On Monday, September 12, 2011, CNN hosted the Tea Party Republican Debate. Hosted by Wolf Blitzer, the panel consisted of eight Republican candidates, contestants, if you will, for the 2012 Presidential race.
Each candidate was given one minute to respond to questions concerning his or her plans for remedying the broken government in Washington DC. If the candidates came under fire, they were allowed 30 seconds for rebuttals. The outcome, of course, was that more time was spent on rebuttals than questions. With skeletons being dragged out of the candidates’ closets (the rattling bones of prior statements made by those hopefuls), it was a great day for the Democrats. The only non-politician with no skeletons to rattle was Herman (Citizen) Cain.
Tea Party members from across the nation asked candidates what course of action they would take in certain scenarios. Some answers drew applause, while others were booed.
One of the hotbed questions was how the candidates would address the ticklish issue of reforming entitlements, particularly Social Security, while still being accepted as runners in the Presidential race. Some candidates viewed Social Security as a government-controlled Ponzi scheme. Others spoke of fixing the problem by instituting age limits and “opt out” features. Whatever the recommendations batted around on stage, it was clear that, going forward, Social Security would be a watered down version of the original system. We cannot afford to pay out benefits at the rate we are currently doing.
President Roosevelt’s dream for a self-supported system of mandated retirement was based upon a pyramid payout system plan. New American workers contributed to that plan in order to fund retiring American workers in an unending flow of revenue. FDR’s plan worked beautifully until the advent of the global economy and the outsourcing of American jobs. Once those jobs dried up, so did the revenue needed to sustain the plan. Although now considered an entitlement, it was really an annuity based upon the contributions of the workforce. Social Security was, in essence, forced savings taken from workers’ paychecks, savings that enabled everyone — until now — to retire at the age of 65 and enjoy their Golden Years somewhat free of financial burdens.
Examined by other nations, Social Security was considered a model system because of the low administrative costs associated with providing pensions to American workers. Was candidate Rick Perry correct when he labeled Social Security a Ponzi scheme? Or was Social Security the dream of an American President driven to improve the quality of life for the American people?
Right now, when all the chips are on the table, it looks as if Perry was right … but who should follow Bernie Madoff to jail? Should it be our illustrious Statesmen in the Senate and the House — those who made Social Security a ghost of its former self? Is not grand theft considered a crime, and are the people who commit such acts not considered criminals? Under our justice system, are criminals not be tried and punished if found guilty? And if this is an indication of the New World Order, is this the American spring? If so, God help us all summer, fall, and winter come along!
Maybe the Tea Party should have asked how, if the nation’s coffers are so depleted, we can still afford to pay out Congressional pensions without benefit of scrutiny. As they say in the provolone factory, “Something sure does stink here.”
Ben Franklin postulated that, when heads of State gather to debate an issue, “Neither a fortress or a maidenhead will hold out, once they begin to parlay.” Ben’s is about the best advice we’ll get when it comes to reforming anything in this government. As my old friend Al Nagle would say, “It looks like we’re done boys, done crisp!”
What will befall hardworking taxpayers who once looked forward to what they’d paid into and were promised? At heart, the question is, “Who can we, the people, trust?” Who indeed? I guess we’ll find out when the 2012 election is over.