Now we get to what I see as the most dangerous problem that is developing in our society. The first massive expansion of governments taxation power outside of the 16th amendment by using its language to say that it was ok. It actually has some correlation to the Affordable Care Act in how it was said to be constitutional in spite of the fact that the majority actually saw it as unconstitutional at the time.

The idea for the Social Security program was to be a trust fund that each individual contributed to. Each individual would than receive a certain percentage of that money back after their retirement age. The money would have theoretically gained interest while on loan to the government. The reason it was supposed to work so well is because they put the delivery of benefits equivalent to the average persons age on death. The point of the system was to insure someone against going completely broke because of a longer then expected life. Thus, half of the people who contributed to this fund would never even draw out of the fund. Made it a truly easy program to manage if it were done like that.  It seems like such a simple idea right?

Well, there were and are a number of different factors that have led to it becoming an entitlement instead of a simple system of long life insurance. The first, and most significant, is that the program as listed was actually unconstitutional. Therefore, in order for them to get it passed the court (in a decision I actually disagree with) they changed the language to say that the payments to the system were simply taxes, and that the “account” was the benefit of those taxes. This led to it being used as a tax throughout its history. The “lock-boxed account” never actually happened and thus the program was funded entirely out of the general fund and the taxes for it applied to the general fund.

The second, and very notable reason, is because as time has gone by the average lifespan has increased by nearly 10 years while keeping the programs age requirement the same. This has led to more benefits being collected than were originally intended with many more people claiming those benefits then originally expected.

The third reason it has been reduced to merely an entitlement program is the fact that we have continued to run up deficits and try to hold the appearance of those deficits down by using social security money over to hold it down.

Medicare was set up precisely the same way, but was actually never even thought of as anything but a tax because of the precedent. It was longer then life insurance for health care. Its become an entitlement for the exact same reasons as social security has.

Its time for something to change. I believe the conservative idea would be to return the money to the people. Stop the programs altogether. Does that mean I am naive enough to think that it should be stop the program or nothing? No, there are many things we can do to make this better without doing that. But I would think the conservative stand would to be to make changes to it to not only fit the constitution better, but to put it on surer ground and return as much power to the states as possible. The latter is one of the reasons I like the Ryan plan on the matter. He’s not what I would call a structural conservative, but working with him would definitely move the line back towards a more federalist and conservative approach.

The problem is that most powerful republicans (who even call themselves conservative) are for fixing the two institutions. By raising the age of claiming benefits, uncapping the payroll tax, and/or making it so those that are considered rich to not be able to get their benefits.

There is also a movement for a federal government mandated private account. Loosely based on Chile or the Galveston accounts. But this still is a federal government mandate which would have to be considered a tax for it to be held constitutional. In the end that would not even change the problem at all. I mean, it was the original intent of the bill to be a private account, but it is still unconstitutional to do the programs without calling it a tax/benefit.

In a perfect world (in which being rid of them is impossible) I would be for giving both programs to operational control of each individual state and the voters and legislatures of those states coming up with the program that makes sense for each state. We absolutely have to do something, because changing minute things will never fix these entitlements they have gone unchanged for far too long for minor fixes to ever work.

Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. -Thomas Jefferson

Each generation should be made to bear the burden of its own, instead of carrying  on, at the expense of other generations. -James Madison (original was about war but works for this as well)