19 May 2011

Senator Rand Paul on Social Security & Medicare

This is the second entry in what I imagine will become an ongoing sub-series on this blog, in which I share with you the correspondence I receive from Senator Rand Paul, who represents yours truly in the United States Senate.  [The first entry was "I Am Selfishly Destroying America" and can be found here.  For future reference, all entries in this sub-set will be titled, "Senator Rand Paul on..." and you can always search for previous blog posts by the Rand Paul tag.]  Now, in fairness to Senator Paul, I cannot tell you just what he responded to because I put my name to any number of petitions throughout an average week.  Since his remarks are not specific to any particular legislative proposal, I cannot provide a clearer context at this time.
May 19, 2011
Dear Mr. McClain,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding Social Security and Medicare.  I appreciate hearing your thoughts on these issues.
Wasteful spending in Washington has drained the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.  The combination of massive debt, fewer active workers, and more retirees is pushing Social Security and Medicare into bankruptcy.
Though there are many problems with Social Security and Medicare, we still must keep our promises to current seniors.  With that said, we cannot continue to promise everything to everyone and attack anyone who says we need to be proactive about the problem facing us.  I have not been afraid to have an adult discussion of the practical and realistic changes to Social Security and Medicare that must take place.  Any changes I would support during the 112th Congress would only apply to younger Americans who have time to plan for the future.

Rand Paul, MD
United States Senator
Regarding the causes of SS/Medicare depletion, I would say this: no one had any business applying SS funds for anything other than SS. If we can't pay for textbooks in our classrooms with our Predator drone funding, then I want to know how we could pay for anything other than Social Security with Social Security money. The debt of the nation may be owed to Social Security, but how does Social Security owe a penny to our debt? It's supposed to be funded through taxes on worker wages. Put simply: if I have an I.R.A., how do I have less money in it if I have a mortgage? The money I contribute to the I.R.A. should simply accrue; it should not be conscious of any other part of my finances.

The larger issue, though, is Senator Paul's declaration that, "we cannot continue to promise everything to everyone," and that "any changes I would support during the 112th Congress would only apply to younger Americans who have time to plan for the future."

I was born 1 December 1978, so I don't really remember the Carter administration but it's my understanding that what crippled his standing with the American people was his admonition that the good times may be over, that we would need to set our sights lower and be willing to settle for less. We are Americans. Our entire culture is predicated on the very belief that tomorrow will be better than today. Ronald Reagan knew this, and more than anything else, it was his appeal to that philosophy that won him the presidency in 1980. Either Senator Paul needs to publicly denounce President Reagan's optimism, or he needs to tell me why that optimism should be abandoned.

Am I to understand that my parents's generation, my generation and the generation now in its infancy, are to be denied the security fought for and enjoyed by my grandparents's generation? What did we do to deserve this downgrade? I'm sorry our generation didn't walk both ways to school in our bare feet in the snow and save the world from Adolf Hitler. It never occurred to us we were supposed to feel too guilty to wear the shoes we were bought and to wage a war just to say we'd done it.

Less laborers on the books is a reason to renege on Social Security? The solution there is simple: tell your fat cat corporate owners they don't need to own a $5 million yacht they spend a week on each year when they could instead be putting Americans to work. Oh, but that would be social engineering and that would be a wrongful impediment to the freedom of the One Percenters...who are apparently exempt from the expectations of Senator Paul that those under 55 because they "have time to plan for the future."