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Debate Info

26
44
yes no
Debate Score:70
Arguments:28
Total Votes:77
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 yes (14)
 
 no (14)

Debate Creator

pvtNobody(642) pic



Should Social Security be mandatory?

Should everyone be required to pay?

yes

Side Score: 26
VS.

no

Side Score: 44
4 points
While people think of it as being a retirement fund, your link shows that the average benefits are 10,700, which is right above the federal poverty level, so it's clearly not a comfortable retirement. The United States has had a negative savings rate recently, which indicates that many people are incapable of making the correct choices for their own future. Or that they believe the government will help them in the end.
If Social Security is little more than poverty wages, then it really is more useful as the federal insurance policy that it started as.
Supporting Evidence: poverty level 2008 (aspe.hhs.gov)
Side: yes
5 points
I agree with what you're saying, which is why I proposed that it should be optional. A savvy investor could make twice as much money on the stock market in the same amount of time with the principle that one pays in Social Security taxes. If you didn't pay into the system then you wouldn't be eligible to receive any funds from Social Security. But you'd also be able to invest that same money elsewhere.
Side: yes
1 point

I agree, I would love to take that social security money, and send it to my 401K instead of some sinkhole.

Side: yes
2 points
The discussion about SS should not focus on whether people should be held responsible for their own actions or that their well being is the direct result of the decisions they make and the action they initiate.
Most American trained minds immediately close on this point, so this argument will be presented to the rest of humanity. You are not allowed as an American to believe that your life may have turned out the way it did because of what someone else might have done to you.
Much of what happens in life is beyond our control. One can show endless examples of bad things happening to good people, bright ideas that never sold and unfair advantage of one over another.
A rational mind accepts that shit happens and the best we can do is exert some control over our reaction to the 'shit that has happened'. That control over emotions means turning all experience into teaching moments and we can work towards empowering people to turn things around in their life, to live and learn, to become better with each passing day.
What we cannot do is encourage people to not take risks. Everyone should be encouraged to push up against their boundaries, think bold thoughts and try new ideas. Innovation is the most valuable attribute of capitalism. No other system insists on a new approach, new idea or new tool in quite the same way.
But in a system that encourages risk there are many who will fail. They sometimes fail early and never leave their social status or income, they sometimes fail late and end up wondering what happened and why them.
Therefore the essence of an argument about Social Security is really about the promotion of risk taking in a society with the clear understanding that the more risk taking we can encourage the better off we will all become. But we know that by encouraging a high degree of risk taking we will create many who will lose, many who will not save, many who will have little at the end of the day.
The very minimum we can do is put away that rainy day money before it lands in the personal bank account. Take some of the money before it is put to risk ( sometimes risk is defined as just trying a new product). We can ask a man/woman under 65 to get out there and pull their weight but by the time they have reached senior citizen hood they get some pay back just for being on the team.
So if you want a vibrant capitalist society lets all tuck away some of the money to divvy up amongst all the players when the time comes. This way we get maximum buy in to bigger picture.
.
Side: yes
pvtNobody(642) Disputed
3 points
Why do people need the government to put money away for a so called "rainy day." People should take some responsibility for their own well being and put a portion of their paycheck aside each month in a savings account. Sure things happen that are out of our control, but as often as not people aggravate their poor situation by not properly preparing for a "rainy day."
Yes capitalism relies on risk takers, but everyone has their own limits as to what they are willing to risk. Those that risk to much either do so knowingly or deserve to lose their hard earned cash because they foolishly took a risk they did not properly understand. Even buying into the government in the form of Social Security has a risk, if for some reason, the government suddenly decided that it would no longer maintain Social Security more than 33% of all retired Americans would lose between 90 and 100% of their income. Those 33% of Americans are the people who didn't bother to plan for their future and are in effect freeloading on the American public. Even a person making little more than minimum wage can save a little, and any hard working person with a good attitude and work ethic can make more than minimum wage nowadays.
Supporting Evidence: Social Security Facts at a Glance (www.epi.org)
Side: no
2 points
The US constitution is one of the most remarkable documents produced by man. In my mind in stands even before the Bible as a work of homo sapient inspiration. Read it and you will feel the desire to make good things happen.
Trust banks over government? This is a serious and deviant change in perception from the days of the Jefferson.
It comes down to if you want a large and productive society many things have to be mandatory. A universal health care system should be one of those things and forced saving is another. Throw in unemployment insurance and that every citizen should give 2 years of service to his country and we have the base ingredients for a good life. Freedom to choose does not supersede your responsibility as a citizen.
Love of country is shown in your willingness to participate its affairs. In effect to accept that somethings have to be decided for us.
Side: yes
pvtNobody(642) Disputed
4 points
Government sponsored health care doesn't work. Look at Canada or England for prime examples of why socialized health care don't work. Governments are a necessary evil, they should be small, they should have as small impact on human society as possible. Thomas Jefferson understood that as did the rest of the founding fathers. Government are inherently corrupt, inherently inefficient and inherently oppressive. The goal of the Constitution was to reduce these evils to the lowest possible levels.
It's not the government's job to babysit every citizen. It's the government's job to protect the people's rights, not to pamper to their every need.
Side: no
Paul-ish(77) Disputed
3 points

