- - Monday, April 20, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When politicians insist on “reforming” some program they mismanaged and destroyed, they always turn to the average American and begin explaining the “sacrifice” we have to make in order to save it.

It never occurs to these people, the oh-so clubby, incredibly wealthy political elite, that they should be the first cadre to sacrifice financially for the “greater good” they keep telling us about.

Case in point: Social Security was back in the news last week when New Jersey Gov. (and possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate) Chris Christie bloviated about his commitment to telling people “hard truths” and then announced his ideas to “reform” Social Security.

Mr. Christie’s proposal involves raising the retirement age from 67 to 69 years of age, and establishing means-testing, which would limit benefits for retirees with an income of more than $80,000 a year and eliminate them entirely for anyone who makes over $200,000 a year.

The idea of a means test in itself implies that the government, and its caregiver politicians, can divine how much money every individual needs to live their lives. Or, even more dangerously, it would set the precedent that government will decide how much money you “need.”

Social Security needs reforming because, as USA Today reports, trustees in charge of the Social Security Trust Fund say it will run dry in 2033. There is something that needs to be fixed: It’s a federal regime that is addicted to spending and fixated on reducing the average American to mere money generators for the federal machine.

The American people were sold on the lie that there’s a “Social Security Trust Fund” collecting the taxes paid for retirement benefits. Now we’re told we receive payments from a younger set of workers, paying as we go. Much like a classic pyramid scheme, you pay in and the feds use your taxes to pay someone else who got dragged into the scheme earlier than you. And now they sanctimoniously tell you how much you have to give up to keep the plot going.

The fact of the matter is each of us leads a different life. After the financial collapse of 2007-08, brought to us by the same political bozos who are always trying to fix their financial disasters on our backs, Americans lost almost everything. We lost our homes. Mortgages were underwater. Retirement accounts were gone. Lives built for decades came crashing to a halt, with families and individuals losing most, if not everything, they had worked for all their lives.

And now politicians are declaring how much money is enough for you to make before they decide to take away Social Security benefits? Not under our watch.

Wealth is relative, and none of us should enable the government to declare what it is that anyone needs, or doesn’t need, financially or otherwise. It’s that simple.

Fomenting a little perceived economic class warfare has always been the friend of tyrannical regimes. After all, it keeps you distracted from noticing there is another answer to solving a national financial problem: holding those responsible for it accountable.

If we are going to start means-testing to save Social Security from ruin, let’s start by having politicians and bureaucrats be the first to sacrifice. Let’s implement means-testing for the managers of the monster in Washington, and if they don’t fall under arbitrary level of income, then their pensions should be sent into an actual fund to save Social Security.

Politico reports former IRS official Lois Lerner, now infamous for taking the 5th Amendment in front of Congress, is receiving a $100,000 annual pension from the government. Shouldn’t we means-test Ms. Lerner? All the senators we fired last year during the midterms are taking home healthy pensions as well. Kay Hagan, as an example, defeated in the midterm, will receive more than $1,000 every month for the rest of her life simply for serving one term in the U.S. Senate. Does she “need” that? We should find out, no?

McClatchy D.C. reports Democratic Rep. George Miller of California will be eligible for an annual pension of $125,500. Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia will retire after 20 years, qualifying for a yearly pension of $53,000.

The president of the United States receives a pension equal to the salary of Cabinet officials, which is currently $191,000 a year. Presidents these days leave the office wealthier than when they entered, and in “retirement” they make millions in the private sector. When Mr. Obama leaves office he will receive $191,000 every year for the rest of his life, after spending eight years destroying the nation financially.

And people wonder why we look funny at politicians who keep telling us we have to sacrifice for the greater good.

In the meantime, The Washington Times reported last week the Obama “administration has granted about 541,000 Social Security numbers to illegal immigrants under President Obama’s original 2012 deportation amnesty for Dreamers, officials told Congress in a letter made public … .”

Yes, a brand-new level on the Social Security pyramid scheme is being ushered in. All so the feds can pretend big government and massive redistribution of wealth works just fine. Bernie Madoff would be proud.

Tammy Bruce is a radio talk show host, author and Fox News contributor.

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