How many of you think that Social Security is intended to be your retirement plan? How many people do you think believe that, Mr. Snerdley? Do you think half of them believe it? I think it’s even more. I think half the people in this country — and I’m talking about current recipients; I’m not talking about the people that are not there yet. For example, I never have planned on it being my retirement. I never intended on it being my retirement. If it’s anything to me, it would be pocket change and I’m talking about pocket change at the Circle K, where you buy gum and licorice and stuff like that, or 7-Eleven. I don’t mean to be singling any convenience store out. I’ll even go to the Arco, but I’m just saying here, folks — well, I’ll send somebody, but the point is, you go back. Franklin Delano Roosevelt who came up with this scheme himself said, right before he left office, I believe, hey, hey, this is not intended to be your retirement. This is not your retirement nest egg.
Now, easy for him to say. He set it up so that that’s exactly what it was. But it’s not and so this business, “You can’t touch Social Security!” This is the first bipartisan proposal we get from Harry Reid: Americans are counting on Republicans and Democrats to keep our promise on Social Security. He just throwing down the gauntlet right there. He’s calling for bipartisanship here, and he’s throwing down the gauntlet here on Social Security saying, “Don’t touch it! Don’t touch it,” and it’s going to be touched. It’s going to be reformed. It has to be. There’s no other way around it. It’s just not going to survive otherwise. It’s a good idea anyway. As long as people are going to make it their retirement nest egg, we may as well make it so it can grow into something substantial, rather than be the pittance that it is.
There was some story — probably in the Palm Beach Post, I’m not sure — but the latest Social Security increase is, what, 12 bucks a month? It’s not much, but you add it all up, it’s billions and billions. Is it 25 a month? Okay, $25 a month. But remember, their income gets taxed: 85% of Social Security income gets taxed, and they can structure it no other way. So, 85% of that 12 bucks gets thrown into the pile that gets taxed so it’s not a net 25 bucks. Anyway, the story was “Social Security Recipients Weathering Storm of Modest Increases,” as though that’s all they’ve got. I’m sure for some of them, it’s all they’ve got but it was never intended to be that. But because the issue has been so demagogued by politicians over the years that it’s been portrayed as that, and people are supposed to be thankful for it and therefore it can’t be touched. Otherwise, people’s retirement is being, you know, monkeyed around with.