responsibility as a citizen? That is a bit ill defined. I have a responsibility to myself, but you can't throw responsibility to other onto me. If I chose it, fine, but you have no right to say I am responsible for anything but myself and my own actions.

Part of responsibility to myself means that I, like everyone else, am subject to the effects of my actions. If I chose not to have insurance than that that is my choice, and no one else is responsible if I get hurt. It is MY responsibility. As soon as you make people not responsible for their own actions you create a nihilistic population that does not care about their actions.

Side: no
1 point
To ask why people need government to put money away is akin to asking why do we need leadership of any kind.
Why don't we all just make decisions independently and see what happens? Why do I need a Boss to tell me what time to come to work? Why can't I just come in when I want, work 8 hours and go home? Why do I need a government to tell me what side of the road to drive on or what speed I can drive at? Why don't I just pick the side of the road with the most sun on it and let others make their own call and see what happens?
Anarchy works but the results of an anarchic system almost always leads to fascism. People get fed up with the unpredictability of anarchy and eventually turn things over to fascist dictators who clamp down pretty hard on any dissent.
The government is us. It is not some alien species that responds only to micro wave beams from another galaxy. The government is all of us and when you have an us, you have rules. Rules give us a sense of certainty and we calm down and get back to work when we feel that certainty.
SS is one of the most wise rules we have and freeloader arguments about the poor are disingenuous at best. Some of the biggest freeloaders in America are it's farmers(20 Billion a year), followed closely by the banks who are about to get a trillion dollar hand out and yes welfare costs about a trillion a year as well.
We need Government to make rules and enforce them so that we don't break down into tribes and armed neighborhood militias. We need Governments to make decisions in the best interest of the majority and sometimes that means those who have must share a bit with those who don't.
Doesn't mean we can't still make fun of the poor and prevent our kids from marrying any of them. Part of the deal is that if your are a loser we get to throw our wet garbage at your house- agreed.
But to postulate that even minimum wage earners can bury some of their loose change in the backyard and then survive out their golden years is incorrect. Say that out loud a few times and it will begin to sound as ridiculous as it truly is. This cannot be done. No one will go hungry today in hopes of having a super sized meal when they are 65.
Government is there to bring wisdom to the human condition and in the west we have benefited greatly from free thinkers and a one man one vote system- as imperfect as it is. The way forward though is with more government and better government not less.
I do not mean that I want Uncle Sam telling me what kind of underwear to slip on. I do mean we should encourage our brightest minds to serve, to think on behalf of the group and to have a vision that reaches up and over the outstretched hands of the most self serving of our society.
SS is a wise move and rule that works. We should do more things like it.
Side: yes
pvtNobody(642) Disputed
3 points
You make it sound as if people making decisions on their own leads to anarchy. Government has its place, in the United States it's defined by the Constitution. It's sad that fewer and fewer people are required to learn these words by heart in High School:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
In the preamble it clear sets out six basic goals of government. Now one may interpret the "promote the general Welfare" as meaning that the government is responsible for the welfare of the citizens of the US. However it clearly says "promote" meaning that it provides a means for people to provide for their own welfare. The driving scenario that you put forth falls under the category of "domestic tranquility", one of the federal government's primary roles is to regulate travel between states and one of state government's primary roles is to regulate travel within each state.
Anarchy does not work because when there is no rule of law people tend to ignore each other's rights.
Finally if the government's role is to make decisions that are best for everyone doesn't that imply that it is a separate entity from the people? It puts government above the people.
Social Security in its original form was a good idea, it was retirement insurance. In a time when people didn't trust banks and as a consequence saving money meant inherently losing money to inflation it was necessary. Today many if not most people believe it to be a retirement pension of sorts. For that reason people should be given the choice to pay into Social Security or to use some other plan. It's outdated, people have placed their trust in the banking system for better or worse and extensive safeguards have been put in place to maintain that trust.
Side: no
0 points
I agree with your sentiment here. The government should be an enabler of people and provide services such as education, safety (police, fire, rescue), and to help people out when they're down. However, I don't think that the government should be seen as a permanent crutch that people rely upon for their entire well being. There is so much opportunity in the US that people need to get up off of their @$$ and make something of themselves. I should not have to pay for some lazy bum who only holds down a minimum wage job their entire life to enjoy their golden years. Capitalism is founded on the belief that the harder and smarter you work the more you should be rewarded.
Side: yes
1 point
I don't really favor your argument but I truly appreciate the questions about us making our own independent decisions. I laughed so hard reading those that I almost threw up. I agree that we do need a government to regulate our activities and that said governments should be "of the people, by the people, and for the people" as our forefathers intended.
Side: yes
1 point
You've changed your argument. You started by stating the role of the constitution is to limit evil and that governments are inherently evil which is the same thing as stating people are inherently evil and that the forefathers had the Force with them and they were set to vanquish the dark side. The extension of this argument is that by definition mandatory SS is evil.
Now you're softening a bit and stating that the constitution was designed to limit powers and authorities. Another way to look at that is to say it was designed to extend and guarantee freedoms-- to the common folk-- a pretty new concept and a neat idea. Said that way we build a case that people are inherently smart, concerned and willing to try new stuff-- like voting. If people are inherently smart then again by extension governments can be the same. You can't have all this inherent stuff without some far reaching conclusions.
We have much to thank those long hairs for. They thought man was capable of much good. They believed and no Tony Robbins to get them fired up. I am impressed.
But the founding fathers didn't fear democracy or democratic government. They loved it and trusted it, were excited about it and suggested lots of people should be involved in it and that democratic government was what protected us from monarchy and disparate privilege to an upper class defined solely by birth.
OK, my glasses are a little rose colored because nobody worried too much about slaves but the gist is that government was a good thing, freedoms were to be enshrined and if the general population felt abused it could elect a different task master.
The founding fathers did not hate government. This is made up stuff. They hated answering to a king and decided that maybe nobody they knew should have to do that anymore. Especially if it meant paying taxes to support the royal family's global chess game. They also saw the wealth of America took steps to set up shop.
But back to the argument at hand. Should SS be mandatory and the answer is yes because for the system to work we all have to chip in in all sorts of ways, some we don't like but they are for the betterment of all. And yes we elect leaders because we expect them to be smart enough to occasionally suggest we do things we don't like but are good for us. They aren't always right but when our brightest primates decide to serve they can be right more often than wrong.
Opt in, not out. To say you are against mandatory programs like Social Security is diminish the dream that so many have given so much to achieve. It's easy to say let the bums starve, make the wrong choices and you lose and you are not my problem.
No. If we can make good things mandatory like SS and public health care then we should, we must. There is strength in numbers and these programs give us the momentum to make a difference. Way more cool than James Dean.
Side: yes
1 point

