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Paul Harvey Was Right About the Rest of Social Security's Story

Paul Harvey Was Right About the Rest of Social Security's Story
(Yukchong Kwan/Dreamstime)

By Tuesday, 20 March 2018 12:57 PM Current | Bio | Archive

How many American’s remember ABC (WLS) broadcaster Paul Harvey?

For those who don’t know who he was, he was an American treasure. Harvey was a legendary radio personality delivering news and commentary in a plain-talking common sense style, one never divisive — and one always informative.

He began in radio at the age of 14 in 1933 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There he read news and produced ad spots. After completing schooling and brief service in the military, he settled in Chicago in 1944, beginning his professional radio career.

Harvey's presence on radio lasted over 60 years. At the apex of his career, he had over 24 million listeners on1200 plus radio stations. He was best known for his signature sign off "Paul Harvey, good day!"

For his lifetime of achievement in radio and journalism he was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2005 by then-President George W. Bush. Harvey died in March, 2009 at the age of 90.

In 1985, at the age of 67, Paul Harvey aired a radio commentary warning the American people of the untenable funding and benefit obligations of Social Security. His words are as true today as when he said the following 26 years ago:

"Many Americans believe that any discontinuation of Social Security is just unthinkable. 70 percent of Americans believe it should provide a basic standard of living and 90 percent of Americans oppose any cuts whatsoever in Social Security benefits and yet at the same time the same survey reveals that most Americans think their taxes are too high and 86 percent of Americans consider our federal budget deficit a serious problem.

We all want it both ways — lower taxes and high benefits.

And with one in six Americans receiving some or all of their income from Social Security it is understandable that Congress is unwilling to do anything but to increase Social Security benefits.

So, that brings us to the serious problem of our budget deficit of which Social Security is a substantial factor.

Because of the broad based support for Social Security, lawmakers are going to keep it alive by transfusion or whatever, for as long as they can. But, if future increases are geared toward inflation, it may make Social Security cost prohibitive and thus COLA’s, (cost of living adjustments), which 80 percent of Americans support — such increase would not be sustainable.

Retirees are going to want to see a lot of other extravagances curtailed first, but pruning Social Security will be less objectionable only when it is the alternative to national bankruptcy . . . Good Day."

Well, Harvey was right. Lawmakers kept Social Security going by propping it up with taxpayer borrowed transfusion after transfusion, decade after decade, knowing full well that sooner — rather than later — it was destined for insolvency.

So, why is Social Security going broke?

In 1940, (five years after Social Security was enacted), an American had to attain the age of 65 to receive full benefits. In 1940 however most people never made it to 65. That is not the case today. The average life expectancy today is 76 while the age of full retirement benefits is 67.

Do the math. There are simply too many beneficiaries.

Social Security is funded from taxes taken by current workers to pay the benefits of current retirees. Today money goes in and goes right out. Current workers contributions are not being "saved" for their benefit in the future.

In 1950, there were 7.3 working-age people for each person over 65; now the ratio is 4.7 to 1. It's predicted to drop to 2.7 to 1 by 2035.

Do the math. There are not enough people paying in.

The reality is this, today Americans cannot work 40 years and then retire for 20 on the government’s dime.

For decades Congress has either raided Social Security funds to pay for other than retiree related expenses or they have totally ignored the hard truth that Social Security is destined for insolvency unless and until it is totally and completely retooled and salvaged — at great political turmoil and resentment by the public.

Everyone of working age knows they are going to get screwed in their retirement and not get that which was either paid in or promised by the government. The question for Americans is this. Would you rather have some government supplied retirement or none at all?

Social Security's day of reckoning is here. For decades politicians on both sides of the aisle have been equally incompetent in their failure to fix this safety-net at a time that would have caused less disruption and public consternation.

Now is the time to fix Social Security for generations to come. The alternative is nothing short of a national catastrophe. Good day!

Bradley Blakeman was a member of President George W. Bush's senior White House staff from 2001 to 2004. He is also a frequent contributor to Fox News and Fox Business Channel. He currently is a Principal with the 1600group.com a consulting company. — Click Here Now.

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For decades Congress has either raided Social Security funds to pay for other than retiree related expenses or they have totally ignored the hard truth that Social Security is destined for insolvency
congress, safety-net
Tuesday, 20 March 2018 12:57 PM
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