Link to jump to start of content The Seattle Times Company Jobs Autos Homes Rentals NWsource Classifieds seattletimes.com
The Seattle Times STOP: The Seattle Times Opinion Blog
Traffic | Weather | Your account Movies | Restaurants | Today's events



Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

The opinions you read below are those of the individual writers, not necessarily views that will become formal positions of The Seattle Times. Respond to STop
(Please be aware that your name and comments may be published here, unless you specify otherwise).

Currently, STop cannot automatically post readers' comments on the blog. However, the editorial staff will regularly post readers' comments. Your comments are sent directly to the individual editor or writer.

space space space

Jim Vesely
space
Jim Vesely
E-mail | Bio


Lee Moriwaki
space
Lee Moriwaki
E-mail | Bio


Joni Balter
space
Joni Balter
E-mail | Bio


Eric Devericks
space
Eric Devericks
E-mail | Bio


Lance Dickie
space
Lance Dickie
E-mail | Bio


Bruce Ramsey
space
Bruce Ramsey
E-mail | Bio


Kate Riley
space
Kate Riley
E-mail | Bio


Lynne Varner
space
Lynne Varner
E-mail | Bio


Ryan Blethen
space
Ryan Blethen
E-mail | Bio


February 28, 2005

Whose Social Security?

Regarding my column supporting personal accounts in Social Security, a critic writes:

Sorry to inform you Bruce, but it's not your money to do with as you wish. A very, very conservative US Supreme Court ruled in the 1930s that once government collects tax revenues the money belongs to the government, not to the taxpayers. The anti-America argument that "it's my money" should be put to rest and the media is the only institution to do it. But you insist on perpetrating the myth.

That the government is the rightful "owner" of any money collected by taxation is akin to an insurance company collecting premiums. Once paid, the money is owned by the insurance company and whether a policyholder makes a claim or not doesn't alter that fact.

The case to which the reader refers is Flemming v. Nestor (1960). An immigrant from Bulgaria paid Social Security taxes for years but had also been a member of the Communist Party, for which he was deported and stripped of his Social Security benefit of $55.60 a month. He sued, and the Supreme Court said that was too bad, even though he had paid his taxes for years and the law under which he was deported had been passed after he qualified for benefits.

The federal government is indeed the legal owner of all money collected under the Social Security tax. When I say in my column that itís ďmy own money,Ē Iím making a moral claim. Itís a way of saying that we should change the law so that individuals can have a legal claim to retirement savings.

And if you buy an annuity from a private insurance company, you do have a legal right to the annuity payments.

Respond to Bruce.

 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at February 28, 2005 01:44 PM



Marketplace

November 2005

S M T W T F S
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30