In his inaugural address President Kennedy said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’
In his recent letter to The Daily Star, W.F. Roberts apparently disagrees with this philosophy. Although all agree that Social Security as it is structured today is unsustainable, people like Mr. Roberts balk at any attempts to change the system. When President Obama put forth his proposal to change the way the cost-of-living adjustment would be figured so that less would be awarded to participants Mr. Roberts blamed Republicans in Congress, not Obama, because they made the president do it.
Former President Johnson, a Democrat, not a Republican, was the one who put the Social Security funds into the general fund so that he could finance his War on Poverty program and the Vietnam War at the same time. His overwhelming Democratic Congress readily rubber stamped the scheme.
One wonders where Mr. Roberts thinks his monthly Social Security money comes from. It is not from the ether, or the tooth fairy but from those who are working now, many of them 25 or 30 years old. Whereas Mr. Roberts received back from the system all of the money he had contributed in one or two years the 20- and 30-year-olds who are now paying, won’t get back all they contributed until they are well in their 90s.
According to the Social Security trustees report, they cannot continue to pay the same benefits unless Congress either increases taxes, changes the way the program is financed or the eligibility requirements are changed. Whatever way they choose, a large constituency will strongly object just as Mr. Roberts does. All of them ask not what they can do for their country but selfishly ask what can their country do for them.
Robert C. Beckman