Hey Media! Social Security IS NOT an ‘ENTITLEMENT’ program! Stop calling it one!

From around the web

An entitlement is defined by Websters as:

  1. the state or condition of being entitled, a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract
  2. a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also, funds supporting or distributed by such a program
  3. belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges

But, does this definition apply to social security? For your whole work life you are required to pay in 6.2% of your gross income into social security. Your employer is required to match that amount. So 12.2% of your gross income is put away for your retirement (kind of).

Getting your own money back does not seem like an entitlement program to me by Websters definition. Also, aside from federal employees we are all required to pay into the system, making the “specified group” quite large indeed.

Lately there isn’t a month that goes by without hearing something bad about Social Security. We’ve all heard the bad news… “It’s going bankrupt”…It’s going to bankrupt the country”…”It should be privatized” …and the worst of all…It’s an entitlement program”. Well, it’s high time to set the record straight on one count anyway! That being Social Security constantly labeled as an entitlement program by the government, Wall Street and most of the major media outlets. The entitlement label is just plain wrong and should absolutely infuriate anyone who has paid into the system for any length of time. Here is the short version of why the entitlement tag should not be applied to Social Security.

This brilliantly conceived public program instituted by FDR has always been fully funded by employers and employees, without any need for government subsidy. The program is simple and has worked flawlessly for over 60 years. It’s operating funds are deducted from an employees salary and matched by the their employer. These funds are invested in a general fund that earns interest, ensuring the program remains solvent. In essence, Social Security can not be labeled an entitlement because the money being issued to recipients of the program is actually theirs to begin with!

Here is a perfect example of why the entitlement tag should not be applied to Social Security. We recently spoke to an individual who operated his own business for over 20 years. The business had only one employee, that being him, the operator. In that time fame he paid both the employer and employee portion of Social Security. The reason this example is perfect is that everyone is funding their SS account the same way as this man, e.g., your employer is paying the other half of your SS payments. Most people who do not own a business are unaware of this simple but hugely important fact.

Eight years ago the gentleman became totally disabled due to a non work related illness. Although he had a private disability plan it only covered him for five years. His savings soon ran out and he filed for Social Security disability. After a lengthy process he was approved and he now collects a Social Security disability check each month.

Our point in telling this story is this. Since this gentleman is collecting money he paid into the SS system for over 20 years, should this be labeled an entitlement? We emphatically say NO…and here is the reason why…

During the application process the gentleman researched what he had paid into the Social Security program over the 20 years owning his business, plus 10 or so years of working for someone else before that. Remember that he had paid both the employee and employer portion of SS while he owned and operated his business. What he found out was astounding. Without throwing a ton of figures at you, the man told us that he calculated that, in over thirty years, with interest, his SS account had accumulated well over $700.000.00. His monthly disability check from SS would amount to 2.300.00. In short, his SS account would support him for over 25 years! Since the 700K was money he invested in the program, how can the small monthly income he receives ever be considered an entitlement?

The only entitlement label that can be attached to Social Security is our politicians idea that they are entitled to take (steal) non repayable loans from the program which they have done for more than 30 years. This, not the advent of Baby Boomer retirement has jeopardized the most well run and completely solvent Government program in this nations history. Referring to Social Security as an entitlement program is not only incorrect but extremely offensive to all the hard working people who have paid into the program for many decades.



Tax “refund” irritates me as well. They steal the money out of my check, hold onto it (while accruing the interest), and maybe return the amount they overdrew without interest. Or give you an IOU. They have to do that, because if people saw the total amount of their tax owed and had to write a check for it on April 15, they might actually expect something for their money. Or revolt…

As someone who has paid the full freight into Social Security as a self-employed Schedule SE filer for over 40 years, I would be loath to call it an entitlement. The sad fact is that it’s structured more like a Ponzi scheme, in that current payments cover current payouts (with any surplus often siphoned off for other purposes and replaced with government bonds). It has been successful largely due to the demographic bulge of the baby-boom and younger tax-payer population growth, and the long-running economic gains the U.S. has enjoyed since the second world war. But those factors are now running in reverse, and the writing is on the wall.

Don’t get me wrong – we were “promised”, we paid in all our lives, and we deserve something back. But, as with the County’s own troubled retirement system, poor judgement and gross malfeasance are shaking the foundations. Something has to give. As a social arrangement and civilization, we have a lot of problems to sort through. A good start would be to shut down the war machine and close the Wall Street casino, both bottomless financial abysses.

Everyday the media continues to refer to Social Security to an entitlement. I believe that if they say it long enough that everyone will believe that it is. My husband is fortunate enough to have recently retired and began to collect his “entitlement” which he and each of his employers paid into for over 40 years. I am still several years away from retirement but still pay in each month as does my employer to a system that we are forced to pay into. Now we are hit on every front by media and politicians that the entitlements must end or the age to receive them raised. In other words working Americans who have worked and paid into a system are being told that it is not their investment to have for retirement but rather an “extra tax” that working Americans must pay to fund anything and everything the government deems necessary. This was our investment by force not by choice and is NOT an entitlement.

How many people get SS and don’t put a dime into it?

Yes, it is an “entitlement” program as defined by points 1 and 2 in the author’s blog….unjustified, but still, an entitlement program.

So is medicare, so is medicaid, so is welfare, so are food stamps, so is Obama’s new “universal healthcare program.”

Seems like there are more and more people who don’t contribute to the system, but get a hell of a lot out of the system.

I agree with all. David J brings up a good point. How many people get Social Security Disablity checks that basically NEVER paid into the system or paid veyr little. That is why the system is going bankrupt in my opinion. I don’t view it as an entitlement either since I’ve been working since age 15 now 46 with college in between. It is all the food stamps, free housing, freel health care and illegal immigraton that sucks the money out of systems like social security and similar to pay for over the 50% of Americans that do not pay Federal income tax. I find working and doing the right thing very frustrating seeing people in their early 20s on disability and I can’t tell what their ailment is……The working people are getting screwed.