Social Security… The Fundamental Truth
by Dale Coberly
The Fundamental Truth
If you don’t understand this, you don’t understand Social Security. If you do understand it, all the rest is minor technical detail… or utter nonsense.
Social Security is not welfare. Social Security is not an investment plan. Social Security is insurance… to avoid welfare if your investment plan doesn’t work out as well as you hope.
Because of the complexity of the modern economy Social Security is insurance that is needed more often than not. It does what the family used to do under the guidance of “Honor your father and your mother.”
But even there you have to understand that while “you” helped out your parents in their old age, they “paid for” that help, first by paying for their own parents in their turn; and second, by paying for you when you were very young; and third, by building the “infrastructure” that made it easier for you when it came your turn to work for a living.
There is nothing about Social Security that guarantees you will always have higher benefits than your parents, or pay lower “taxes.” The world changes. There are fat years and lean years.
What Social Security does do is guarantee that even in the lean years you can “save enough” for your own old age, by the miracle of pay as you go… paying for your parents old age… which they paid for in their turn.
I hope you can understand the dual nature of “paying for.” It is actually the normal way money works.
When you put money in any investment, or Social Security, your money “pays for” whatever the bank or the company you invested in uses it for in that day. What you get is a claim on “your money” when you ask for it back. Some claims are more secure than others.
You have NO guarantee you will get your money back from a stock. You have some guarantee… because of government insurance… that you will get it back from a bank. With Social Security you get the best guarantee so far devised by man…you get your money back unless you let your elected representatives steal it from you. And because it’s pay as you go, you get back “real dollars.” Inflation is taken care of automatically, and if the economy grows, you get an effective compound interest equal to that growth.
Even if the economy declined 50% and we had to live on half of what we earn today, we would still need to set aside about 10% of that in order to have enough to live on when we were too old to work. If you don’t think you can do that, you need to think harder. Half the people in America are already doing it… living on half what you make and saving for their retirement thanks to Social Security.
In those very bad times that no one is currently predicting, SS would handle it the way societies have handled bad times since the beginning of human societies. We’d all have a little less, and we’d share that with the old folks.
The Trustees currently predict a “worse” economy in which the Social Security benefits would need to be reduced about 25%. It turns out this level of benefits would still be higher on a monthly basis, in “real value,” than today’s. It also turns out that the reason for the reduction is that future generations are expected to live longer than past generations, so you get that “reduced benefit” for many more months… adding up to the same thing in the end.
But it also turns out that those future generations, even under the “bad” predictions, will be earning more than twice what we are… in real dollars. That means they could raise their own payroll tax by two or four percent, keep the present benefit rate… also about twice the value of today’s in real dollars… AND have more than twice as much money after paying the tax as they have today.
But that’s the good news. If the economy really did go bad you would still need to save for your retirement. And Social Security is the ONLY way you can do that safe from inflation… and the bad economy.
Instead, what we have today is as if we were on an ocean liner and every time the wind blows from the north, the captain and crew start running around the poop deck screaming, “If this keeps up the ocean will freeze over. We’ve got to lighten ship. Start throwing the passengers overboard. Now.
The Big Liars… and that seems to include everyone in Washington… are telling us that we have to cut off our heads today in order to save the cost of dinner twenty years from now.
You need to be smarter than that.
just a comment about “saving enough for your old age”
EPI says 28% of us arent making enough to stay above the poverty level for a family of 4, about $11.06 an hour, and the percentage is expected to remain the same throughout this decade…
there’s a lot of us who can never save enough for our old age, no matter what…jared bernstein provides a chart:
i think you are wrong about this. not “bad” wrong like the big liars, just maybe a kind of a victim of the whole american way of looking at money and the purpose of life.
poverty in america is mostly political. we don’t know how to give everyone decent work, and we push those who “fail” into conditions of degradation. miserable housing, wage-slavery jobs, no culture worth having..and we tell them the answer to their misery is to “make more money” like the folks on TV.
well, in the first place you can live quite well on “below poverty” income… if you don’t fall into the rest of the trap.
but in the second place, Social Security at least provides that even the poor… most of them… will not starve in the street when they are old. and that is a huge first step toward “solving the poverty problem.”
and in the third place, what i am saying here is that even if the whole economy were somehow to fail to “grow” or even decline…. we could, if we were sane… decline to the economic standard of living of, say, the fifties, when most of us were actually quite happy.
not all of us, of course, but the growing the economy we have been doing since then hasn’t really helped either the poor or us.
this doesn’t mean i advocate all living in some hippie commune in seventeenth century simplicity.
