FROM “IN DEFENSE OF RURAL AMERICA”
by Ron Ewart, President, NARLO, ©2014
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Ladies and gentlemen, have you noticed that your social security checks are now called a benefit? Did the hair on the back of your neck go up when you saw it? Were you instantly angry because you thought Social Security was a contract with government, old-age insurance and a “right”? It was sold that way. Think again!
The U.S. Government in 1937 in the case Helvering v. Davis, 301 U.S. 619 (1937) argued that:
“The government’s summary declared flatly that the (Social Security) Act “does not constitute a plan for compulsory insurance within the accepted meaning of the term ‘insurance’.” [FN 72: Helvering v. Davis, 301 U.S. 619, at 624; emphasis added.] Arguing before the Court, Assistant Attorney General Robert Jackson reiterated that, “these benefits are in the nature of pensions or gratuities.There is no contract created by which any person becomes entitled as a matter of right to sue the United States or to maintain a claim for any particular sum of money. Not only is there no contract implied but it is expressly negated, because it is provided in the Act, Section 1104, that it may be repealed, altered, or amended in any of its provisions at any time.This Court has held that a pension granted by the Government is a matter of bounty, that the pensioner has no legal right to his pension, and that they may be given, withheld, distributed, or recalled at the discretion of Congress.” [FN 73: U.S. Congress, Senate, Oral Arguments in Helvering et al. v. Davis involving the Old-Age Benefit Provisions of the Social Security Act Before the Supreme Court of the United States, May 5, 1937, S. Doc. 71, 75th Cong., 1st Sess., 1937]” [Bold emphasis added]
In Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603, 609 (1960) the Supreme Court again addressed the nature of Social Security benefits. Justice Harlan said:
“The Social Security system may be accurately described as a form of social insurance, enacted pursuant to Congress’ power to ‘spend money in aid of the ‘general welfare,” Helvering v. Davis, supra, 301 U.S. at page 640, 57 S.Ct. at page 908, whereby persons gainfully employed, and those who employ them, are taxed to permit the payment of benefits to the retired and disabled, and their dependents. * * * But each worker’s benefits, though flowing from the contributions he made to the national economy while actively employed, are not dependent on the degree to which he was called upon to support the system by taxation.It is apparent that the non-contractual interest of an employee covered by the Act cannot be soundly analogized to that of the holder of an annuity, whose right to benefits is bottomed on his contractual premium payments.”
“To engraft upon the Social Security system a concept of ‘accrued property rights’ would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustment to ever-changing conditions which it demands.See Wollenberg, Vested Rights in Social-Security Benefits, 37 Ore.L.Rev. 299, 359. It was doubtless out of an awareness of the need for such flexibility that Congress included in the original Act, and has since retained, a clause expressly reserving to it ‘(t)he right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision’ of the Act.”
“We must conclude that a person covered by the Act has not such a right in benefit payments as would make every defeasance of ‘accrued’ interests violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.”[Bold added]
In the context of Social Security benefits being a gratuity, the U.S. Supreme Court went further:
“Pensions, compensation allowances, and privileges are gratuities. They involve no agreement of parties; and the grant of them creates no vested right. The benefits conferred by gratuities may be redistributed or withdrawn at any time in the discretion of Congress. Lynch v. United States, 292 U.S. 571, 577 (1934)”[Bold added]
(Source: Supreme Court cases shown above were taken from language in a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals case, dated September 2012.)
A gratuity is defined in Webster’s dictionary as: 1) “A gift of money over and above payment due for service;” 2) “Something given without claim or demand.”
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Social Security is not a contract with the government, it is not insurance and you as an American citizen, even though forced by law at the point of a gun, along with your employer, to contribute to the Social Security Fund through payroll deductions, have no claim or vested right to it. You are at the mercy of government’s generosity ….. period. Social Security is a “gift” from government “without claim or demand” ….. in other words, a gratuity.
Once again, the American people were hoodwinked into a government-run social program (lied to) that isn’t and wasn’t what it was sold to be. Does any of this sound familiar? Does ObamaCare come to mind? You know, you can keep your plan and your doctor and your premiums will go down, as told by a president who wouldn’t recognize the truth if it bit him on the …….
Here is what FDR said, when someone complained to him that the Social Security payroll tax was regressive:
“I guess you’re right on the economics, but those taxes were never a problem of economics. They were politics all the way through. We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap MY Social Security program.”
“HIS Social Security Program?””Politics all the way through.” You bet! And the politics were all about buying votes for the Democrat Party. Social Security was sold as an old-age insurance program, but it was neither insurance nor a right. In fact, it was purely an intergenerational redistribution of wealth to lock in multiple generations to those benefits ….. along with their votes. FDR was right. God help the politician who dares to modify or change the system. Many have paid the price in an act of political suicide for so doing.
