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(Continued from page 36)
Stokes. Payment of benefits became
conditional, and on conditions subject
to congressional whim. "The one section that went untouched was the
escape clause, the avoidance of contract liability." This is the system we
Senator George of Georgia, who
supported the first Social Security bill,
denounced the new plan. He was not
the only objector. Numerous extensions of Social Security were made in
1954. Mr. Stokes is of the opinion that
considerable efflorescence marks any
Social Security rulings are highly
technical and abound with such st.it.--
ments as, "If you qualify," "If you are
an eligible survivor beneficiary," and
"If you fulfill the conditions." The government always decides whether you
do or do not, and of course maintains
a gigantic staff of investigators to
make sure that, if you are "eligible,"
you remain so.
Many today are enjoying windfalls
from Social Security, especially persons in the advanced age brackets.
The author thinks that they do well to
ride the gravy train while it lasts. Mil
lions of others have suffered disappointment and heartbreak; characteristic case histories are given. It is
practically impossible for anyone to
know for sure whether he is "covered
or not, until the day of reckoning
<la\\ ns, at which time all the benefits
may have leaked out through an un-
guessed loophole; or, the law may I
have been changed, to operate retroactively.
The author explains: Except for a
few hundred million dollars in current
cash (mere pocket change in this
enterprise), the reserve fund consists
of bonds. These Social Security bonds
are not the same as government bonds
in private hands. Regular bonds <&■
ready have been sold to private citizens. But the Social Security bonds
have not yet been sold; they are no'
negotiable, have no more intrinsic
value than bonds not yet printed. Any
move to draw on this reserve fund
would mean taxing the people a thud
time, to pay off the bonds held there-
The Social Security reserve fund ti
only a paper resource, a thing unreal-
"A commercial insurance company
found in that shape would go out o>
business as fast as the State examine'
could get tn a telephone."
Will tin- Social Security Reserve
Fund go broke? And if so, when? Nobody knows. The best actuarial science in the world cannot deliver a"
affirmative or a negative answer ot
this vital point. Chapter Sixteen dc
fines the situation simply and fully- "
should make absorbing reading fo1
any F.I.C.A. taxpayer.
Certainly, current recipients arc* f"r'
ing far better than posterity can hop8
to fare. In fact, posterity may find th8
Social Security structure an insuppo^'
able burden, and flatly repudiate >•■
Rather than face this disgraceful poS'
sibility, says Mr. Stokes, Congo's*
should at once accord our Social SeCu'
rity laws complete and thorough re*"'
sion, not in emotional terms to attra'-'
votes, but in realistic terms that w"
stand up under the sternest scrutM
of actuarial experts.
It can be (lone: it should be (\ofe;
and the sooner the better, affirms to*'
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Facts Forum News, Septembet