It does mean, i think we need to be a little more sane about how we handle not getting richer and richer and calling that the end of the world.
And mostly it means i am saying, that Social Security, at least, will work whatever happens, if we let it.
Social Security was set-up by Franklin Delano Roosevelt based upon the most basic tenet of human behavior: that human beings only care for themselves not each other. In the work place this worked out to where how the employee, who worked for an employer who would only pay what they had to (or what they could get away with). The operating morally was that people who could only find jobs working for other people were automatically inferior. Hence, Capitalism became a social Darwinist statement whereby the employer could justify paying his employees only what “the market would bear.”
Hardly anyone made enough to save anything, much less for old age. With the average mortality rate of just 53-years in 1929, hardly anybody lived to an old age. In a society where you either worked or you starved old age came as soon as you were unable to work any longer.
Just like today, where wealth is concentrated among the very few, where the lives of the majority have returned to being “nasty, brutish and short,” Social Security was part of the New Deal, one small statement that said how people were worth more than cattle.
Social Security was orignally paid into a blind trust, that could not be touched except for purposes of paying out old age pensions. Due to pervasive greed, and a social Darwinism that justified and encourage wanton criminality, the Social Security system was stolen from, first “just the surpluses” then the whole thing was moved over to the General Fund during Ronald Reagan presidency where it became a Ponzi scheme.
These are the facts. Your article is just propaganda. Gibberish. Why not tell the truth. Be bold. Tell your readers how they have been and will forever be stolen from, how even after Social Security goes broke, how they will still be paying tax to support the elite, the politicians and corporate oligarchs. Tell your readers how they will continue to pay for the pensions of these petty and feckless leaders, including full health care, to a criminal elite that feels fully justified in feeling a superiority that hates the rest of us to death.
if all you were saying is that it is hard (almost impossible) for poor people to save enough for retirement WITHOUT SOCIAL SECURITY, I agree with you.
but that’s the point.
“Social Security is not welfare. Social Security is not an investment plan. Social Security is insurance… to avoid welfare if your investment plan doesn’t work out as well as you hope.”
Not quite, no. Social security is a social insurance plan against the possibility of outliving your investment plan.
One that’s very much worth having of course.
But it’s about outliving your savings, not about not investing your savings well.
When first brought in SS paid out at about the average age of death. This is rational. For a rational person will save enough for them to live to their expected age of death.
But obviously half of us are going to live longer than average life expectancy and some are going to live very much longer. So a social, societal, insurance policy against that outliving one’s savings seems like a very good idea.
Please note, this isn’t my description of it: it’s Brad Delong’s.
Looked at this way the solution to any ills that SS might have is simple. Just peg the qualifying age to the expected lifespan.
So instead of that qualifying age rising to 68 (I think that’s what it will move to?) raise it to 78.
Social Security has not been stolen from. Nor, I think, will it ever. What can happen is that the whole program can be “stolen”, depriving workers of the only way they have to protect at least “enough” of their savings from inflation or market losses. This is more likely to happen because the Big Liars have convinced people like you that their money has been stolen. It hasn’t. It’s right there, right now, paying for the current difference between the taxes collected and the benefits that need to be paid… as planned for long in advance.
It is true that politicians and presidents since at least Jimmy Carter have talked about Social Security as if the money were “the government’s.” They were wrong then. They are wrong now.
But it helps them keep up the hysteria that will eventually allow them to “fix” the program. The tragedy here is that “both” sides want to fix it by turning it into welfare. The right so they can destroy it utterly at their leisure. The left because they cannot imagine that something that is not welfare can be good for the poor.
But this is all gibberish to you. Because it does not agree with the propaganda that makes you feel good.
coberly, the other anonymous
you will be glad to know that I don’t worship Brad DeLong any more than I worship you.
The “outliving your savings” is one aspect of Social Security.
But your “fix” of raising the retirement age is just garbage. People get old long before they are ready to die. And people as long as I can remember thought that saving up for retirement… as early a retirement as they could manage… was one of the better uses of their money.