The con was ingenious. Social Security was sold as “….. retirement insurance” under which taxpayers pay “insurance premiums” or “contributions” to “buy” protection from destitution in old age, with their “contributions” being “held” for them in a “trust fund” which will be used to pay benefits which, having been “paid for” by their “contributions,” will be theirs “as a matter of earned right,” as America keeps its “compact between the generations.” (Source: “The Roots of The Social Security Myth” by John Attarian.)
The people, depressed and beaten down by the ravages of the Great Depression and just generally ignorant of government duplicity, bought the con hook, line and sinker. It locked more Americans into government dependency for their votes ….. by design.
It was no coincidence that President Hoover in the late 1920’s retained the University of Illinois and Harvard to conduct a study on how to manipulate the masses through their subconscious minds. It was no coincidence that the study was funded by the Rockefellers. It was no coincidence that Social Security was sold to the masses using techniques learned in those studies. In reality, the government has been manipulating the masses for over a century by playing with our subconscious minds, using propaganda and lies ….. by design.
Further, it was no coincidence that in 1939 the IRS codified all of its rules and regulations into what is now known as USC Title 26, the Internal Revenue Code. The noose around our necks was growing tighter ….. by design.
Nothing in government happens by coincidence, then or today. ObamaCare was not created by politicians out of an abundance of empathy, intent on solving a human condition. It was planned wealth redistribution, as was Social Security and as is man-caused global warming via a Cap and Trade scheme, all sold by subterfuge and lies for votes ….. by design.
But we digress. So how has Social Security morphed over the last eight or so decades? Let us count the ways.
- Participation in the Program would be completely voluntary. It is no longer voluntary. (If you will remember, paying income taxes was also supposed to be voluntary.)
- Participants would only have to pay 1% of the first $1,400 of their annual Incomes into the Program. Now 7.65% on the first $90,000. The employer pays the other 7.65%.
- The money the participants elected to put into the program would be deductible from their income for tax purposes each year. No longer tax-deductible.
- The participants were told their money would go into an independent ‘Trust Fund’ rather than into the general operating fund, and therefore, would only be used to fund the Social Security Retirement Program, and no other Government program. Under President Johnson the money was moved to the general fund, replaced with government IOU’s and spent.
- Payments (gratuity) to the retirees would never be taxed as income. Under President Clinton, up to 85% of your Social Security can be taxed.
We find it not only disturbing if not wholly diabolical, that government uses the general welfare clause in the U.S. Constitution to buy off different segments of society from the public treasury, with the hidden intent of buying votes to maintain political power and influence. Most social programs were hatched by Progressives (Democrats) and have been since the early 1900s. The lion’s share of the population and thus the greatest number of votes come from those recipients of social welfare programs. As you can infer from the above-cited Supreme Court cases, Social Security is a social welfare program, in spite of the fact that people pay into it. Social Security is a tax on income and the tax is redistributed by government to the people as it sees fit and at its sole discretion. Since Social Security is not a contract, insurance, or a vested right, it is a social program. That is why your Social Security check is labeled a benefit.
There are no coincidences in government. Every decision has political overtones or agendas. Just about every segment of the American society has been bought off in this manner. Business, unions, agriculture, the poor and our seniors have been and are being subsidized with tax dollars and each group will vigorously defend their portion of the largess with their vote. Each segment has created powerful lobby groups that descend on Washington DC to influence one or more politicians for the purposes of maintaining their piece of the treasury “pie”, or securing other special favors and treatment. The lobbyists spend millions upon millions of dollars each year to get what they want, which leads to wide spread graft and corruption.
We are well aware that millions of Americans rely on Social Security for their subsistence and we are not advocating repealing the system. We are only pointing out that Social Security was a government Ponzi scheme from the very beginning, sold by lies, that has led to massive dependency on government and a constituency that will always vote for the politician that will maintain their particular government benefit. Unfortunately, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy to the destruction of a once proud, self-reliant and free America. ObamaCare is just one more government social program on top of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that will hasten America’s rapid descent into socialism, national bankruptcy and the dissolution of the Republic and American sovereignty.
If there is a solution to this dilemma, it isn’t likely peaceful. There are simply insufficient votes to change it peacefully ….. and that was by design.
We celebrate Memorial Day this weekend as a tribute to those who have put and are putting their lives on the line for their country. What was it they were and are putting their lives on the line for ….. freedom you say? Freedom! You call what we have today ….. freedom?
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NOTE: The following article represents the opinion of the author and is not necessarily shared by the owners, employees, representatives, or agents of the publisher.
Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property issues and author of his weekly column, “In Defense of Rural America“, is the President of the National Association of Rural Landowners (NARLO), () a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State, an advocate and consultant for urban and rural landowners. He can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.