Don’t privatize Social Security

Call me an extremist, but I think privatizing Social Security and Medicare would be an insane thing to do. I watched my retirement portfolio shrivel during a tech stock bust, then again when the housing bubble burst. The portfolio has only recently begun to grow again but will never regain the lost profits.

I could have lost everything in it, but no one who ever lived into old age has lost his money in the Social Security trust fund. One reason our recent recession was not as bad as the Great Depression is that old people and disabled people were protected from poverty by their Social Security checks. The only people who would benefit from privatization are the financiers, who would grab millions in commissions for managing/risking our money.

In 1971, I invested in a tax-sheltered annuity, which only qualified for a tax shelter for 10 months. Yet, when the annuity matured the insurance company reported all the premiums I paid for 42 years to the IRS as tax sheltered and claim to have lost my records. The company I contracted with had been taken over by AIG, the company that received a huge bailout at taxpayer expense in the same year their CEO received a multi-million dollar bonus. I figure AIG, if given the chance, would jump into the privatization market with both feet.

When the trust funds were invested in Treasury notes, the “borrowed” money made a tax cut for the rich possible. The middle class was subsidizing the rich in an era when the gap between the rich and the poor was the greatest it had been in a century. Now there is reluctance to start paying the $3 trillion back. The predators want to end Social Security instead, claiming that the system is bankrupt. Yeah, if we let them steal the money.

Even though the predators were unable to abolish Social Security, they were able to cut the Social Security Administration’s funding. Ask anyone who has retired in recent years whether the process was simple or easy. Applicants deal with balky machines more than people who have largely been cut out of the process. The administration never absorbed more than 1 percent of the program’s tax, a tiny fraction of the amount private administration would take. But Congress has cut the human service to retirees to discourage the process.

In the House of Representatives, Shelley Moore Capito has voted repeatedly to privatize Social Security and Medicare. This is consistent with her lavish funding from wealthy, predatory capitalists. We should not elect her to the Senate.

Natalie Tennant supports classic Social Security and Medicare, so she is the clear choice for real people.