Category Archives: Social Security

Paul Ryan’s Acceptance Speech

Full text of speech
Delivered August 29, 2012

“Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens: I am honored by the support of this convention for vice president of the United States.

I accept the duty to help lead our nation out of a jobs crisis and back to prosperity – and I know we can do this. I accept the calling of my generation to give our children the America that was given to us, with opportunity for the young and security for the old – and I know that we are ready.

Our nominee is sure ready. His whole life has prepared him for this moment – to meet serious challenges in a serious way, without excuses and idle words. After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney.

I’m the newcomer to the campaign, so let me share a first impression. I have never seen opponents so silent about their record, and so desperate to keep their power.

They’ve run out of ideas. Their moment came and went. Fear and division are all they’ve got left.

With all their attack ads, the president is just throwing away money – and he’s pretty experienced at that. You see, some people can’t be dragged down by the usual cheap tactics, because their ability, character, and plain decency are so obvious – and ladies and gentlemen, that is Mitt Romney.

For my part, your nomination is an unexpected turn. It certainly came as news to my family, and I’d like you to meet them: My wife Janna, our daughter Liza, and our boys Charlie and Sam.

The kids are happy to see their grandma, who lives in Florida. There she is – my Mom, Betty. My Dad, a small-town lawyer, was also named Paul. Until we lost him when I was 16, he was a gentle presence in my life. I like to think he’d be proud of me and my sister and brothers, because I’m sure proud of him and of where I come from, Janesville, Wisconsin.

I live on the same block where I grew up. We belong to the same parish where I was baptized. Janesville is that kind of place. The people of Wisconsin have been good to me. I’ve tried to live up to their trust. And now I ask those hardworking men and women, and millions like them across America, to join our cause and get this country working again.

When Governor Romney asked me to join the ticket, I said, “Let’s get this done” – and that is exactly, what we’re going to do.

President Barack Obama came to office during an economic crisis, as he has reminded us a time or two. Those were very tough days, and any fair measure of his record has to take that into account. My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.

Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

Right now, 23 million men and women are struggling to find work. Twenty-three million people, unemployed or underemployed. Nearly one in six Americans is living in poverty. Millions of young Americans have graduated from college during the Obama presidency, ready to use their gifts and get moving in life. Half of them can’t find the work they studied for, or any work at all.

So here’s the question: Without a change in leadership, why would the next four years be any different from the last four years?

The first troubling sign came with the stimulus. It was President Obama’s first and best shot at fixing the economy, at a time when he got everything he wanted under one-party rule. It cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government. It went to companies like Solyndra, with their gold-plated connections, subsidized jobs, and make-believe markets.

The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst. You, the working men and women of this country, were cut out of the deal. What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus? More debt. That money wasn’t just spent and wasted – it was borrowed, spent, and wasted.

Maybe the greatest waste of all was time. Here we were, faced with a massive job crisis – so deep that if everyone out of work stood in single file, that unemployment line would stretch the length of the entire American continent. You would think that any president, whatever his party, would make job creation, and nothing else, his first order of economic business.

But this president didn’t do that. Instead, we got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care.

Obamacare comes to more than two thousand pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees, and fines that have no place in a free country.

The president has declared that the debate over government-controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of Americans who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obamacare.

And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly.

You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money. They needed more. They needed hundreds of billions more. So, they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.

An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for. The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it.

In Congress, when they take out the heavy books and wall charts about Medicare, my thoughts go back to a house on Garfield Street in Janesville. My wonderful grandma, Janet, had Alzheimer’s and moved in with Mom and me. Though she felt lost at times, we did all the little things that made her feel loved.

We had help from Medicare, and it was there, just like it’s there for my Mom today. Medicare is a promise, and we will honor it. A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my Mom’s generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours.

So our opponents can consider themselves on notice. In this election, on this issue, the usual posturing on the Left isn’t going to work. Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program, and raiding it. Ladies and gentlemen, our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate.

Obamacare, as much as anything else, explains why a presidency that began with such anticipation now comes to such a disappointing close.

