This August marks 84 years of the Social Security program in the United States of America. In 1935, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. Over the next eight decades, the Social Security program was sold to Americans as an “insurance policy” that ensures you will have money when you reach retirement. One main difference between a private plan and Social Security, of course, is that you can go to jail if you don’t pay the Social Security “premium.” In fact, in 1959 an Amish farmer had three of his six horses confiscated by the federal government because he didn’t pay $300 in Social Security “contributions” to a program that he didn’t want to join in the first place. (Thankfully, in 1965 the federal government finally freed the Amish from the Social Security tax.)
Social Security literature has consistently presented the program to the public as an insurance program. However, when trying to get the Amish to submit to payments, the federal government admitted it wasn’t insurance at all. This was because the Amish don’t believe in insurance. In this case, the federal government told the truth: Social Security is in no sense an insurance plan. No one has a “right” to receive any of the money they “contribute.” It is simply another tax on income that goes to pay current Social Security payments. Anything left over goes to support federal government spending that is already out of control.
The writing was on the wall in 1935 when the program was introduced. There was concern by many that the Constitution does not give the federal government the authority to create and oversee insurance programs for elderly citizens. In order to circumvent the pesky Constitution, the Social Security Act avoided any use of insurance language. The tax forced on citizens was completely separate from any “benefits.” Nevertheless, once passed, the program was heralded as an insurance program. To this day, the Social Security website still disingenuously uses the language of insurance. In the words of historian Thomas E. Woods: “The whole thing is a scam.”
At a fundamental level, the idea of Social Security is opposed to the biblical ideal of families supporting elderly parents. Private companies and organizations are more than capable of providing alternatives to an insolvent government scheme. Historical Thomas DiLorenzo notes: “Social Security sends the message that we don’t need to prepare as much for the care of our own elderly parents and grandparents; the state will take care of them.” Unfortunately, as Ron Paul observed, Social Security has proven “that the government is not very good at central economic planning, even for retirement.” The Bible, on the other hand, teaches families to provide for their own.