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Aquila overlooks one key Social Security issue
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
This is in reference to Mr. Aquila’s article on the “Coming collapse of Social Security”:

He has overlooked one of the main issues that have cause and effect of the failure of the system itself. I feel there is no need to go back to 1935 when the system was started. The system was designed to help those people who found themselves destitute with no money or support.

The system was also designed as a supplemental saving for those who wished to retire in the coming years. The amount donated to the Social Security in the days when the system was started was very low.  In the mid thirty’s when wages were about 50 cents per hour, the amount contributed was very low.

The overall fact that millions of Americans were contributing made the difference in how fast the system grew. By the 40s the amount grew to staggering amounts of money, by the raises and the amount of people who were working in that 5 year period. The fact that the US was being threatened with an impending war did help the social security plan because more people were working for the buildup of the military’s need for weapons for the coming war.

The British asked us for our help when Germany was spreading the war in Europe, by asking us for the lend- lease program, that furthered the economy for the U. S. It also put us more involved in the pending war with Germany and eventually Japan. The anger against America was now out in the open as a result of our intrusion, supporting England.

That now brings us to the point where money was needed to support the war effort, and the only place to get the money was our Social Security funds, that were paid back after WW 2.

The real efforts of Americans was to utilize that social security money for supplemental incomes not retirement accounts as Mr. Aquila states. That is the main part of the problem, with the social security and the abuse of the system. Those who died in the wars, their families received a check for $10,000 as a death benefit. If they had children under the age of 18 or children who were going to college would receive funding.

The major issue again was, by the time the war was over insignificant amounts of money were collected. Large amounts of money were collected to help these families in need.  During that period of time the Congress voted against a pay raise for Social Security. At that point in 1949 the war with Korea was just starting, and the attacks were increasing and the need to escalate our troops over there were necessary. Thus causing another need to raise money for war against Korea, the Government borrowed from the Social Security system once again.

Now a system was in place to borrow money and raise money and pay the system back by raising taxes. Now comes the most important part of what Mr. Aquila’s scenario forgot to mention. The cost of wars were causing the inflation in America.  Now people are not saving money for a rainy day. By the time the 60s were here the Vietnam war had started and again causing turmoil to our economy.  The social security system was being drained of revenue because of the wars and the survivors of the WW 2, Korea and now the Vietnam war and their families. Not only for death benefits but the entitlements of the children to be raised and to continue their educations.

Then later at the end of the Vietnam war we had off springs of American troops and those were in the hundreds of thousands. By this time the social security system still did not make the necessary adjustments to the tax increases to allow the social security system to build an equity. Thus the system was failing. With all the other wars and tragedies that were occurring in America, the social security system is in deep trouble. The need was to increase the number of taxes to keep up with the spending of the system. Now we are in 2009 and we are still fighting wars and supporting foreign countries, expending billions of dollars for reparation for the wars and the people who fought those wars.

 The increases should have started in the 40s when the money was being spent. Let’s not allow any administration to use our social security system for any other agenda but for American citizens who have  worked and contributed into the system, for a supplemental  retirement plan.
 Thomas A Benigno
May 21, 2009