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Means Test for Social Security

September 18, 1985

Lamm is right. The Social Security program should not subsidize the affluent. There is no possible justification for such squandering the funds that are intended for support and help for the needy elderly, and such payments violate the very heart and center of the program.

But the governor loses his way in his assertion that each "recipient" should get back all of the money he has paid in, plus interest.

Too many illusions have grown around this Social Security program, such as Lamm's calling the collected billions "contributions," a word of many meanings and interpretations, but with common usage as a voluntary donation of a free gift. There was never any suggestion of payroll deductions or other sources of funds being "voluntary." It might be called a levy, an impost, or other name, but only by those who refuse to admit the honest truth: each dollar collected was simply and factually a TAX!

That's right, a TAX; not a savings account deposit made by an individual for his own private benefit.

Has the government ever been guilty of happily refunding collected taxes, except for overpayment? Are the Social Security taxes any different, or why should they be refundable? It seems absurd to contemplate?

So, let's be practical. Let's not make gifts as icing on the cake of the wealthy. By two simple corrections in the program: no payments to any person with income over $50,000, and no nonsense about paying back collected taxes, plus interest.


La Puente

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