default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Steve Hansen How did my Social Security get pared to the bone?

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, August 18, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 6:21 am, Wed Aug 18, 2010.

August marks the 75th anniversary of Social Security. Isn't it great that we can rely on the federal government to take care of us in our old age?

At least that's what I thought, until I tried to collect benefits. The way things were going in Washington, I figured I'd better grab mine at the early age of 62.

The lady at the Social Security office was really nice. Of course, no one answers the phone over there, but I still managed to do some behind-the-scenes maneuvers and got an appointment with her.

I had paid into this entitlement plan for over 26 years, so I knew my future would be assured.

I had worked hard. There were the U.S. Army and years of private practice in psychotherapy. In addition, there were my restaurant, retail, advertising and automobile business gigs. Oh yes, I almost forgot. There were also my college teaching appointments and work for the federal government, along with the state of California.

I just knew my relaxing moments on the Delta were just around the corner. Happy days were here again!

"How much am I going to get?" I inquired.

"Hummmm. It looks like almost $700," she replied. "But wait a minute. Aren't you part of the California State Teachers' Retirement System?" she asked.

"Well, yes," I said. "I did teach, worked as a counselor and ran a special education program for a public high school."

"Oh, in that case, we have to reduce your benefits by $303," she commented. "That will leave you $397."

"What? Wait a minute. I was forced to pay into this racket for 26 years! Now I'm only going to get $397?" I protested.

"That's right," she said. "There's nothing I can do about it. It's called the Windfall Elimination Provision."

"Oh, well. $397 is better than nothing," I said.

"Here's another thing," the gray-haired worker reported. "You made quite a bit of money last year."

"Yes," I replied. "I sold a condo that I had owned for years and had to report the capital gains as income. But that was only a one-time deal, and I gave a lot of that back in taxes!"

"Doesn't matter," she responded. "You made too much money, and now, I have to knock your payment down another $230."

"Unbelievable!" I thought. "Now I'm down to $167 per month. Billionaires like Warren Buffet are not subject to 'offsets for California teachers.' How can this be?"

"By the way, when you turn 65, the government will deduct another $124 for Medicare, Part B. That should leave you with a grand total of $43 per month. Have a nice retirement," she muttered, as a mean-looking security guard escorted me from the premises.

As I climbed in to my 12-year-old "Government Motors" pickup truck, the thought occurred to me: If Social Security had been a private life insurance company, there would have been endless congressional hearings over this. They'd be screaming about evil corporations ripping off the people. Executives would have gone to jail for fraud. But apparently, Ponzi schemes are perfectly legal — just as long as the U.S. government runs them.

Steve Hansen is a Lodi writer and satirist.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • stan taves posted at 7:28 pm on Thu, Aug 19, 2010.

    Stan Taves Posts: 320

    Steve, that was a fabulous story. If nothing else, it sheds light on the reality of system gone so very wrong that it will manufacture any criteria needed in order to save itself from it's unavoidable doom. In other words... they -- the management team in Wash -- know that their day is nearly done, but yet they will do as they always have. Until their dirty deeds cease to sell, and all that's left begins to smell. ...that's when rebirth becomes our chore, and that my friend is what's in store.


Recent Comments

Posted 14 hours ago by Ed Walters.

article: Raley’s celebrates re-opening of Sargen…

If you plan on speeding on Sargent Rd., beware of the roundabout as it will slow you down fast. [wink]


Posted 15 hours ago by Ed Walters.

article: Letter: The drought is punishment

Myers, man is always asking or praying for something, now you believe the West Coast is caught in a drought due to people disobeying God…


Posted 15 hours ago by Jien Kaur.

article: Letter: How is free community college g…

A friend of mine and I are both placing our bets on the 'Fox and Friends' as the show the Mr Wilson is dedicated to since it has the 3 peop…


Posted 16 hours ago by Ed Walters.

article: Letter: How is free community college g…

Chang, Insults, honest; [sleeping] [huh] [sneaky] [scared] Same O, Same O


Posted 17 hours ago by Steve Schmidt.

article: Letter: The drought is punishment

Ross Farrow is dead? I guess I missed that. Lodi is poorer without him. :(



Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists