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.
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:
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.