Like an embarrassing ‘90s sitcom out-of-touch father who utters terms like “rad” and “gnarly” to show his daughter he’s cool, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is trying to be hip with the kids. The former presidential candidate is championing the historical analysis and economic opinions of rapper Cardi B on Twitter. It seems the only television element that is missing is the obnoxious laugh track.
Speaking in an interview with GQ earlier this month, Cardi B regurgitated the absurd myth that former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a great man and his New Deal is one of the greatest public policy initiatives in U.S. history. The musician called FDR “the real ‘Make America Great Again,’” adding that “if it wasn’t for him, old people wouldn’t even get Social Security.”
Behaving like a bunch of Bobby Soxers, the media added another name to their little black book of beloved celebrities who adhere to the leftist doctrine.
This caught the attention of Senator Sanders. On Tuesday, he tweeted a video:
“Cardi B is right. If we are really going to make America great we need to strengthen Social Security so that seniors are able to retire with the dignity they deserve.”
But is the singer correct?
No, Senator Sanders, she isn’t. There are a couple of glaring errors in her statement.
As the slick kids say, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme
A lot has changed since the introduction of Social Security.
Upon establishment of the program, it was marketed as a benefit for a small number of the U.S. population: those 65 and older. At the time, most people didn’t live beyond 65, so it was easier to pay out. Today, however, the average life expectancy is just under 80. This means the federal government is processing payments for 20-plus years – many Americans are now living to 90 and 100.
Even at the time, the government was generous in its monthly payments. The very first recipient, Ida May Fuller, received 462 times what she and her employer together contributed to the system.
When the bureaucracy was launched in 1935, the worker-to-retiree ratio was 160 to 1. Or, for every one senior citizen drawing benefits, there were 160 workers paying into the system. Fast forward to the present, the ratio has dwindled to 3 to 1, and it is projected to tumble to 2.3 to 1 in a decade.
The Social Security system is spending more than it takes in, producing a tsunami of unfunded liabilities. By 2030, the Social Security trust fund will be out of money with the shortfall topping $11 trillion.
Many lawmakers have proposed sensible reforms, such as raising the retirement age and capping payouts to high-income earners. But there doesn’t appear to be an appetite for it. If you dare suggest boosting the age of eligibility to at least 67, you are accused of hating the elderly, the destitute, and America. Plus, you lose votes if you recommend such a policy prescription.
Of course, the real solution is to gradually abolish Social Security over time. It is nothing more than a Ponzi Scheme. Under the unscrupulous plan, older investors are paid by money from new investors. Charles Ponzi was slapped with a five-year prison sentence and Bernie Madoff got 150 years for running the same scheme. What did the government do? Just like it always does: expansion!
Retirement saving is a responsibility left to the individual. By absolving Americans of this personal obligation, the government has effectively reduced personal savings to a meager 3%. FDR created the fantasy that the state can take care of you from cradle to grave.
Why the Love for FDR?
If you peruse through any list of the nation’s greatest presidents, FDR typically makes the top 10. According to the historians, he single-handedly ended the Great Depression, nearly eliminated poverty, and defeated the Nazis.
Ultimately, FDR adopted the same policies as his predecessor, former President Herbert Hoover. This was even conceded by Rexford Tugwell, an economic adviser to FDR, who said: “We didn’t admit it at the time, but practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started.” FDR also slammed Hoover’s meddling in the economy, which is why Hoover described the Democrat as “a chameleon in plaid.”
From demanding higher wages to intervening in agriculture, to imposing tariffs, to hiking taxes, FDR did everything that Hoover did. And more! His administration destroyed food, instituted make-work jobs, and dramatically transformed the court, filling seven vacancies with big government judges.
FDR also attempted to add more justices to the Supreme Court as part of a court-packing plan. Thankfully, it was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee as “a needless, futile, and utterly dangerous abandonment of constitutional principle” that would allow interpretation of the constitution “to be changed with each change of administration.”
And, no, the Second World War did not end the Great Depression, nor did the New Deal. The former is a great example of the Broken Window Fallacy, while the latter is a bill that America is still paying for.
A Sanders-Cardi B Sitcom
Last month, Cardi B demanded to know how Uncle Sam is spending her money.
Well, entitlements account for a significant portion of the federal budget. Despite the trillions of dollars being spent on entitlement programs, many of these are broke or witnessing their reserves diminish. Through years of mismanagement and making promises politicians couldn’t afford, the U.S. government can’t prevent these programs from becoming bankrupt.
Hoover and FDR, meanwhile, laid the groundwork for the fiscal mess the nation is in today. It is true that there are Republicans and Democrats who are clamoring for a 21st century New Deal, but taxpayers still can’t cover the tab for the old New Deal.
If this were truly a ‘90s sitcom, a sneaker-wearing Sanders would learn the value of being old, while a sad Cardi B would realize the importance of independent thinking. Then, a middle-aged, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white woman pretending to be Native American would interrupt the teachable moment and shout, “All that and a bag of chips!” With the audience applauding, the episode fades to black. Hopefully, that was the series finale.
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