This is outrageous,” said William DeBard, the head of an organization yet to be named that was created to assist the needs of new millennium retirees. “This is ridiculous and it’s absurd, too. Once we name our organization we are going to be walking the halls of the Senate wanting answers. By the way, our first choice for the organization’s name is BASS, which is short for Becoming A Social Security warrior. We left the ‘W’ for warrior out because no one could pronounce BASSW as a word.”
The most recent serious Social Security legislation, according to records kept in the Senate about laws, was passed in 1983. Then, the two parties got together and worked out a solution thought to put the program on sound footing for fifty years. It had to be done because “the Social Security program at that point had six months left of solvency,” said a senate associate who was keeping a personal record of the program’s monies.
“It’s amazing,” he said, “but I couldn’t find the actual books. It was as if everyone in the senate just figured the money wouldn’t run out because people kept paying their payroll tax.”
Arnold Shwenderstilster, author of the book, “Longevity is Killing Retirement” said, “Lives are lasting longer and that means more people are alive to collect more Social Security checks. It was easy when people died younger or at least in their sixties but once people stopped smoking and ate better and exercised the Social Security system was in deep trouble. Today we see the negative results of being healthy, as far as the Social Security program is concerned.”
Historians agree that all of the original authors of the bill that passed the system during the Roosevelt administration counted on early deaths to support the system for those who lived far passed the retirement age of 65. None of those legislators could comment because they are all dead.
“It’s an economic issue,” said P. Perry Pickum, coordinating representative for Aging Americans of America. “Pensions have shrunk, personal savings have shrunk and wages have shrunk. It’s like everything is shrinking while people become older and even though people also shrink when they become older they have to have money to shrink with pride.”
Senator Bill Nelson of Florida is the chairman of the Aging Committee. A spokesman from his office said, “No one in the Aging Committee is getting any younger. If the committee members are aging then everyone is aging and that is a sad thing about life.” He walked away in tears.
“I feel the entire system is crazy from the top down,” said Reginald Rickenbacker, a member of a conservative group that lobbies for a smaller government where entitlement programs are extinguished. “There is nothing social about Social Security and now there is nothing secure about it, either. So why have a program called Social Security?”
Some senators say Social Security will never go broke. Others say it will go bust and not be available to the next generation. But none of the senators that take either side of that argument will say it in public.
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