First Person: Will I Receive Social Security?

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Thank you for asking, but I don't know how to fix the economy. No one does.

These types of surveys provide for interesting discussion points, but they do not provide results that are tangible or understandable. Don't ask me about taxing "wealthy" individuals if you aren't going to define that term. Don't use the phrase "cut them drastically" without defining a quantity or how it will impact people. We cannot lament that politicians use vague and ambiguous terms and then use them ourselves. And yes, I know that I am guilty of that as well. Of course we have problems with partisan disagreement. Didn't anyone watch the debates? Sad. If that is supposed to be a blueprint for compromise, we are in trouble.

Basic principles

In general, I was taught that you should make more money than you spend. That doesn't seem to apply to government finance, which I imagine is a bit befuddling to a few people around the country. Cuts? Of course there should be cuts, and at some point I expect my taxes will go up. However, we all have our pet projects and services that affect us directly. Are there a lot of people raising their hands and saying, "I don't need that job or government program anymore." I am sure that every government agency could make a very good argument for keeping their funding. Cuts hurt, and at some point they will have a negative impact on somebody. That includes me.

Falling on your sword

I understand how this works. I am not so cynical that I believe all politicians are corrupt and focus all their energy on duping the American people. Perhaps I am wrong, but I believe that there are "good" politicians who try to do the "right" thing. That said, what is a politician's primary concern? It is the same concern felt by you and me. We all want to keep our jobs. Therefore, why would representative so-and-so go to a government committee and suggest they cut funding to some piece of military hardware that is built in their district by key voters? They wouldn't, even if that piece of equipment is really no longer needed. Multiply that by a lot of people and contracts, and you have some serious spending.

Picking one topic

If I must pick one topic, let's go with Social Security. Many financial "experts" have suggested that people like me should not plan on Social Security being there by the time I retire. That is fine, but if Social Security is going to disappear, someone will need to make the bold decision to phase it out. If that actually happens, it will impact a number of Americans who currently depend on those checks. In addition, there are people like me who have been paying into Social Security and are going to be wondering if we will get any of that money back. If my contributions are simply going to help pay for older Americans before the program goes away, I guess that will be the reality. I just want to know when and how a change in the program will occur.

This is going to hurt

Honesty, I wish I did have simple answers. However, if you have simple answers for fixing this country, then you haven't studied the complexities of economics or politics. As citizens we should be educated and informed, but we should also understand that there is a reason some decisions have been made. I feel like you can't get elected in this country if you tell people a measure of truth about what may be required to manage government spending. Once people are in office, they face an uphill battle to overcome the entrenchment of the other political party. One thing I do know is that there isn't a nice, easy way to do this. Someone is going to get hurt if we are going to make serious changes to the economics in this country.

In the end, math wins.

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