People on Social Security “benefits” will not see a cost-of-living increase in 2016. This is only the third time since 1975 that this has happened, and Social Security recipients are not happy about it for obvious reasons:
The annual cost of living adjustment, or COLA, is based on the government’s measure of inflation. This year’s lack of COLA has Social Security beneficiaries worried. “It’s terrible the way they’re doing old people that have worked all their lives and are barely getting enough to live on,” said 80-year-old Effie Wagers, a Social Security recipient. “Now they wanna take that? No, No. It’s not right,” she concluded.
This brings to the surface many major problems I have with the Social Security system.
First, Social Security payments should not be called benefits. Basically every single person on Social Security has paid money into the system. That’s not a “benefit,” then. That’s a dividend on an investment. But that brings up the second major problem: it’s a terrible investment.
For most workers, especially in recent years, if the same money they had paid in payroll taxes for Social Security had been deposited into the worst, most spartan savings account of all time, the savings account would provide a better return on investment. Forget the savings account. If people merely put cash in their mattress, it would actually be a better “investment” than Social Security. The most recent stats on this anger me greatly, especially since no one has the choice to opt out of Social Security:
People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. It’s a historic shift that will only get worse for future retirees, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.
Previous generations got a much better bargain, mainly because payroll taxes were very low when Social Security was enacted in the 1930s and remained so for decades.
Do you understand that? You will get less back from Social Security than you put in. That’s not an investment. That’s just burning money. And you don’t have a choice. And if Social Security is your only income in retirement, the civil government has another way of screwing you over. Which brings me to the third major problem with Social Security: inflation.
I guarantee the cost of living adjustment for Social Security only offsets the rate of loss from inflation. I’m sure it doesn’t fully compensate for it. The civil government talks a lot about helping the poor, raising the minimum wage, and protecting the livelihood of the elderly and disabled. Inflation is the worst enemy of the poor. Yet the civil government refuses to fix their monetary policy. To me, that’s the only way to actually benefit the little guy, including those people who rely on Social Security “dividends.”