It began with a financial crisis; it ends with a job crisis. It began with a housing crisis they alone didn’t cause; it ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct.

It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.

It all started off with stirring speeches, Greek columns, the thrill of something new. Now all that’s left is a presidency adrift, surviving on slogans that already seem tired, grasping at a moment that has already passed, like a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind.

President Obama was asked not long ago to reflect on any mistakes he might have made. He said, well, “I haven’t communicated enough.” He said his job is to “tell a story to the American people” – as if that’s the whole problem here? He needs to talk more, and we need to be better listeners?

Ladies and gentlemen, these past four years we have suffered no shortage of words in the White House. What’s missing is leadership in the White House. And the story that Barack Obama does tell, forever shifting blame to the last administration, is getting old. The man assumed office almost four years ago – isn’t it about time he assumed responsibility?

In this generation, a defining responsibility of government is to steer our nation clear of a debt crisis while there is still time. Back in 2008, candidate Obama called a $10 trillion national debt “unpatriotic” – serious talk from what looked to be a serious reformer.

Yet by his own decisions, President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined. One president, one term, $5 trillion in new debt.

He created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.

Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems. How did the president respond? By doing nothing – nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.

So here we are, $16 trillion in debt and still he does nothing. In Europe, massive debts have put entire governments at risk of collapse, and still he does nothing. And all we have heard from this president and his team are attacks on anyone who dares to point out the obvious.

They have no answer to this simple reality: We need to stop spending money we don’t have.

My Dad used to say to me: “Son. You have a choice: You can be part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution.” The present administration has made its choices. And Mitt Romney and I have made ours: Before the math and the momentum overwhelm us all, we are going to solve this nation’s economic problems.

And I’m going to level with you: We don’t have that much time. But if we are serious, and smart, and we lead, we can do this.

After four years of government trying to divide up the wealth, we will get America creating wealth again. With tax fairness and regulatory reform, we’ll put government back on the side of the men and women who create jobs, and the men and women who need jobs.

My Mom started a small business, and I’ve seen what it takes. Mom was 50 when my Dad died. She got on a bus every weekday for years, and rode 40 miles each morning to Madison. She earned a new degree and learned new skills to start her small business. It wasn’t just a new livelihood. It was a new life. And it transformed my Mom from a widow in grief to a small businesswoman whose happiness wasn’t just in the past. Her work gave her hope. It made our family proud. And to this day, my Mom is my role model.

Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere. A lot of heart goes into each one. And if small businesspeople say they made it on their own, all they are saying is that nobody else worked seven days a week in their place. Nobody showed up in their place to open the door at five in the morning. Nobody did their thinking, and worrying, and sweating for them. After all that work, and in a bad economy, it sure doesn’t help to hear from their president that government gets the credit. What they deserve to hear is the truth: Yes, you did build that.

We have a plan for a stronger middle class, with the goal of generating 12 million new jobs over the next four years.

In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less. That is enough. The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government.

I learned a good deal about economics, and about America, from the author of the Reagan tax reforms – the great Jack Kemp. What gave Jack that incredible enthusiasm was his belief in the possibilities of free people, in the power of free enterprise and strong communities to overcome poverty and despair. We need that same optimism right now.

And in our dealings with other nations, a Romney-Ryan administration will speak with confidence and clarity. Wherever men and women rise up for their own freedom, they will know that the American president is on their side. Instead of managing American decline, leaving allies to doubt us and adversaries to test us, we will act in the conviction that the United States is still the greatest force for peace and liberty that this world has ever known. President Obama is the kind of politician who puts promises on the record, and then calls that the record.

But we are four years into this presidency. The issue is not the economy as Barack Obama inherited it, not the economy as he envisions it, but this economy as we are living it.

College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life. Everyone who feels stuck in the Obama economy is right to focus on the here and now. And I hope you understand this too, if you’re feeling left out or passed by: You have not failed, your leaders have failed you.

None of us have to settle for the best this administration offers – a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.

Listen to the way we’re spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate.

It’s the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio. When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That’s what we do in this country. That’s the American Dream. That’s freedom, and I’ll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners.

