FICA U!

Okay, so I’ve been thinking. Actually, that’s pretty much all I do, but for the moment I’m going to attempt to put some cohesive thought into words.

There are wicked budgetary showdowns going on in D.C., with the Republicans – mostly – serving as the dudes in the black hats. One of their targets is Medicare, the health insurance program that people over 65 and those who are disabled are eligible for.

The bad guys – namely House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who wrote the new proposal – want to dismantle it, replacing it with a voucher system that, once enacted, will pretty much pay for a band aid and maybe some Tylenol before sputtering out of funds.

The idea is that once you turn 67 – the new age of eligibility – you’ll get a check from the government, which you can use to purchase private health insurance. Ha! Anyone tried to buy that lately? How many Rolls Royces could you finance on the monthly premiums alone? That is, if you can even find an affordable plan willing to cover you, because by the time you’re in your 60s you’re probably not the healthiest person on your block.

The plan’s bullshit, and everyone knows it…

So my question, and maybe someone knows a lawyer who can help figure this out for me:

Every single person working on the books in theU.S.has a FICA deduction taken out of his or her paycheck. There’s no getting around it – you work, you pay.

FICA – the Federal Insurance Contributions Act – is Social Security’s tax collection machine. However, it’s not just Social Security that’s taken out via FICA (at 6.2 percent), it’s also Medicare (at 1.45 percent).

Uncle Sam takes money toward the Social Security and Medicare coffers from every single worker with the understanding that, when you reach 65 or are disabled, you’ll receive benefits, with each generation contributing as they enter the workforce.

This is a social contract, enacted originally by Lyndon Johnson in 1965 as part of his Great Society programs. As a nation, we have – and continue to – agree to said contract.

Sooo….if the Republicans dismantle the current program, replacing guaranteed coverage with vouchers that, analysts have already proven, won’t cover jack shit, isn’t that a breach of contract?

And, if this voucher system is passed, thus voiding the contract, can we, as a nation, file a class action lawsuit?

Because you know what? If they’re not giving me what they promised when I started working, and I’ve been paying into a bullshit program that’s just going to leave me suffering in the street, I want every single FICA penny back, plus damages.

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Who’s the Next Sexy Geezer?

Okay, my bullshit detector’s buzzing right now, but I guess that’s no great surprise, considering the fact that I’ve been perusing the Wall Street Journal. Yeah, that’s the paper for people with money.

But the tagline promised something at least mildly entertaining: software that will age you to retirement age, which is allegedly still 65. Well, for those who read WSJ and have the capital to actually fund something called retirement.

"Never fear, my pretty! This will be you in a bunch o' years! Muwahahahaha!!!!"

The theory behind the software, according to the article, is that it “may be just what it takes to shock Americans into saving more. At Stanford and other universities, computer scientists, economists, neuroscientists and psychologists are teaming up to find innovative ways of turning impulsive spenders into patient savers.”

Uh, sure… Continue reading