Thursday, June 21, 2012

Social Security and Ron Paul

A recent story on the Huffington Post read that "Ron Paul Admits He's On Social Security, Even Though He believes It Is Unconstitutional." I passed this article on to social media because it matters. It matters that people understand that Ron Paul has a different perspective about what is important and personal to him and what it means for others.

Upon setting this article lose among my followers, a few interesting interactions begun to occur. Some had the knee jerk reaction that Ron Paul is a hypocrite and made no bones about it. Others defended Ron Paul's actions by justifying his reasoning.

Neither one is wrong. Those who view Ron Paul as a racist, a misogynist and a liar are also going to view him as a hypocrite.

Those who are inspired by Ron Paul's rhetoric feel that a hero of the people has been insulted. His ardent followers can't wait for ideology to become real. A Ron Paul presidency would ensure - at least in the ideological portion that has nothing to do with reality - legalized drugs, eliminating the department of education, and the Federal Reserve.

What the article from the Huffington Post highlights is that what is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.  While Ron Paul has stated that older adults would continue to receive benefits into a system they paid into, younger adults could opt out of the system.

It makes sense, right? if we contributed, we should, like Ron Paul, reap the benefits. Unfortunately, the ideology stops there, at the threshold of reality. Reality has a tendency to be unpleasant because consequences make a brutal impact in people's lives.

Reality - Young people feel invincible. Feelings are not facts and Ron Paul does not go into the pesky details of reality.

17 yr old with traumatic brain injury
in a coma after car accident
via ABC news
What Ron Paul does not tell his followers is:  "This is a fact: You are twenty-five years old, you have not contributed a dime towards Social Security and when you leave here tonight, you will be in a horrific auto accident that will leave you permanently disabled and in need of 24/7 care for the next few years. Maybe for the rest of your life. You will be in agonizing pain. You will need others to take care of you and above all, this is going to cost you money that you will never have."

Now what?

It could easily be a work-related accident. Workmen's Compensation Insurance will only carry the injured twenty-something for a few months, maybe two years. After that, he can go sit in a corner and beg for sustenance alongside the other homeless, decrepit, mentally ill and destitute individuals.  If there is any consolation in this scenario is that they will all be in the same age bracket because people of Ron Paul's age and status in society, will be doing just fine. With or without, Social Security.

Just like Mitt Romney and everyone in his circle. Just like the Koch brothers or Donal Trump or Rush Limbaugh. It is very easy to take the high road when you don't have to choose between eating twice a week and keeping warm.

Ron Paul's idea of "liberty" means you are on your own. Nothing can be more appealing to a healthy twenty-something than to be free of "government interference" and feel as free as the wind. Unfortunately, a nation of laws without social structure that provides for all the things young people "feel" will never need is rather oppressing. Especially when they realize no adult has given them a second thought if things don't go as planned.

Who does not understand the ideology of living on your own and answering to no one? - How about keeping the extra $100 a month and blowing it on something cool? What young person would not want to keep 100% of his paycheck to spend and live for the day? - Hey! that's another bag of weed and if Ron Paul becomes president he has stated that all drugs will become legal. Waa Hoo!

Homeless Veteran
Ron Paul wants people to do as they please. If they choose to pump raw heroin into their veins, so be it. But if their brain is fried and in need of medical assistance, rehabilitation services, food to eat and shelter... well, that's just too bad. Ideology shies away from crossing reality's threshold. The light is too harsh.

Young people won't have to worry about high tuition and a college education because once the public school system is gone, they will be lucky to know how to read and write. Those in college now may very well be the last bastions of education. No safety nets, no Pell Grants, no tuition-waivers and most of all, no restrictions on usury terms for college loans. This is "freedom?" this is "Liberty?" - No, this is the ugly reality of this meme of  "freedom from government intervention."

Judging from the inability of some college graduates to differentiate from "Their" "There" "Their's" or "Your" and "You're" with our current system, it would be interesting to see what new turn our language takes with an absent DOE.

I can identify with the feelings of those who listen to the ideology because I have felt the same way  not that long ago (at least that is what I tell myself). When I was in my twenty's I resented having to pay taxes or into Social Security and Medicare.

I was invincible and that was my money. I earned it all and I knew best how to spend it. Old age was a long ways off and after all, I had gone to college, was educated and a dedicated hard worker.  I was the recipe for success. Just like everyone of my friends.

See? I knew better. I was on top of the world and the stupid government was harshing my mellow.

The stupid government in my state mandated that all employers provide health care for their employees. Two difficult pregnancies and deliveries later, I was still oblivious to the fact that someone in my position without health insurance would have died.

My life, and that of my unborn children, was saved twice and it cost me a total of two dollars when I left the hospital with bouncy happy babies. Hawaii was the state with the best health care delivery system in the Nation. I was lucky to have moved there to work and live so early in my young life.

When my husband broke his back saving his co-worker in a horrific power plant accident, workmen's compensation did not cover the endless years of recovery. Stupid Government intervention required the private insurance to continue making payments (less than 2/3 of his usual basic pay) until he was recovered, rehabilitated through physical therapy or declared unrecoverable.

This gave us the "freedom" to continue eating and feeding the two bundles of joy. Granted we were not financially secure, but we were not living on the street.

We were in our 30's. Invincible? No. Not by a long shot. Reality and ideology clashes are often ugly.

Our story is not unique. We see people at the supermarket shuffling painfully along the isles. Some are disabled from accidents, others from birth. The fact is that they are young. Very young.

Some are in their early 20's others look to be about 40 years old, but living with conditions that will never go away. That is the reality of life for these young people and the people who love and help them along. Those of us who are still contributing to Social Security are doing it gladly.

We now know that we are not investing money in our own personal accounts, but to maintain a social structure that works for all of us.  The money that was taken out of our paychecks has gone to this general fund that was put in place decades ago to avoid having a multitude of destitute citizens begging for their daily bread in a soup line. Or freezing to death in the middle of winter.

Ron Paul is entitled to his social security benefits and so should everyone else. Not by "opting out" of contributing, but by continuing to contribute to our social structure. Because truth be told, no one knows when they will have to be Social Security recipients, not by choice, but by force.

One final thought is that if Social Security benefits are so offensive to a multi-millionaire, the right thing to do is to give it away to their favorite cause (often themselves) or return it to the treasury.  These are people who don't need the money and can ideologically boast that since they were forced to contribute, now they are "sticking it to the man" by accepting the funds.

This reasoning is not logical, nor believable. Especially when someone is worth millions.

Huffington Post: Ron Paul Admits He is On Social Security
USA Today: Ron Paul is Worth up to $5.2 Million
Other Articles That Might Interest You:

For additional clarity, I highly recommend this one: Social Security and Other Distractions
For an official clear version of where we stand financially, this one: Social Security Press Release: Social Security is Solvent
Social Security and Government Rant
Healing, Empowering and Thriving

Ron Paul Photo via

1 comment:

sandinbrick said...

God could you imagine if Ron Paul was even taken seriously, yes the young admire him. But they don't realize how they one day may need S.S., all they look at is MTV and all those stupid show. Thank Olivia, but I wish you would let me when you do a blog. I admire you and trust you. Have a great weekend. Bless you and your family.