“Washington has already blown the money. You can think of it as an IOU that we’re all going to have to pay… this means that our debt will increase all the faster as we pay out more than we take in… Ponzi schemes — like the one that sent Bernard Madoff to prison — are illegal in this country for a reason. They are fraudulent systems designed to take in a lot of money at the front and pay out none in the end… Deceptive accounting has hoodwinked the American public into thinking that Social Security is a retirement system and financially sound, when clearly it is not.”
In contrast, the administration says, Social Security is more like a “pay-as-you-go” system transferring payroll tax payments by American workers to American retirees. Its web post closes: “The first modern social insurance program began in Germany in 1889 and has been in continuous operation for more than 100 years. The American Social Security system has been in continuous successful operation since 1935. Charles Ponzi’s scheme lasted barely 200 days.” …
We’d add that Social Security is accountable to Congress and the American people while a Ponzi scheme is a crime.
I don’t think our founding fathers when they were putting the term “general welfare” in there were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of health care. What they clearly said was that those were issues that the states need to address. Not the federal government. I stand very clear on that.
Perry’s reading of the Constitution raises very serious questions about whether he understands the English language. The Constitution gives Congress the power to “to lay and collect taxes” and to “provide for the…general welfare of the United States.” No plausible interpretation of the words “general welfare” does not include programs that ensure that all Americans can live their entire lives secure in the understanding that retirement will not force them into poverty and untreated sickness.
“Seriously?” Stewart said.
“Yeah,” Perry said. “Wilson and the Progressive movement started …” He paused and then continued. “The 16th Amendment. If you want to know when Washington really got off the track, the 16th Amendment, giving them the opportunity to take your money with a personal income tax.”
But the income tax didn”t originate in Wilson”s era. Indeed, Americans first paid an income tax 50 years earlier. Congress approved a federal income tax in 1861 to help cover the expenses of the Civil War; it expired in 1872.
Then in 1894, Congress agreed to impose a flat-rate income tax of 2 percent on incomes over $4,000. But in 1895, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that approach unconstitutional because the tax was not apportioned according to the population of each state, as the Constitution then required. (That meant, for example, that if 5 percent of the U.S. population lived in Virginia, no more than 5 percent of the tax”s total revenue could come from Virginia.)
The 16th Amendment removed this constitutional barrier by authorizing Congress to collect taxes on individual incomes “without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” It was ratified by the states in February 1913, a month before Wilson’s inauguration.
“We are fed up with being overtaxed and overregulated. We are tired of being told how much salt we can put on our food, what windows we can buy for our house, what kind of cars we can drive, what kinds of guns we can own, what kind of prayers we are allowed to and where we can say them, what political speech we are allowed to use to elect candidates, what kind of energy we can use, what kind of food we can grow, what doctor we can see and countless other restrictions on our right to live as we see fit.”
Starting in August 2012, fluorescent tube lamps (most commonly found in offices and stores) and conventional incandescent reflector lamps must become more efficient. The government said such fluorescent and incandescent lamps represented approximately 38 percent and 7 percent, respectively, of total lighting energy use. …
Jen Stutsman, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Energy, told us that conventional incandescent bulbs are not expected to meet the efficiency standards Congress set, though the government expects manufacturers to improve incandescent technologies to meet the higher standards or consumers will move to compact fluorescent light bulbs, LED technologies or halogens. She said new standards for 100-watt bulbs take effect in January 2012. New standards for 75-watt bulbs start in 2013 and standards for 60- and 40-watt bulbs start in 2014.
Stutsman said the expected shifts aren’t equivalent to the government telling Americans which light bulbs to use. “Under no circumstances does it say that a consumer must purchase a specific type of light bulb,” Stutsman said.