Protect your retirement from the government

Oscar Wilde once wrote about marriage as being “the triumph of imagination over intelligence.” That same triumph is the only thing keeping the Democratic Party afloat.

If you need proof, consider the complaint du jour by Democrats over Social Security reform. To-wit: There is no crisis.

Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid recently said, “We have leaders who love to create crises that don’t exist. Social Security isn’t a crisis.”

If you believe him, perhaps you can explain the following statements, all made by prominent Democrats.

“And all of you know to a greater or lesser degree of specificity, every one of you know that the Social Security system is not sound for the long-term, so that all of these achievements … are threatened by the looming fiscal crisis in Social Security."—President Bill Clinton, Feb. 9, 1998

“This demographic change has triggered a serious Social Security crisis. … As a result, we have a $20 trillion un-funded Social Security liability."—Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, March 22, 2000

“Ten years from now … 53 million Americans will be expecting Social Security to be there for them in their retirement. They will remember … whether we voted for a budget resolution that failed to address the long-term financing crisis that faces the Social Security program."—Senator Robert Byrd, March 30, 2001

So if I follow the Democrats’ rationale correctly, there is no Social Security crisis—unless they say there is. Otherwise, we simply have a “problem.” And “problems” apparently don’t warrant solutions.

Let’s be honest. Among Democratic politicians, fixing the “problem” of Social Security is a fait accompli preferably practiced in the future.

The fact remains that there is a crisis, and there has been since 1960, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Flemming v. Nestor, which let Social Security continue as the Ponzi scheme it is.

In that case, Ephram Nestor, a Bulgarian immigrant, was stripped of his Social Security benefits after being deported in 1956. Nestor had paid payroll taxes for more than 19 years, and he rightfully sued to recover the benefits to which he claimed he was entitled.

The Supreme Court ruled that the “contract” we know as Social Security isn’t really a contract. No matter how much a worker has paid into Social Security, the amounts ultimately paid out are whatever Congress wants to provide at any given time. Or not.

So, in essence, the Democrats are correct. There is no crisis because the federal government has no obligation to pay. Workers paying into Social Security are actually owed nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Hence, there is no solvency problem. I mean, crisis.

Since its inception, Social Security has been invested in spending by Congress—which issues IOUs it doesn’t have to honor. You can see how enormous the problem is. I mean, crisis. And yet congressional Democrats want to continue running this scam that they themselves can opt out of.

The point here is that private accounts are a good idea. Money Americans invest in their retirements should belong to and be controlled by them, not politicians.

In the Washington Post last month, Sen. Reid spoke of private accounts. He said, “President Bush should forget about privatizing Social Security. It will not happen.”

What was Reid’s position during the Clinton years? On Fox News in 1999, he had a curiously different opinion. He said, “Most of us have no problem with taking a small amount of the Social Security proceeds and putting it into the private sector.”

Is Sen. Reid really the person you want looking after your retirement?