With Social Security, for the first time in history, ordinary people can expect to save up enough of their own money to be able to retire after about forty years of work… say at age 62 or 65. Since its their own money there is no reason they should not be allowed to do this.
What’s too bad here is that you talk “as if” you knew what you are talking about. You don’t. And I think you are in a profession where you ought to. More’s the pity.
You can only legislate morality. To expect people to behave with anything other than their own interests at heart is la-la thinking.
To expect people to save for their own retirement guarantees nothing but a lifetime of living cash poor and promises rich. And we all know that promises guarantee that somebody’s word will be broken.
When Social Security goes broke will you stop paying the tax? Social Security, since the system has been moved in its entirety to the General Fund has become a source of revenue that the elite, the professional politicians, and our feckless leaders depend upon and are addicted to.
Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Anything that is classified euphemistically as “pay as you go” is a Ponzi scheme and criminal. At least a Ponzi scheme use to be before this country stopped being one governed by the Rule of Law.
If the people are to save for their own retirement, then can somebody please tell me how we are supposed to save $5,000,000 million dollars in order to earn 1-percent interest for earned income?
Most authorites state that the individual must have put away $240,000 dollars just to cover old age medical expenses. This an amount that is in addition to savings put away just for retirement income.
No one in America has a retirement account today. They have a Social Security system that has institutionalized poverty in old age. The phony pension plans, the 401Ks and the IRAs took terrible hits, and even if we ever see an up market again, will take 15-years to recover. The public and private pensions have been stolen from (“under-funded” means stolen from) for at least 30-years by our feckless leaders.
Our country has become taken over by super-villians and run by an apathetic people that deserve the poverty and servitude that awaits them.
I do not have the gift for diplomacy. I am not trying to insult you or hurt your feelings. I am just trying to call your attention to a fact: you don’t understand Social Security. Even if you could recite the entire Trustees Report from memory, you would not understand it.
You need to get out in the world and walk up and down in it, and see what happens to real people.
Then you would know that “raise the retirement age” is a not even funny cruel joke.
Even with the much worse economy projected by the 2012 Report, Social Security can still be paid for by raising the tax one half of one tenth of one percent per year over the actuarial window. That is a pretty cheap price to pay to not have to spend your golden years working at a stupid job for a boss you hate… and that is the lot of by far most people.
In fact you don’t even need to raise the tax at all if people can get used to the idea of living only about 20% better than retirees today, but about 25% “poorer” than what they will have grown used to expect by 2040 or so…. that’s poorer on a month to month basis, but about the same amount of money over their longer expected life span.
The fact is the news is good… far better than it needs to be… but the Big Liars have found a way to make it sound like a crisis, And fool people like you into proposing solutions from hell to save us all from the crushing burden they have imposed on our imaginations.
The Other Anonymous
I wish you would go away. You sound demented. And you are taking up too much of our time.
YOU are the effect the Big Liars have been trying to achieve.
I don’t trust words like welfare. Have you parked outside a local food bank and watched the faces of the people standing in line? If they are old enough they have lost more than their jobs. They have lost families. They have lost their children. If they are young they will never afford a house, a home or a family because all hope is gone.
Our society is one where you either work or you starve. Our society passes judgement on who will starve very quickly. If you don’t have your life sorted out by the time you are 18, then you might as well forget about living or breathing for the rest of your life.
No one asks to be born. Many end-up wishing and praying that they could just die. Most of them live right here. Since no one asked to be born is it too much to ask that they be provided with a roof over their heads, three square meals a day, the best education money can buy? We are not talking about welfare. Most people who complain about welfare are those that came well-equipped to survive in a society defined as it is here on Earth, as though America and Capitalism were the end all and be all of the universe. Heaven is talked about as being someplace else.
And for those that have a little trouble fitting in, then the others have no problem squeezing them out. I believe that it should be the other way around.
I am sorry that you have been hurt so bad. I think we could do a better job preventing some of the cruelty and stupidity that goes on.
But Social Security has nothing to do with that. SS is just a way for you to save some of the money you earn in a very safe place so it will be there when you need it.
We can work on the other problems, but this is not the place.
Just a question Coberly. What is your plan for DI?
DI is going tapioca in 2015. That’s right around the corner.
I think “they” will raid the retirement fund to make up the shortfall.