Unfortunately not everyone has the means to save for their own retirement so SS is necessary to provide for those people who would not be able to save on their own.

Side: yes
pvtNobody(642) Disputed
4 points

Social Security was never intended to be a retirement fund. It was intended as insurance to be used for when a worker could no longer work whether because of old age or disability. Treating Social Security as a retirement pension is asking to be impoverished in one's old age.

Side: no

It should remain mandatory because it needs taxes from everyone to keep it in operation.

Side: yes
0 points
Yes, Social Security should be mandatory. People can not be trusted to fend for themselves in retirement and they need the American government to help. In fact, I think they should raise the rate that we are required to pay in to Social Security to help make up some of the deficit.
Side: yes
pvtNobody(642) Disputed
3 points
I'd like to see some more reasoning as to why you say that people cannot fend for themselves. This is awfully vague and sounds distinctly like a Marxist argument. It's also more than a bit arrogant.
Side: no
DebateMan(471) Disputed
0 points

If you want evidence of why I think people can't be trusted to fend for themselves for retirement, take a look at the attached evidence from the Federal Reserve on Personal Savings Rates. Because of te instant gratification era in which we live, Americans are spending on average more than they earn, which will end up being disastrous come retirement time. We are living longer and earning more, but still spending more than we make. When we all reach retirement age and nobody has saved anything for retirement, we'll need the government to step in and save us. I don't mean to come across as arrogant, but the numbers indicate that there is a real need for the government to continue requiring Social Security and in fact I think the rate we are required to save should be increased.

