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Letter to the editor: Social Security myths are a ploy by politicians

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 12:01 am

It’s past time we called things by their proper names. Social Security is a tax. It is not insurance, it is not an annuity and it is not a savings account into which we pay funds set aside for us.

Absolutely no Social Security taxes we pay into the system are held for us until we retire. The taxes we pay fund our parents’ Social Security benefits, just as our children and grandchildren will pay for our benefits. There is a formula for how much tax we pay and a different formula for the benefits we will be paid.

Scott Rasmussen’s column about “makers vs. takers” is misleading to say the least. First he says that although 47 percent of people get government assistance, only 11 percent consider themselves dependent upon government. Really? Then let’s stop giving the other 36 percent their government assistance. It would go a long way toward solving our debt crisis. And it would prove they really aren’t dependent on the government.

Second, he says the Social Security people receive is “in exchange for premiums paid.” But these are not premiums, and this is not insurance. Social Security is a tax levied on some to pay for benefits conveyed on others, and these benefits are not necessarily related to their contributions.

The Social Security myths need to stop. They are a ploy by politicians (and pundits such as Rasmussen) to sway public opinion. And this has gone on far too long.

W. Brian Harris

Roanoke