Imagine the following headline:
Madoff schill sues fellow victims for damages
Bernie Madoff was tried and convicted for what has been dubbed the ‘largest ponzi scheme in history‘. The scheme cost his investors a combined 18 billion dollars in losses and earned Madoff a 150 year sentence on 11 different federal felony charges. The victims only have Madoff (and their own lack of due diligence) to blame.
Yet many argue that Madoff is in fact not the perpetrator of the ‘largest ponzi scheme in history’. Some suggest (with growing evidence) that this title goes to the US government and relates to the ‘Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program’ – aka ‘Social Security’ – originally put in place as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s New Deal.
Not too long ago, I wrote the story “The S.S. Administration” after realizing that modern politicians seem totally spineless when it comes to pointing out the obvious pending failure of what has become the worlds largest ‘pay-as-you-go’ scheme. They are more interested in being re-elected and therefore will not touch these programs despite the huge and growing burden that they are placing on the American economy.
A lot of political clout and lobbying power lies in senior groups tied to the growing number of ‘baby-boomer’ retirees through organizations such as AARP and others. Yet despite huge criticisms of ‘special interest’ PACs and lobbyists, groups such as the AARP and similar organizations often get a pass on these criticisms and the notion of denying social security benefits to seniors is considered a poison pill by almost all politicians.
The notion that someone has paid into a system their whole lives is a noble one to uphold. These people have worked hard under the promise of receiving retirement benefits. Many (at least until recent generations) planned their lives around an expectation of receiving Social Security benefits. (to an extent, the same applies to Medicare and Medicaid, especially in that many companies as well as government pensions have dropped individual medical coverage in retirement plans in favor of these programs) And of course, none of us want to see these people suffer or be denied coverage that they paid into with good faith and the promise to receive a reward.
But, are these people any different than the victims of Madoff and his fraudulent investments? Is it any less ridiculous to hold current and future generations responsible for the fraudulent scam of pandering politicians?
Don’t shoot the messenger
Now, I’m sure anyone past or nearing retirement age is probably going to get really pissed at me for daring to suggest that they are S.o.L. when it comes to receiving their benefits – but in fact I am saying that you ‘should’ be S.o.L. when it comes to paying your benefits.
Many people in ‘my’ generation have lived for some time with little or no expectation of ever receiving any benefits whatsoever from the social security program despite being forced to pay into the program just as our retire-age citizens had. Many people my age are asking – and in some cases demanding – the ability to ‘opt out’ so they can invest [all of] their money themselves.
Irony in Age
Amazingly enough, the most vocal folks speaking out against entitlement programs such as welfare and disability are the older generations. Yet these same generations cannot see the similarities between the Madoff victims, retirees and welfare recipients.
You got scammed – you got scammed by politicians – but not by our younger generation.
When you realize that the system as it stands today is a sham and a fraud akin to the Madoff investment mess, the expectation of retirees to receive their checks from government (and ultimately from the current working class) is [almost] as ridiculous and offensive as the welfare worker or the person claiming a disability check.
I feel for you, but you are not entitled to my salary. We, the young, have learned from your mistakes. Don’t blame us – blame the guy(s and gals) that sold you on the fraud in the first place. And blame yourself for not seeing through it earlier.