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Marie Lozito


September 25, 2011

Marie Lozito is a Registered Nurse, Licensed Massage Therapist, wife, mother, grandmother and life-long conservative. She wrote a text on medical massage and taught at New York College of Health Professions. 

Interested in, and observing politics since 1960, she ran for elected office in 2010. 

 

About Social Security

In 1967, I brought home my first paycheck. I remember asking the payroll person at the hospital what the FICA deduction was. She told me it was my “retirement”. That sounded great. I was told many other things about this “retirement” plan. Things like: "The government is keeping your money in a trust fund", and "You'll be able to retire when you get old because they will give it back to you with interest"', and “You'll never have to worry about not having enough for what you need to live just because you get old”. Not that any of those people meant to lie to me, they really believed the things they said. It was supposed to be true, that's what they had been told. 

The Federal government wanted to be sure that every person reaching the age of 65 would be able to retire and still have the financial security to have a good life. Too many people didn't plan properly for their retirement, so the government - with good intentions - had arranged to do it for them. (I've told you how dangerous good intentions can be!) The government would take money from every paycheck they received, put it in an account for them and pay interest. Then when they retired, the government would give them back their money with the interest. Problem is that this was a myth. JFK was right when he said, "The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic".

FDR, a Democrat, started Social Security during his presidency. He was a Progressive, and bragged about how he had started it in such a way that "they will never be able to get rid of it". He promised that:

  1. participation in the program would be completely voluntary,

  2. the participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual incomes into the program,

  3. the money the participants elected to put into the program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year,

  4. the money the participants put into the independent 'Trust Fund' would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program, and 

  5. the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed as income.

Once I started looking into the Social Security program, it didn't take me long to realize that even back in '67 that certainly didn't describe the program my money was being taken for!

So what happened to the program FDR started in 1935? Slowly but surely Congress made changes. They changed it from a voluntary program to a mandatory program. By increments, the percentage they remove has risen to 15.30%. If you are employed, you pay half and your employer pays half. If you are self-employed, you pay the whole amount. 

By increments, Congress also increased the amount of your annual income that has FICA taken out. That maximum income taxed is now $106,800 – you don't pay FICA on amounts over the maximum, and the maximum annual contribution is $6,621.60 (employer) and $4485.60 (employee). 

FICA now includes Social Security, Disability and Medicare. In 2011, the FICA tax rate for employees was temporarily lowered to 5.65%. The employer's tax rate remained unchanged.

In 1958, the Democrat- controlled Congress removed funds from Social Security to use in the General Fund for the first time. Then under Democrat president LBJ, the Democrat- controlled Congress voted to permanently remove Social Security from the independent 'Trust Fund' and put it into the General Fund so that Congress could spend it. 

Under Jimmy Carter, another Democrat president, another Democrat- controlled Congress voted to give Social Security payments to immigrants who moved into this country, when they reached 65, even if they had never paid into the system. 

Finally, Bill Clinton, yet another Democrat president, and yet another Democrat-controlled Congress, eliminated the income tax deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding. Also, they started taxing the Social Security payments to seniors and the disabled. Vice President Al Gore, a Democrat, cast the tie-breaking vote. (The Vice President acts as President of the Senate and only votes in the event of a tie.)

You might have noticed a pattern in who made the changes in this program. I hope you'll remember this information when the Democrats say they are the friends of the “working people”. With “friends” like that, who needs enemies?

It disturbs me greatly that so many people were told, and believed, the same lies that I was told, and didn't plan for their retirements because the government was doing it for them! As a result, many older people are trying to live on their Social Security checks – meaning they either live in poverty or on the brink. Certainly this is not the promised retirement they had trusted the government to provide!

Quite honestly, I never expected Social Security would still be around by the time I got old enough to collect it. I was sure that it would go bankrupt before that. Having that money taken away from me in every paycheck was tolerable because I looked on it as part of my charitable giving. Each paycheck, I would look at the FICA and think "That's going to ____", always filling the blank with the name of a relative or friend who was receiving SS.

Over the years there have been numerous attempts to "fix" Social Security. None have been more than a band-aid on the problem. The politicians were all afraid to really deal with the problem – they believed people would be mad and vote them out of office. They were probably right. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't have fixed the problem anyway - when it was still a smaller problem. Now with the baby boomers starting to retire, it is a HUGE problem and no matter what they do, it's going to hurt a lot of people. I hope this legislature has the courage, responsibility and integrity to actually deal with the problem intelligently and not keep kicking the can down the road like their coward predecessors!

 

Contact Marie Lozito with your comments.

 

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