By themselves, the failures of one administration are not a mandate for a new administration. A challenger must stand on his own merits. He must be ready and worthy to serve in the office of president.

We’re a full generation apart, Governor Romney and I. And, in some ways, we’re a little different. There are the songs on his iPod, which I’ve heard on the campaign bus and on many hotel elevators. He actually urged me to play some of these songs at campaign rallies. I said, I hope it’s not a deal-breaker Mitt, but my playlist starts with AC/DC, and ends with Zeppelin.

A generation apart. That makes us different, but not in any of the things that matter. Mitt Romney and I both grew up in the heartland, and we know what places like Wisconsin and Michigan look like when times are good, when people are working, when families are doing more than just getting by. And we both know it can be that way again.

We’ve had very different careers – mine mainly in public service, his mostly in the private sector. He helped start businesses and turn around failing ones. By the way, being successful in business – that’s a good thing.

Mitt has not only succeeded, but succeeded where others could not. He turned around the Olympics at a time when a great institution was collapsing under the weight of bad management, overspending, and corruption – sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

He was the Republican governor of a state where almost nine in ten legislators are Democrats, and yet he balanced the budget without raising taxes. Unemployment went down, household incomes went up, and Massachusetts, under Mitt Romney, saw its credit rating upgraded.

Mitt and I also go to different churches. But in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example. And I’ve been watching that example. The man who will accept your nomination tomorrow is prayerful and faithful and honorable. Not only a defender of marriage, he offers an example of marriage at its best. Not only a fine businessman, he’s a fine man, worthy of leading this optimistic and good-hearted country.

Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.

We have responsibilities, one to another – we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.

Each of these great moral ideas is essential to democratic government – to the rule of law, to life in a humane and decent society. They are the moral creed of our country, as powerful in our time, as on the day of America’s founding. They are self-evident and unchanging, and sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.

The founding generation secured those rights for us, and in every generation since, the best among us have defended our freedoms. They are protecting us right now. We honor them and all our veterans, and we thank them. The right that makes all the difference now, is the right to choose our own leaders. And you are entitled to the clearest possible choice, because the time for choosing is drawing near. So here is our pledge.

We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead.

We will not spend four years blaming others, we will take responsibility.

We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles.

The work ahead will be hard. These times demand the best of us – all of us, but we can do this. Together, we can do this.

We can get this country working again. We can get this economy growing again. We can make the safety net safe again. We can do this.

Whatever your political party, let’s come together for the sake of our country. Join Mitt Romney and me. Let’s give this effort everything we have. Let’s see this through all the way. Let’s get this done.

Thank you, and God bless you all”

The Constitution Changed Without a Vote – The Social Security Act of 1935

By David F.  Delorey, Jr.
In a mere four pages, ratified in 1788, the Constitution of the United Sates of America became a body of fundamental law which guarantees the natural God given rights of the people to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for a common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty.

One hundred and forty one years later, the Great Depression began on Oct.  29, 1929 when the stock market crashed.  Suddenly, millions of people were out of work, bread lines formed to feed families, and the elderly could not support themselves.  A potential solution, like the one adopted in Germany in 1889, was a “social insurance” program run by the federal government which stressed the government’s responsibility to provide for citizens’ economic security.  In 1932, Franklin D.  Roosevelt was elected and he put forth such a plan where workers contributed to their future economic security through taxes paid while they worked and then paid out when they retired or became disabled.

From the outset, Roosevelt’s plan had a major stumbling block – – a plain reading of the Constitution finds absent the power of Congress to implement and run a federal social insurance program.  But, such legal limitation did not deter Congress, or the President, or the Supreme Court to assume powers not found in the United States Constitution.  The day that the Constitution was changed without a vote of the people came on August 14, 1935, when President Roosevelt signed the 33 page Social Security Act of 1935 into law.

This legislation indeed wove a new de facto constitutional thread into the United States constitutional fabric when the Congress and the President bypassed the Constitution Amendment process in Article V of the Constitution and ignored the limits of Congressional power stated in the “Enumerated Powers” in Article I of the Constitution.  Implicit with the avoidance of the required constitutional compliance process was that the several sovereign states were denied their right to deliberate, debate and ratify the law.  As a result, Congress and the President, on their own, raised everyone’s taxes and created a new federal government run insurance program bearing upon all the states.

