Here’s something I don’t approve of one bit; social security, the program responsible for most of my tax burden.  75 years into practice it is clearly more madoffian than useful.  Just today I got a newsletter from my buddies at the Social Security Administration!  In the top left corner of my mailing, there’s a cute little logo claiming that the SSA “Benefits America!”

“Will Social Security still be around when I retire?,” the missive proceeds to boldly query. In a convoluted response to its own question the update reads,“Yes… The Social Security Board of Trustees now estimates that based on current law, in 2037, the Trust Funds will be depleted… Even if modifications to the program are not made, there would still be enough funds in 2037 from taxes paid by workers to pay about $760 for every $1,000 in benefits scheduled.”

Only organizations with way too much power can get away with saying such ridiculous things and continue to exist.

Allow me to paraphrase, “By investing in social security you can expect to see less of a return than if you put that same principal in a basic savings account.  Not that you have a choice.  By the time you want to retire, there is a good chance we will have lost at least some of your money.  Above all, it is important that everyone in a given age group lose equally (except for that generation’s religious leaders, who can opt out completely if they so choose)!  In general, we assume you are not capable of intelligent financial planning.  We are more than your government, we are your fiduciary!  Cheers, your fair and fiscally responsible federal facilitators!”

Clearly, if I wrote a newsletter on behalf of Franktuary with a statement akin to the one the SSA has just sent me I wouldn’t have a business for very long.  “Pay for a full frankfurter today and maybe we’ll give you about three-quarters of a future frankfurter 27 years from now!  If you have any hope of eventually seeing more than three-fourths of a frank, you’ll have to pay us further installments in increasingly large amounts, as dictated by us, in the near future.  Franktuary ‘benefits’ America!”

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a choice about participating in such a poorly structured program?  You have a choice of where to eat lunch.  There’s a lot of bad food out there, but at least nobody makes you eat it.  Furthermore, if you want to eat bad food you can.  This is a good thing.  There are a lot of bad investments out there, but you’re only forced to participate in one.  I will never understand why a specific bad investment being forced upon an entire nation’s workforce is looked at as a positive by so many individuals.