Any thoughts on that?
my plan for DI was to raise the tax one tenth of one percent when it was first projected to be in short term actuarial insolvency. that was a few years ago. i think it might take two tenths of one percent now to bring it back to short term actuarial solvency. or say about two dollars per week for the average worker and his boss.
otherwise i don’t think DI ought to be part of Social Security. It is needs tested and a hard to administer.
but by “raiding” the OASI trust fund, they will shorten the life expectancy of that fund by not enough to notice… three years i think it is. something that can be handled by raising the combined OASDI tax one tenth of one percent, each, for each of the next ten years, then raising it one tenth of one percent each year the Trustees project short term actuarial insolvency… which would be about one year out of four at decreasing frequency, resulting in an ultimate tax rate that would still be too low to notice if wages rise as expected by the very pessimistic projections of the trustees.
Or, since it is money they will get back, and they need to save… safely… anyway… even if the economy does not improve at all.
i have to go to work now. be back later this evening.
It is the big lie.
Newspeak has war as virtue, and civil society as evil burden which might get in the war of perpetual war profiteering.
Insurance, welfare, savings, markets are all words which Alice might go to Humpty Dumpty to get a meaning and find they mean exactly what whomever wants them to mean.
5% of GDP for covering 99.9% of the militarists’ most recondite insecurities, a most valued thing the kids and social security revenues pay for.
The common defense is not perpetual war nor hve domestic tranquility and general welfare been removed from the US constitution.
Even Roman emperors such as Caligula and Nero cared about the welfare of the populi.
mark thoma has a relevant MIT study up:
this must be the poorest country on earth…in no other land would you ever see a serious conversation about throwing your elderly under the bus…
i was afraid of that. you are a friend, and i mostly agree with you. but you sound confused here, and some of the things you say about SS are the same as the lies the Petersons have been telling.
i hope you are well.
“Social Security is insurance”
It should be “insurance” but it is not. It is not because 100% collect on it. So it is not insurance, by definition. The rich, like you and Warren Buffet, get a check. Even if they have enough savings or income. If it was insurance, only those who failed, for whatever reason, to provide for when they couldn’t work would get a check.
Sammy you ever hear of Whole Life Insurance?
Or familiar with a similar product offered by many insurance companies but not necessarily defined as ‘insurance’ called an ‘annuity’?
Not all insurance products fall under the narrow category of ‘casualty insurance’
Certain insurance products do have 100% payouts in the sense that 100% of insurees get a payout. Although depending on the policy/annuity the ROI varies some. Which is why it is insurance and not say a defined contribution retirement plan.
you don’t understand the concept of insurance.
your SS payment guarantees you get your pension when you are 65 whether you need it or not. for most people this is a life saver. for some people not so much. because of the internal structure of SS payments, those who don’t need it so much pay the difference between more than enough and enough to make up the difference between enough and not enough for those who need it.
they could structure it your way, i suppose, but it wouldn’t work as well.
Sammy, That you can accurately describe Social Security as ‘insurance against poverty in old age’ is a reason to make it MANDATORY, in fact the economic right should be welcoming that feature because it limits the whole free rider/moocher/looter factor. But it has fuck all logically to do with the idea that the skilled and/or lucky shouldn’t share in the payout.
Christ Sammy on a rational analysis of your argument you suggest that Social Security SHOULD BE “to each according to his needs, from each according to his means”. When instead it represents a worker funded forgiveness to capital in respect to their need to pay for charity for the elderly.
You don’t want to see Apple Annie begging for a nickel for that wilted apple on 5th Avenue? Don’t want to have to toss a dime in the old man’s hat? Don’t like to have to step over old sick people dying because they can’t afford a doctor? All paid for by wage earners with not a single penny from returns on capital? My God Man you should be on your knees praying to FDR for SS and LBJ for Medicare Part A? The biggest gifts ever given to holders of capital ever. Yet somehow you see them as equivalent to Pol Pot and Madame Mao.
Catch a clue dude.
Nicely written. People fail to understand even at this fundamental level.
“they have a machine by which the people are deceived.”
I agree with you on social security with only one exception: that it should be means tested. The rich like Buffet, Gates, and coberly do not need the check. They are not in poverty.
What you suggest makes things unnecessarily complicated. The insurance aspect of SS is already subsidized by those who are not in poverty – me and my friend Bill Gates.
