Ida May Fuller – Scamming the System

As I sit around on January 1 appreciating all that I (we) have, I stopped over at Wikipedia to bask in its glow endless information that sits on my dining room table.

I thought I’d learn a little about social security (a system, btw, I totally support and believe will always be around (I just think we’ll be older before we get it (I’m thinking I’ll be 75 before I get it.))).

I learned two interesting things. 

First:

By dollars paid, the U.S. Social Security program is the largest government program in the world and the single greatest expenditure in the federal budget, with 20.8% for social security, compared to 20.5% for discretionary defense and 20.1% for Medicare/Medicaid.

That makes me appreciate, a bit, the Republican stance of social programs. Almost 41% of all our U.S. money goes to helping those in need. That’s impressive, if you ask me. 

America often comes across as cold and uncaring. But clearly we care a pretty great deal. 41% seems like a generous percentage for social security and Medicare.

I’ve never asked, “What percentage should it be?”

If I was designing the system I probably would think I was making a pretty impressive system if our country gave 41% of revenue to those in need. 

What percentage do you think it should be?

So that was cool to think about.

Second, check this:

Social Security (United States) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The first monthly payment was issued on January 31, 1940 to Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, Vermont. In 1937, 1938 and 1939 she paid a total of $24.75 into the Social Security System. Her first check was for $22.54. After her second check, Fuller already had received more than she contributed over the three-year period. She lived to be 100 and collected a total of $22,888.92.

This strikes me as a symbolic story of difficult things to come. If the very first person got thousands and thousands more than she put in it stands to reason we might have been entering a system that would be difficult to sustain.

We actually have probably done pretty darn well with the system we have.

I really just think it’s hard to run a country.