Monday, February 28, 2005

Bob Samuelson's Column


I hope the link to Bob’s column, Cut My Benefits, stays active at the Washington Post archives for a while, because we all ought to read it.

Bob’s point is that he’s due to go on the dole in six short years himself and he’s built for himself an estate sufficient to get along, tottering off into the sunset quite comfortably. He thinks his benefits ought to be cut, along with Bill Gates and a huge swath of the middle class who have, in one way or another, provided for their retirement.

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are safety-net-programs, designed for that specific purpose during the Great Depression, when a whole hell of a lot of people desperately needed a net. Bob Samuelson makes the point that these FDR era entitlements have morphed into retirement subsidies . . . something that was never intended.

I paid into it and I’m damned well going to collect has become the predominant attitude and attempts by the Social Security Administration and Congress to set “taxable income” levels above which payments are reduced have proven to be a hard sell.

It shouldn’t be. Those of us who sail into retirement with a decent wind behind our sails ought to be happy to give up any benefit at all and wriggling with pleasure that we’re financially okay.

Welfare is an entitlement as well, but you don’t see middle class earners grasping for food stamps, even though they paid for them.