Op-Ed: As Congress Focused on Jan. 6 Investigation, Social Security Quietly Admitted When Its Cash Flow Will Fail


As the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol starts public hearings, we must ask what motivates those on the committee.

Is the sole concern the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? Or is it to get the media to attack and undermine political opponents? It is indeed possible that infractions of the law can be investigated without a carnival platform designed to mobilize the media and distract the nation.

The committee has already announced on its website that Jan. 6, 2021, was “one of the darkest days of our democracy.”

Really? Alongside a civil war in which some three-quarters of a million Americans were killed fighting over what America is about, one incident of a few hours in which law enforcement finally prevailed was one of our “darkest days”?

There are just 24 hours in any day, so time taken on one matter means attention not given to other matters. If these members of Congress really cared about the principles of freedom and democracy, they wouldn’t be ignoring pressing issues in which the freedom of American citizens is being blatantly violated.

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Consider, for example, that as the Jan. 6 investigation monopolizes media attention, on June 2 the trustees of Medicare and Social Security issued their annual reports.

Both systems are bankrupt and in dismal financial shape.

The cash shortfall of Medicare in 2021 was $409 billion. The projection is that Social Security will be out of adequate cash flow to meet obligations to retirees by 2035 — just 13 years from now.

The trustees estimate that there are only adequate funds in Social Security to meet 80 percent of benefits in 2035. The payroll tax, now 12.4 percent, would have to be raised 26 percent in order to generate sufficient funds to meet those obligations.

Is the Jan. 6 committee a sham?

In other words, every working American age 55 and below who plans to collect Social Security benefits at age 67 is paying a payroll tax into a system that cannot provide the benefits promised.

Can you imagine a private insurance company sending a letter to policyholders saying that in 13 years it will only be able to meet 80 percent of the promised payments? The lawsuits would be flying.

Let’s forget about the fiscal situation of the system for a minute and whether it is even worth saving this program. How about the issue of freedom that our representatives want us to believe they care about so much?

Take a young citizen, age 21, fresh with a new degree, entering the workforce for the first time. Immediately, 12.4 percent of his paycheck is deducted into a system he involuntarily enters in which there are inadequate funds to provide promised benefits.

Shouldn’t this young worker be able to say, “No, thank you, I don’t want to participate”?

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Even if the system were not broken, in our free country, shouldn’t everyone be free to manage his own retirement?

According to the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, the average return of Social Security over the last 40 years was 1 percent. Over the same period, the average return on stocks was 6 percent.

Back to this young worker. By the calculations of the CUP, this single worker, if he earned the median national income and was able to invest 10 percent of his income into a diversified stock and bond portfolio over 40 years instead of paying the payroll tax, could have an annual income at retirement of $55,143 against $19,646 from Social Security.

So, hey, members of the select committee. Enough of pretending that you care about American freedom. How about wrapping up the carnival and getting down to the real challenges every American faces today?


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