Supporting Evidence: Fed Personal Savings Rate (research.stlouisfed.org)
Side: no
-1 points
Government sponsored health care does work and it works extremely well. So well that of all the G7 countries the US is the only one that doesn't have any form of socialized medicine and it's health stats are firmly at the bottom of the pile. Infant mortality is highest of this group in the US. Longevity of adults the lowest. Personal bankruptcy due to medical costs the highest. The results are so overwhelming, so condemnatory that the only real surprise is that Americans are not in armed insurrection over their health care issue.
Canadians so vigorously defend their Health care system that even a Bush clone like Stephen Harper knows he will be turfed out of office in a second if he messes with it. Why would a highly educated society ( note that Canada rates much higher than the US in all areas of literacy , mathematics, science so they are demonstrably more educated that Americans) put up with an inept health program. The facts clearly show how successful socialized health can be and the best surprise of all-- Canadians did not lose their membership in the global capitalist club. They just took health care of the population out of the equation and another great surprise- business loves it. Except of course if you are a private health insurance company and they regularly launch hate attacks on the Canadian Health system and scare campaigns at the under educated American middle class. Canadians scoff at them and practically dare their political leaders to try and privatize any aspect of health.
The role of the constitution is not to limit evil in government. That clause just can't be found. The role of the constitution was to elevate the ability of a people to govern themselves. It was to encourage participation and wide debate and to protect a set of freedoms upon which we could all build a better future. A life of freedoms-- freedom to choose, to express, to pursue and to buy enough 9 mm's to blow away all those who dare give me the evil eye. The flip side of all those freedoms are some things that are mandatory, meaning some things that everyone has to do no exceptions ( in theory). Things that make the trains run on time.
To say that governments are inherently corrupt is to say that people are by their very nature corrupt and that they will always be that way. This is not true. This is religious dogma and whether you know it or not it is Calvinist doctrine which surprise, surprise is the founding belief system of the first illegal immigrants to North America-- Europeans fleeing even more oppressive belief systems.
So the crux of your argument is that people are born evil, they form corrupt power structures and I should have the choice to opt out of what evil people want to make me do. Why? So you can join another group of evil people who do what- other types of evil stuff?
Mandatory does not equal sin. Many Governments despite what the shills at Fox will have you believe do amazing things for their citizenry. It is the height of irony that the descendants of the 1776 are the most cynical people on earth about what government can accomplish.
Support good government programs like SS. To make it all work there are just some things that we all have to do. Some things have to be mandatory and not just the easy stuff like rules of the road.
Buck up -- Your country and your government needs you.
Side: yes
pvtNobody(642) Disputed
2 points
Wow, there are so many things wrong with this argument. There are numerous examples of why socialized health care does not work. But that isn't the issue here. Neither is the Constitution, though I will quickly point out some interesting facts about the Constitution that you seem to have ignored. So let's all open our favored medium of the United States Constitution to Article I Section 9. I won't quote it, I won't explain it. Every American should have already read it and understood it. I'll even put a link to it since I find it all so likely that many people who read this will have no idea what it says. Read that and tell me that the Constitution doesn't limit government. The whole point of the document is to define the roles of the various branches of government. Throughout the document there are limits set on what the government can and cannot do. Read the Bill of Rights, tell me that those amendments don't place restrictions on government.
The founding fathers recognized that government by its nature threatens liberty. Which is why they placed so many checks and balances to ensure that no one person, or group of people could seize undue power. Government's can do good things, yes, but they can easily grow out of control and become disconnected with the people. That is where the Federal Government is now. It has expanded far beyond anything the founding fathers could have imagined and is in danger of losing touch with the people that it represents and is sworn to serve and protect.
None of this, of course, has anything to do with whether Social Security should be mandatory.
Side: no
-1 points
You've changed your argument. You started by stating the role of the constitution is to limit evil and that governments are inherently evil which is the same thing as stating people are inherently evil and that the forefathers had the Force with them and they were set to vanquish the dark side. The extension of this argument is that by definition mandatory SS is evil.
Now you're softening a bit and stating that the constitution was designed to limit powers and authorities. Another way to look at that is to say it was designed to extend and guarantee freedoms-- to the common folk-- a pretty new concept and a neat idea. Said that way we build a case that people are inherently smart, concerned and willing to try new stuff-- like voting. If people are inherently smart then again by extension governments can be the same. You can't have all this inherent stuff without some far reaching conclusions.
We have much to thank those long hairs for. They thought man was capable of much good. They believed and no Tony Robbins to get them fired up. I am impressed.
But the founding fathers didn't fear democracy or democratic government. They loved it and trusted it, were excited about it and suggested lots of people should be involved in it and that democratic government was what protected us from monarchy and disparate privilege to an upper class defined solely by birth.
OK, my glasses are a little rose colored because nobody worried too much about slaves but the gist is that government was a good thing, freedoms were to be enshrined and if the general population felt abused it could elect a different task master.
The founding fathers did not hate government. This is made up stuff. They hated answering to a king and decided that maybe nobody they knew should have to do that anymore. Especially if it meant paying taxes to support the royal family's global chess game. They also saw the wealth of America took steps to set up shop.
But back to the argument at hand. Should SS be mandatory and the answer is yes because for the system to work we all have to chip in in all sorts of ways, some we don't like but they are for the betterment of all. And yes we elect leaders because we expect them to be smart enough to occasionally suggest we do things we don't like but are good for us. They aren't always right but when our brightest primates decide to serve they can be right more often than wrong.
Opt in, not out. To say you are against mandatory programs like Social Security is diminish the dream that so many have given so much to achieve. It's easy to say let the bums starve, make the wrong choices and you lose and you are not my problem.
No. If we can make good things mandatory like SS and public health care then we should, we must. There is strength in numbers and these programs give us the momentum to make a difference. Way more cool than James Dean.
Side: yes
pvtNobody(642) Disputed
2 points