Many have claimed over the years that the Social Security Act is unconstitutional which is the Constitutional right of the people to do so.  There is plenty of evidence to support the claim.  However, even if they are right and it is, the program is so deeply ingrained in the workings of Republic that such may be impossible to reasonably remove or replace it.  This constitutional precedent is now manifest as one of the largest financial burdens on the American taxpayer.  Along with the subsequently enacted federal social entitlement programs of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, these programs now collectively pose a significant financial threat to the very existence of the Republic as the question of irresponsible levels of deficit spending by the Congress, potentially causing a bankruptcy of the government, becomes part of the political narrative today.

This evolving journey into the consequences of the Social Security Act began with its implementation in 1937 and its administration by the Congress.  The program started modestly with 60% of all wage earners, largely older Americans, being taxed about 2%.  According to the act, all tax revenue collected were to be deposited in a trust fund.  The fund, known as the Social Security Trust Fund, is technically comprised of two component funds in the original Social Security Act of 1935: Section 201, the Old-Age Survivors Insurance program; and Section 904, the Disability Insurance Trust Funds.

The Republic’s Social Security Act unsustainable financial dilemma came as a result of Congress converting what started as a self-funded program into an enormous de facto pay-as-you-go program by appropriating all “surplus” tax revenues [monies collected which exceed what was needed to pay benefits] to fund the annual federal budget.  With this process, Congress ignored its fundamental fiduciary responsibility to retain these assets in the Treasury to pay future benefits, and clearly ignored the word “trust” in the “Social Security Trust Fund.” Today, the Social Security Trust Fund contains only promises that the federal government will repay the fund.

This deficit spending process was facilitated by the specific wording in sections 201 and 904 of the original 33 page Social Security Act of 1935.  Both sections state that all monies collected may only be invested “in interest-bearing obligations of the United States or in obligations guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the United States.” Congress was left to determine the nature of these “obligations”, which presumably could have included such tangible assets as gold, silver and the like.  Instead, Congress elected the option of “borrowing” the “surplus” taxes collected from the Social Security Trust Fund and spending the proceeds on other things.  From an accounting perspective, Congress created nothing more than a “Ponzi Scheme” because there is no guarantee that future tax payers can sustain the level of payments to current beneficiaries forever.  Such a system will eventually collapse, and could result in putting the federal government in default of its “obligations.”

By 1995, 95% of the American workforce, not subject to Congressional exclusions, were covered by the Social Security Act.  While many exemptions have been eliminated through 1990, six million government workers in the ten states of: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio and Texas are still exempt from the act and it’s taxation requirements.

By 2011, more than 56 million people were covered by the Social Security Act spending $731 billion or 20% of the federal budget.  The Social Security Trust Fund had about $2.6 trillion in assets on the books.  The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) payroll tax rate was 6.2%, paid each by the employee and employer, for a total of 12.4%, for the first $106,800.00 of income.  There were no “surplus” revenues because payouts to beneficiaries exceeded the tax payments deposited in the Social Security Trust Fund.  Federal spending that year was $3.46 trillion and the Treasury posted a $1.3 trillion federal deficit.

Today, the Social Security Act is now the largest government social insurance program in the world measured in dollars paid.

Predictions are that the Disability Insurance Trust Fund [Section 904 of the Social Security Act] will exhaust in 2016.  After 2020, the United States Treasury will need to fund the entire program by redeeming the unfunded “obligations” Congress created to pay program beneficiaries.  From an accounting perspective, the Treasury will continue to use this process until the projected absolute exhaustion of the entire Social Security Trust Fund balance sheet in 2033.

The problem is getting worse.  The current economic recession, world economic problems, and other matters are putting a formidable upward pressures on future projections.  Evidence is that the 2012 projection from the “Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees” exhaustion date of 2033 comes 3 years earlier than 2036 exhaustion date projected in 2011, only one year earlier.

