(32) comments Back to story

Don Schlessinger

As much as I disagree with David Michael Smith and his ideas the First Amendment says he has the right to have his say. If we didn't allow him to have that say America would be no better than the Socialist and Communist countries we wish he would move to. That's what I and a few of my friends in these blogs wore a uniform for.

Gary Scoggin

Exactly right, Don. The last thing we need is the GDN censoring into of view here.

Gary Miller

Right on Don.

Patricia C Newsom

Socialism and communism is not a friend to freedom. America’s youth better wake up!

Carlos Ponce

David Michael has a right to express his views which are not really different from those of the Democrat front runners. Let him write. The more he writes, the more we see those views do not reflect that of the general populace. As for the indoctrinated youth, they need to see both sides of Socialism. Look beyond the promises of "free" things. They need to learn the lessons of history and hear the tales of those who fled Socialist countries to a land of freedom - the United States. And to those who emigrate from other states - Don't Mess With Texas!

Casey Alan

Everybody cry socialism. But I’m sure a lot of people who are doing the crying are already participating in the socialist programs that this country already has. They probably just don’t realize it. Or if it helps them who cares.

Carlos Ponce

Limited government involvement is not true Socialism. Womb to the tomb, cradle to the grave control of your lives is.

Bailey Jones

It's a free country, and the GCDN is a free press. As such, it has an obligation to publish whatever nonsense its subscribers submit, as long as it meets reasonable community standards for civility and decency. Case in point - this letter.

There are plenty of media "safe spaces" in existence for anyone whose worldview is too fragile to be exposed to contrarian ideas. Our local newspaper shouldn't be one.

Kelly Naschke

Keep your friends close.....and your enemies closer....

Michael Jozwiak

How many of those writing here cash their Social Security checks, get medicare benefits, get senior tax exemptions, enjoy police and fire protection, good roads and water.... Much of this is 'socialistic' but not the scary socialism word. Yes, you paid into some of these programs, but you enjoy their benefits that were created to benefit all of us by people who proposed it, wrote it, voted for it. How would you all be if you didn't have SSI and Medicare for example??? Would you have really saved over your lifetime to provide for yourself in your senior years??? I doubt it. You'd be living under a bridge and demanding government services.

Kenneth Diestler

How are we "going to be" after the same benevolent government who "gave" us those programs plundered them and spent the money to buy votes and now they will have to cut the benefits we bought to balance a bloated budget. For the government to give you something they have to take it from someone.

Gary Miller

Mike>Our tax code is socialist and the majority think it stinks. It should be replaced by a form of free market tax. A flat tax or national sales tax. Social security is a socialist ponzi scheme. It would be far better if privatized as FDR suggested in 1935 it must be. Public schools are socialist and very obviously worse because of it. People like Smith could not be produced by a free market school system which would correct or discard them early. Local taxes for city services are not socialist or free market, just a way to share costs of wanted services.

Bailey Jones

Gary, why is it that you're the only one who seems to know about this "FDR suggested privatizing social security" thing? I'd really like to learn the source of this statement.

Jim Forsythe

In an attempt to promote President Bush's plan to partially privatize Social Security, nationally syndicated radio host and former Reagan administration official William J. Bennett and FOX News managing editor and anchor Brit Hume falsely claimed that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt advocated replacing Social Security with private accounts. In fact, while Roosevelt advocated “voluntary contributory annuities” to supplement guaranteed Social Security benefits, he never proposed replacing those benefits with private accounts.

Bailey Jones

Thanks, Jim. That explains why I couldn't find any historical record of it.

Carlos Ponce

Texas teachers and Galveston County workers (thanks to County Judge Ray Holbrook) work outside the Social Security System with much better return on their investments.

Carlos Ponce

FDR privatizing Social Security: Let me repeat what I posted Sep 8, 2019 7:43am -

President Roosevelt told Congress in 1935 that, “except for the money necessary to initiate it, [Social Security] should be self-sustaining in the sense that funds for the payment of insurance benefits should not come from the proceeds of general taxation.... It is proposed that the federal government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.”

