Letter to the Editor: Social Security not there for those who contribute to it

“There you go again.” Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter in a 1980 debate.

Those were the first words that came to mind when I read Mr. Bill Clemens’ most recent rebuttal of conservatism. It seems an innate talent of socialists to cherry pick the ants while the elephants march through the bedroom. Using ultra-left publications, radical professors, and antiquated/outdated references may make good copy, but seldom passes the smell test when placed under scrutiny.

In dissecting the latest screed, let me address his use of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Perhaps Mr. Clemens dictionary doesn’t differentiate between “asylum seeker” and “illegal alien” but mine surely does. In every other country in the world it does. If a Texan feels he’s paying too much to the government and crosses into Mexico illegally, you can bet he’ll end up in prison just like Andrew Tahmooressi. Asylum seekers are expected to go though formal and legal vetting processes to insure they aren’t miscreants trying to avoid prosecution for crimes in their home country.

Next comes the insinuation that it was Republicans who failed to pass a Senate bill on immigration. Quite conveniently Mr. Clemens ignores how a bill works its way through Congress to become law. Republicans hold a slim and tenuous majority in the House. Coupling that with members who affiliate as Republicans but vote as Democrats (i.e., Jeff Flake, Kevin McCarthy, Elise Stefanik, Don Young, et al who are considered as RINOs) that “majority” is insufficient to dominate major legislative processes.

There have been no “false reports” about a “law” separating children from parents who illegally enter this country. That policy had been in place for 16 years under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. How it suddenly became such a polarizing issue to socialist Democrats only after Donald Trump was elected is puzzling to most. Weren’t those children important during that time frame?

I particularly like Mr. Clemens’ assertion that Attorney General Sessions “began illegally enforcing a ‘no tolerance’ policy.” I can only assume that he now readily admits that the previous attorneys general did not enforce existing policy. How does one “illegally” enforce existing policy?

The final straw comes with his assertion that “many businesses” give illegal immigrants identification numbers to the IRS. This would be laughable if it weren’t so convoluted. Since Mr. Clemens is so fond of Google, perhaps he’d look up “Walter P. Rawl fined $1 million for hiring illegal aliens.” The majority of illegals find employment in the farming communities. The big lie is that no one else will do this type work while the truth rests in no one will do this type of work for the wages being paid. Big farm entities like the one above contract individuals running clandestine employment agencies.

These agents present a bill at the end of a pay period and the farmers write a single check to the agent instead of individual employees. Most farm workers along the southern borders and southern states are simply ghosts who come and go with no tracking evidence. It’s a perfect way to disappear into the general population and is a mainstay to prevent ICE agents from finding and deporting you.

Socialists are so convinced that they love to cite examples of how Americans are converting to socialism. Again, without a dictionary to guide them, I must stress that Mr. Clemens’ claims are pure bunk. Under the socialist regime of Franklin Roosevelt, he convinced people that “the government” would better care for their savings if they took some of it out of every paycheck. They were promised to get every cent that had been take back. Well, it seems the government couldn’t keep from being tempted in skimming some of that money off the top to pay for pork barrel pipe dreams.

Instead, they devised a system that would calibrate what you’d contributed with what they should dole back out to you. (Funny how across the spectrum of incomes, the final numbers for everyone seem to be within a few hundred dollars of each other). The Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) requires that you “contribute” to both Social Security and to Medicare (which was instituted to temper tax payers revolt over not getting all their “contributions” returned) at a rate of 6.2 percent of your earnings and an additional 1.45 percent going to Medicare. When you retired, the government calculates your AVERAGE monthly salary during the 35 years you earned the most. Then they use a FORMULA (which is not public knowledge).

Currently, the maximum SS payment is just under $2,800 a month but the average of 58 million contributors is less than $1,300 a month. You must realize however, that what you receive is limited in that if you have other investments or income above $16,920 a year, your receipt will be half of every dollar you make if you are under 65. If you never held a permanent job and haven’t met the required “quarters” of employment, you may forfeit all you’ve ever contributed. It sadly gets worse as you get older and if you’re living on the paltry return you “contributed”, it tends to become less each years as you have more and more deducted for Medicare.

And never forget that noncitizens living in America who have not contributed a lifetime of wages are eligible to receive Social Security payments. That means that if you didn’t make enough money or you make too much salary according to our government, you may not be entitled to any of the money you contributed but someone who isn’t even a citizen and didn’t contribute can. I would suggest if this is the best example of socialism Mr. Clemens can come up with, he should probably hope no one researches its success.

Perhaps his final sentence could best be answered with a bit of training in basic economics. Wages always trail the cost of living since, by definition, they must be adjusted to come up to the cost of living. Certainly the demand and socialist posterchild of employers being required to pay $15 an hour for unskilled workers is going to make that line impossible to ever attain. Couple that with free college, free medical care, and free “living wages”, the future doesn’t look very rosy for those espousing this fairytale Xanadu.

I suppose all of us should just retire and live off of what the government deems a suitable return for out lifelong investments. Yet is we keep giving those investments to people who’ve never contributed, it won’t be long before we reach that socialist Utopia Mr. Clemens heralds.

George Roof

Magnolia

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