Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Friday, April 08, 2005

At The Bottom Of The Pyramid

For about two months after I graduated from college, I went back home to my home town while I waited for my Army OBC reporting date. This was a fairly boring and uneventful two months except for one peculiarity. These two guys I knew but wasn't really buddy-buddy with in High School, I'll call them Huey and Louie, kept trying to get me interested in this phenominal opportunity.

This phenominal opportunity was something called "interactive marketing." This was the current euphemism for AMWAY. These guys had been duped into joining a pyramid scheme and now were looking for a way off the bottom. All of a sudden they noticed "Good Old Steve" was back in town and they both hoped to latch on to the sucker who would take them off the hook.

Needless to say, I had no real desire to sell scented soaps and Fruit Of The Loom underwear to 20 of my closest friends. It took me about two weeks to get rid of Huey and Louie and as far as I know, they still have that lifetime supply of mens underwear stashed in their parents' garage somewhere. However, it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of younger Americans felt the same desperation with the US Government's very own federally funded pyramid scheme. Namely, Social Security.

A recent report by the Social Security Trustees, does nothing to asuage the sense that the generation of workers now aged 25 to 35, are the newest suckers with the garages full of scented soap and unmentionables. The excellent blog Cold Hearted Truth tells us that according to the Trustees, "benefits are scheduled, not garunteed." Run that one by your attorney for a smarm check.

An FAQ at the Social Secuity website ( gives us a more comprehensive, and even less reassuring, explanation of how SS will not work. The gory details follow below.

Q. I'm 35 years old. If nothing is done to improve Social Security, what can I expect to receive in retirement benefits from the program?

A. Unless changes are made, at age 73 your scheduled benefits could be reduced by 27 percent and could continue to be reduced every year thereafter from presently scheduled levels. See the 2004 Trustees Report

Q. I'm 25 years old. If nothing is done to change Social Security, what can I expect to receive in retirement benefits from the program?

A. Unless changes are made, when you reach age 63 in 2042, benefits for all retirees could be cut by 27 percent and could continue to be reduced every year thereafter. If you lived to be 100 years old in 2079 (which will be more common by then), your scheduled benefits could be reduced by 33 percent from today's scheduled levels. See the 2004 Trustees Report

Q. Should I count on Social Security for all my retirement income?

A. No. Social Security was never meant to be the sole source of income in retirement. It is often said that a comfortable retirement is based on a "three-legged stool" of Social Security, pensions and savings. American workers should be saving for their retirement on a personal basis and through employer-sponsored or other retirement plans.

Thus, we have a pension system that promised more than it can deliver and based itself on a pyramid scheme. Thus, the older people who already contributed their whole working lives want to make sure they get what they feel they were promised.

For the younger people, these benefits weren't promised, they were scheduled. Like a minor league baseball game, these benefits can seemingly get unscheduled in a hurry the next time an older member of Congress feels like raiding the Social Security Trust Fund and leaving a risible IOU in the account instead.

Therefore, the taxes we younger members of the workforce pay for Social Security go into a lock-box. The benfits we are supposed to get back out are only "scheduled." America's so-called safety net has left it's younger generation at the base of a SCAMWAY pyramid. Social Security must be reformed and the sooner the better.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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