SS will make up about a third of my retirement. The three legs analogy is still true for many of us. Being able to plan is “priceless”. Means testing for those who have so much that SS is not a significant part of the plan would increase administrative costs for a relatively small cost improvement. (After all, Bill’s benefit is not any larger than mine.)
i am not rich, but i could live without my SS check. on the other hand i paid for it, and it does make the difference between just scraping by and having a little cushion for contingencies.
Arne is right, means testing it would cost more than it’s worth, and it would destroy the whole point of the program: worker’s insured savings. The bank does not tell me I make too much money to withdraw my savings so I should just give the money to some poor person. They seem to understand “you paid for it: it’s yours.” What makes SS different from a savings account… besides the government insurance against inflation and gross loss, is that it is also “within the program” insurance.
At the beginning of the day, me and Bill Gates don’t know who is going to end up rich and who is going to end up poor. So we each agree to contribute the same percent of our earnings while we work, with the understanding that at the end of the day, the payout is such and such according to how much we paid in. Workers whose earnings were very low… and you can’t know in advance if you will be one of them… get a payout that is something like a 10% compounded real interest rate. And workers whose earnings turn out to have been very high over a lifetime… and you can’t tell in advance who they will be… get a payout that is something like 2% compounded interest… not too shabby considering the guarantee and the insurance against death and disability and of course, ending up poor… The “average” earner ends up with something like 5%, depending on circumstances. The rich guy gives up some of that in order for the poor guy to end up with enough to eat when he retires.
It works. Has worked for seventy years, and no one is complaining except the Peterson liars and the foolish people who believe the lies. Or free associate from the lies into their own fantasies.
You appear to be one of the last. You don’t know much. You believe what you hear without thinking. And you “reason” based on a mixture of lies you heard and fantasies you create. That is the only danger that Social Security faces. You.
i need to make clear: Bill gates only pays that 12% on earnings up to about 100k. That limits what he pays for his insurance to a reasonable level.
My friends the progressives can’t understand that. They think SS is welfare or ought to be welfare, and the rich should pay for all of it. I don’t agree with them. You ought to be on my side if you have lots of money because i am saving you from the greedy progressives. And you ought to be on my side if you are poor, because I am saving you from the greedy rich who would destroy the whole program and take away your ability to count on being able to retire with your own money at a reasonable age.
They see the SS budget… some 700 Billion a year, and they know they could spend that money better than you can. And despite what they say, there is no way the poorer half of workers could ever get as good a deal from private investments. Some would, but every casino needs a winner in order to bring the suckers in.
and i think that they also really hate the poor. at least they hate the idea that a poor person could ever have enough money of his own that he could say, “no thanks, i don’t need your job.”
but it’s worse than that. They hate the idea that a poor person would ever have time to live any life except working for the rich guy. Better to see him polishing your wine collection than taking a day to go fishing.
if you listen to Peterson or Alan Simpson when they have an unguarded moment, you can hear this in what they say.
“I agree with you on social security with only one exception: that it should be means tested. The rich like Buffet, Gates, and coberly do not need the check.”
The problem here is defining “rich”. When it comes to “means testing the rich” for Social Security the EXAMPLES are always Bill Gates and Warren Buffett but the INCIDENCE is on everyone who has managed to exit working life with a pension or a modest retirement. In order to get any significant savings you have to get down to the folk who have $30k or so in retirement. On the other hand the same Righties who cry crocodile tears about the “rich geezers” ripping off future generations of “poor Gen-Yers” where rich = $30k practically have coronaries anytime a Leftie defines “rich” as $250k per year of earnings for tax purposes.
In the case of SS the payroll cap cuts both ways in that it strictly limits the amount of check even theoretically collectible by the very rich. Bill Gates will not and indeed cannot collect a bigger check than some upper middle class professional who earned at or near the cap his or her whole working life. As such you can’t really squeeze much SS benefit blood from the stone of the top 1% or the top 10% even if you confiscated the entire SS benefit. And by the time you start getting adequate enough flows of blood you are squeezing the ‘stones’ (and ‘ouch!’) of some very middling folk indeed.
This BTW is the same problem Romney faces with his tax plan. He can only make his claim to keep revenues revenue neutral for the “rich” by defining “rich” to include vast swaths of the middle class. Because the top 2% or so who earn more than $250k don’t have enough “tax expenditures” to offset the savings from that 20% across the board rate cut.
