Letter: Unfunded mandates; Social Security should not be part of this category
Posted on Jan 29, 2014 - 01:09 PM Printer Friendly View
One of the talking points that has recently become an irritant to me, and I suspect many others, is “Unfunded Mandate.” You hear it frequently, even in media commercials. I heard it again today.
Social Security is lumped in with Medicare as an unfunded mandate. The reason my and your Social Security is unfunded is that Congress for the last 40 or 50 years has been stripping those paycheck-withholding contributions and spending that money elsewhere. Some would call the spending they’ve been doing on favorite projects, “pork barrel” or “earmarks.”
The original law establishing Social Security specified the funds collected were to be placed in a trust fund, for those of us who had contributions withheld and paid into the program. The trust fund died long ago.
Social Security is not an unfunded mandate. It never will be because taxpayers make those payments with every paycheck they receive. Those of us who were self-employed paid both the employee and employer “contributions.”
A true unfunded mandate means money from general tax revenue is being used to pay for programs, such as Medicaid, child and adult welfare, rent assistance, heating assistance, food stamps, septic system repair, and depending on where your research takes you, 70 to 90 more programs. A mandate means a command or an authorization given by a political electorate to its representative(s). Unfunded means there is not money available to pay for the mandate.
Seems we constantly hear Social Security is running out of money. How come we never hear about welfare programs running out of money?