Congress is well aware of the “ticking time bomb” aspect of the Social Security Trust Fund.  Printing money is not the solution – it causes inflation which every American suffers from.  Kicking the can down the road” only passes the problem on to our children and grandchildren.  A “Balanced Budget” amendment to the Constitution pursuant to Article V of the Constitution would help.  But, Congress has consistently opposed it simply because balancing the books takes away the politically popular option of deficit spending.  This whole matter is plainly a “third-rail” issue because the people who funded the program through payroll taxes are not to be trifled with for fear that these people will reflect their outrage at the ballot box.  Getting reelected is indeed at risk.  Predictably, sustained legislative paralysis has ensued.  The fact is that the problem is real and it is being ignored by Congress and the President.

The consequences of what started in 1935 are now overwhelming as a result of a mere 33 pages of unconstitutional legislation.  If Congress only had stuck with the framer’s concept of a limited federal government, that is, without a federal government run insurance program, we would not be in this mess now.

Let’s look at this issue at the personal level to understand the problem in simple terms.  Commonly understood is that if somebody took your money with the intent to deprive you of said monies, this act would called theft.  It is a crime.  Now comes Congress persistently collecting taxes for one thing, then “borrowing” the money to spend it on another thing, and putting forth no plan to repay the “borrowed” monies.  Did Congress steal the “surplus” money from the Social Security Trust Fund? It certainly looks like it.

How can we solve the problem?

The first problem to solve is that Congress needs to stop stealing the “surplus” money from the Social Security Trust Fund and start putting back what it “borrowed.” As Will Rogers once said: “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. ”

The second problem to solve is cash flow.  When the “baby boomers” reach retirement age, the Social Security Trust Fund is projected to remain insufficient indefinably to satisfy the level of benefit payments compared to a smaller number of projected wage earners paying into it.  The only available long-term remedy is for Congress to either vote to raise Social Security Act taxes, or diminish Social Security Act benefits, or both.

The third problem to solve is the lack of personal and fiduciary responsibility.  As Alexander Tyler said in 1787: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.  From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. ”

During the eight years from January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001, the total public debt outstanding went from $4.1 trillion to $5.7 trillion for an increase of $1.6 trillion.  In the next eight years, it increased by $4.9 trillion to $10.6 trillion.  Today, less than four years later, it has increased by $5.3 trillion to $15.9 trillion.  Congress has not enacted a federal budget each year, as required by law, for the last 1,200 days.  The Senate majority leader has not allowed the budget from the House come to the Senate floor for a vote for three years.  The President’s two budgets for fiscal 2011 and 2012 were both unanimously rejected, respectively, in the Senate by 0-97, and the next year in the house of representatives by 0-414 and by the Senate 0-99.  None of the President’s four budgets included a plan to save Social Security.  There is no budget approved for the next fiscal year.  Why do we have this problem? The answer is simple.  Congress and the President embrace relentless deficit spending and they see themselves as responsible fiduciary actors.  Conversely, the Republic cannot continue to exist by “borrowing” 40 cents of every dollar it spends.  The fact is that we cannot spend our way out of debt!

Let’s set aside the details and get down to basic logic.  Congress doesn’t want a balanced budget.  If Congress wanted a balanced budget, Congress could simply take a vote to make it so.  Since Congress doesn’t want a balanced budget, “We the People” need to force the federal budget to be balanced.  Such will then force Congress every year to vote on what to fund, what not to fund, or to fund what is left over by raising taxes.  By these votes, the people will have a better measure to determine who in Congress is fiscally responsible, or not.  How do we make this happen? Start work on “Change” with a Constitutional amendment, pursuant to Article V of the Constitution, which requires the federal budget to be balanced.  After reading the foregoing story, if you are convinced that we need to act now – call your Senator and Member of the House – make them do it.

On January 20, 1961, John F.  Kennedy said “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Accordingly, “We the People” need to put the country first and stop voting for people who vote for deficit spending.  Let’s vote for candidates who have read, understand, and will abide by the Constitution and the oath to defend it.  If not, we eventually will be left with Alexander Tyler proven right once again, as governments before us have fallen for the same reason.