Unless of course you define “rich” when it comes to “burden sharing” in tax reform in the same way you do for means testing the “rich” for Social Security. Which is to say to ignore the varying incidence of that “sharing” and “testing” as you move from the middle quintile to the top.
Maybe the Right could pick a definition of “rich” and stick to it for ALL their economic proposals. But until then don’t try to snow us by throwing Bill Gates’ name around as your Ur example. As opposed to some firefighter retiring on a pension after a lifetime spent saving people from dying in a fire.
This by the way is what puts the b.s. in the whole B-S/Third Way ‘Grand Bargain’. While both the Commission and the subsequent Gang of Six expressed theoretical openness to a mixture of defense cuts and revenue increases, hence the ‘Bargain’ and the ‘shared sacrifice’, a closer reading showed that ‘defense cuts’ were defined in a way that explicitly held major acquisitions harmless, instead almost all the savings came from cost shifting health care costs to active duty military and retirees. Similarly the ‘revenue increases’ came complete with cuts in marginal rates and cuts or elimination of corporate income tax. The entire incidence of the ‘shard sacrifice’ ended up bypassing the top 1% while vastly fattening the bottom lines of the top 0.1%.
This is a feature and not a bug. As I pointed out in a piece on the original Ryan Roadmap, the one he published in 2010 that dropped like a stone, the full Ryan agenda would cut lifetime tax incidence for billionaires and their heirs to effectively zero. Forever.
The real Republican economic agenda as spelled out in the Ryan Budget’s Roadmap precursors is simple: eliminate all tax on capital. You can read it for yourself, links at the link.
Apropos of something. Or not. Here is the response of long time commenter Buff to the Ryan Roadmap piece:
“buffpilot Aug 3, 2010 12:37:00 PM
Feel Better? That was a class A rant.
Not sure why the fixation on the Ryan Roadmap. It has about as much chance of enactment as my chances of ever flying the Space Shuttle…”
Well since the Space Shuttle is decommissioned, even as Romney has endorsed the Ryan Budget, which also has solid backing by the Republican majority in the House and the for know Republican minority in the Senate (and they were until recently openly gloating about the likelihood of taking the majority), I am thinking my ‘rant’ was pretty much on target. As recently as 2010 the idea that billionaires would simply have their tax burdens erased was so absurd that even the Right regarded it as a fantasy. As it is we are a couple of bad job reports from seeing the reality. Or does anyone really doubt that a Republican Senate will use Budget Reconciliation to pass the Ryan Budget if they have Romney in the WH? Which means under Senate Rules no filibuster by the minority. For Fuck’s sake half of the ‘smart’ players think Romney is going to pick Ryan for VP. That is how quick he made his way from fringe to the public face of Republican economic policy.
coberly: “poverty in america is mostly political.”
Social and political.
coberly: “we don’t know how to give everyone decent work”
We don’t even try.
Tim Worstall: “Looked at this way the solution to any ills that SS might have is simple. Just peg the qualifying age to the expected lifespan.”
But you have to adjust for income. People with lower incomes have shorter lifespans. They also are able to save less.
So on the low end of income, we should probably decrease the age for collecting social security benefits, while we increase them on the high end.
i have tried very hard to make the case for leaving social security alone.
but everyone who hasn’t thought about it for 67 milliseconds still thinks they have the answer.
you are one of the “good” people, worstall is not, but the good people are destroying ss with their “fixes” just as surely as the bad.
in fact SS could recover from a straight benefit cut easier than it could from the structural changes you propose.
I am not proposing anything. I am accepting Worstall’s premises and drawing a different conclusion.
as is your right, especially on a blog. but the trouble with the whole SS “debate” is that the good guys accept the premises of the bad guys and try to beat them with wonky details.
it would be better if they just hit them over the head with the Truth: SS is not welfare; it does not contribute to the defict, and it isn’t broke and never will be.. unless we let the Liars “fix” it.
We need to hold our politicians responsible for representing us, not their wealthy and influential connections. Much of the overall problem is that Washington is getting very little done and most of what is done favors private interests. This will continue for as long as the people are bickering over biases, ideologies and party-politic nonsense.
We need to work together to move society towards a more rational and unbiased perspective. All of this short-term gains “in it for yourself” is what will sink our nation. Either we pull together or get torn apart by greed and private interests pulling at America’s seams.