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/fdr-social-security/

https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/speech-to-congress-on-social-security/

Bailey Jones

Yes, Carlos - FDR supported a separate SS tax so that future politicians couldn't take SSI away. ("We put those pay roll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.") He was not proposing privatization. In fact - if you read the whole address, he calls specifically for compulsory contributions.

I'm not necessarily opposed to some SS privatization. FDR's original plan was for the government to use the SS tax to purchase annuities, presumably on the market.

Carlos Ponce

As a recipient of non-Social Security retirement income I can assure you it's better than SS.

Gary Miller

Bailey> Reference the library of Congress for January 17 1935. FDR scolded congress for not providing a way for SS to be privatized. He said it must be privatized by 1965 or it will need regular tax increases to survive. He was correct.

Bailey Jones

"Reference the library of Congress for January 17 1935. FDR scolded congress for not providing a way for SS to be privatized." OK, Gary , let's test this hypothesis. I assume you mean the Congressional Record, not the Library of Congress. That's OK, they're easy to confuse. That's the document Carlos and I have been discussing - The Congressional Record of the House of Representatives for Thursday, January 17, 1935. The link to it is here - you'll want page 598 - https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-CRECB-1935-pt1-v79/pdf/GPO-CRECB-1935-pt1-v79-11-2.pdf



Of particular note with regard to "privatization" is this - "Third, sound financial management of the funds and the reserves, and protection of the credit structure of the Nation should be assured by RETAINING FEDERAL CONTROL over all funds through trustees in the Treasury of the United States."



Doesn't sound too private to me. Also - "Second, COMPULSORY annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations." Not private, but compulsory participation via a payroll tax.



The only reference to 1965 comes in the section on old age pensions. He's simply noting that it will take 30 years for social security to become self-sustaining, because of payments to the already aged who haven't had time to pay into it yet. "First, noncontributory old-age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance; it is, of course, clear that for perhaps 30 years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions." (after which the system is self funded from compulsory payroll taxes) 1935 + 30 = 1965.



So, government control, a compulsory payroll tax, and government subsidy for the first 30 years. No mention of privatization, and this is a letter entered into the congressional record, not some imaginary "scolding". (And who could he be scolding anyway? It's HIS plan that HE'S presenting to Congress.)



Gary, it's seems as though your media has been feeding you fake news - most likely in an attempt to manipulate your opinions for their own political gain. You might want to consider changing stations.

Lesley Nicholes

"correct or discard them early"...so there would be no diversity of thought and anyone different would be "corrected or discarded. Very compassionate.

Lesley Nicholes

Right on Michael!

Miceal O'Laochdha

"But, Smith needs to be reminded that all who try to overthrow our Constitution will ultimately be lined up against a wall." Wow. Let's just take a second to let that sentence sink in. It is clear that Mr. Luerson has a tenuous grasp of history (or perhaps of irony). His threat of execution by firing squad for failure to agree with the government in power is like a showcase of Stalin's communist regime in the USSR. Mr. Smith, I suspect, has a childlike belief in the return of the Old Left ideals of Emma Goldman, John Reid, and Eugene Debs someday soon. That is by no means as concerning as Mr. Luerson's belief in an ideal totalitarian State, executing all non-believers.

Gary Miller

Miceal. You are correct we do not execute people for proposing the overthrow of our government. We should instead exile them to Venezuella.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Gary, no dispute from me but, if folks like Mr. Smith were genuinely sincere in their beliefs, there would be no need to exile them because they would rush to Venezuela of their own initiative. Goldman and Reid were true believers and did indeed rush to join the Workers' Paradise after the Russian Revolution, only to honestly admit later to their deep disillusionment at some of the things they saw there. Still they had the courage of their convictions; just as they also recognized a starvation policy in action when they saw it. Mr. Smith and some other correspondents to this newspaper who endevour to paint themselves as Communists, or Socialists, or Trotskyites or whatever, strike me as mere dilettantes; constructing revolution from tissue paper because they find it romantic/fashionable. I knew a lot of people like that 50 years ago...they mostly all grew up. A few still cling to imaginary insurrection like a security blanket in a hard world.