I haven't changed my stance at all. This debate, however, has drifted far from the original question and into the realm of Constitutional interpretation.

You really aught to do some research before saying the first socialist idea that comes into you mind. Let's talk a bit about the founding fathers. Most, if not all, were wealthy "elites." Many owned slaves and most if not all most definitely did not trust democracy. Read the Constitution, there are numerous examples of measures put in place to separate the voters from government; the Electoral College, election of senators by state legislatures. Democracy was viewed largely as "rule by the mob" and was therefore both feared and rejected. Voting laws allowed only landowning white males, who were better educated and informed than their fellows, to vote.

In the Declaration of Independence the concept that government was a necessary evil is alluded to in the words

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men"

Government are not instituted because they are good things. They are instituted because they are necessary to protect the rights of the governed. By the way income tax was unconstitutional until 1913. Thus Social Security would have likely gone against what the founder's intended simply because it requires income taxes. Then again I think that I've adequately described why most of the changes to the Constitution would have turned the founding fathers in their graves.

Side: no
7 points
The question stems from a more fundamental question, really. Should people be responsible for their own well being, or should the government take care of the people? This is a fundamental question that the United States has been wrangling with for some time now. Is it the job of the government to babysit every man, woman, and child in the United States, or should people take care of themselves? Social Security was created in the 1930s at the height of the Great Depression as a greater attempt to help the United States escape the economic crisis. Originally the Social Security Act of 1935 was intended to provide pensions, unemployment insurance and aid to disabled people. Over time it has become a retirement fund for millions of Americans. Like so many other government programs it has been warped, expanded and distorted.
Every working American pays 6.2% of their paycheck to funding the previous generations retirement. In return the average American receives around $198,720. This is same amount is payed to people working minimum wage and paid minor fractions of this amount into the system. This does not seem entirely fair. What distinguishes capitalism from communism is the concept that hard work inherently provides a better lifestyle.
In communism one works for the greater good, in return the greater good benefits each worker. But humans naturally seek power and wealth. We seek to be rewarded for a job well done. Thus all communist societies are doomed to be plagued by poor production quotas and corrupted governments. Socialism attempts to find a middle ground, encouraging people to work hard then tax them so that they can be rewarded by the government.
The United States has always been a bastion of capitalism. People with the foresight to save for their futures should be rewarded by having an ample retirement fund to draw on. Those who do not should have to work continuously. At the same time Social Security should be available to anyone who wants to pay into it. It would work the same way as it currently does but not everyone would be required to participate.
In addition to the link I've added (not sure if you can add more than one link, perhaps there aught to be a way if there isn't), take a look at these sites:
http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/
http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/issueguide_socialsecurityfacts
Supporting Evidence: Average Monthly Social Security Benefits (www.infoplease.com)
Side: no
5 points
Social Security should not be mandatory. The payouts are so infinitesimally low that it does not make a difference to people in retirement. I agree with your point that we are in a capitalist society and people should be rewarded for their hard work. The government should not take 6.5% of their pay (and take 6.5% from the company as well) to "invest" (aka fund our insatiable spending binge) for our retirement. We should be able to keep that money and invest it (if we'd like) or blow it on a trip to Vegas if we wanted to. People need to be accountable for taking care of themselves.
Side: no