Bailey Jones

I suspect that's true for most ideologues. Reality is much more interesting than dogma.

Charles Douglas

I'm tired of this dirty old city

And tired of too much work

And never enough play

And I'm tired of these dirty old sidewalks

Think I'll walk off my steady job today

Turn me loose, set me free

Somewhere in the middle of GALVESTON COUNTY,

And give me all I've got coming to me

And keep your retirement

And your so-called Social Security

Big city turn me loose and set me free

Been working everyday since I was twenty

Haven't got a thing to show

For anything I've done

There's folks who never work and they've got plenty

Think it's time some guys like me had some fun, so

Turn me loose, set me free

Somewhere in the middle of Montana

And give me all I've got coming to me

And keep your retirement

And YOUR SO-CALLED SOCIAL SECURITY

Big city turn me loose and set me free

Hey, big city turn me loose and set me free.

Don Schlessinger

You make me laugh Charley.

Gary Miller

Bailey Jones> I repeat Library of congress. Congressional speeches are subject to Revision and additions. Library of Congress is a exact copy of the original speech. FDR was angry because they didn't provide a way to privatize SS. He offered a plan that included required contributions into citizen owned savings accounts that were protected from government taking. Privately owned accounts. Privatization. Your CNN interpretation is politically flawed. You should try a honest media. G W Bush attempted to implement exactly what FDR suggested but liberals wanted to keep spending SS contributions. Your increasing SS taxes have made liberals rich. I guess you are OK with that. Several entities, including Government employees, have savings plans like FDR suggested. All are 4 to 6 times better than Socialist SS owned by the worker and can't be touched by government. Three members of my family have these private accounts. They love getting 4 times more than SS would have provided after paying less than SS taxes.

Bailey Jones

I'm always happy to learn new things, Gary. Provide a link to this speech in the Library of Congress and I'll read it - and I'll come back here to acknowledge my error, if such an error exists.

(I hope this doesn't post twice - my privatized internet service dropped out while posting.)

Wayne Holt

Another aspect of privatization that may be useful to recall is that, being private, it is a contractual obligation. In other words, there are avenues for legal recourse should that contract be broken. You have a range of options to petition the court to claw back money you've paid by taking assets of the defaulting party. Not so with Social Security.

Social Security is simply another tax and the money being paid in is immediately replaced with special Treasury bill IOUs dedicated to repayment.

The problems with this are manifold: 1) there are no "reserve funds" in your name that you have any legal right to collect on. The Supreme Court decided long ago that SS benefits could be reduced to ZERO and recipients would have no legal standing to challenge that because of what they paid in; 2) because the government is both the arbiter of the market rate of return by way of the Cost of Living Adjustment as well as the party that has to come up with the added funds, there is a built-in incentive to minimize the rate of inflation, which is exactly what has been going on for decades (see http://www.shadowstats.com); 3) those young people paying into SS now will NEVER see anything like the return of the money paid in when measuring purchasing power. It is a scam and a sham to even pretend they will but you've got all those happy phrases about Keeping Social Security Strong while the fine print on the instructions of every Form1040 for many years has detailed the fund will be unable to pay out at present rates in the near future.

I could go on but you get the idea. Folks who say they don't want to give up their present benefits don't really understand plans are already in the works to do just that by way of either monetary inflation, benefit reduction, top taxable income affected, or some combination. It's all part of the funhouse hall of mirrors that government likes to set up to keep the rubes happy until the glass breaks and the tawdry background is revealed.

Uncle Sam can't walk on water...he's too busy taking it on.

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