Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. In his column at NewsWithViews he warns us against immigrants to buttress his debunked Malthusian agenda. Nevertheless, he recently published a column of extraordinary importance.
Wooldridge reports on a speech given by former three-term Colorado governor Richard Lamm (1975-1987) in Washington D.C., to the Federation for American Immigration Reform Conference: (www.fairus.org). (For a Christian/Libertarian response to FAIRUS, click here.)
Gov. Lamm "confessess" to an accusation I made a couple of months ago concerning government corruption. In that post I mentioned a report recently released by The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis which revealed that politicians have legally obligated the United States to pay out over $60 trillion in government benefits at some point the future -- beginning in a couple of months on New Year's Day, actually -- money the government doesn't have now, and does not expect to have unless taxes are raised significantly. Raised by how much? A "terrifying" amount, to quote the St.Louis Fed report.
Governor Lamm admits that this situation is immoral. It amounts to theft and fraud. He uses the term "embezzlement." It is unethical. And this unethical and immoral fraud is at the very heart of the government today. Here are his words, as reported by Wooldridge:
“I have participated in the greatest embezzlement in all of history. In my seventy plus years, I have never seen such a perfect crime.
“Like most other master criminals, I am heady with success and feel a need to brag. I kid you not - never before has one group appropriated as much money that belonged to another group in the history of crime.
“The victims, while they are increasingly suspicious, still do not know they have been had. It was literally and figuratively as easy as taking candy out of the mouths of babies.”
“Here is how we did it. The first rule of embezzlement is to find some naive patsy. We sensed forty years ago the younger generation was not paying enough attention to public policy, so we quietly found ways to maintain our lifestyle and charge it to the next generation.
“While those of you under 45 were preoccupied with other things, my generation dumped the largest load of debt on you that history has ever seen - and found ways to maintain our lifestyles on your credit cards.
“A good scam needs a compassionate come-on. In our case, we developed a new word: "poor elderly." To this day, most Americans do not understand that this is actually two words, and that "poor" no longer adequately describes the elderly as a class.
“Next, we devised a number of systems that allowed us to charge our retirement to the next generation of Americans, who will wake up to find they are on the losing side of a Ponzi scheme,” Lamm said. “Like all good con artists, we relied on "trust."
“We told them there was a "trust" fund for both Social Security and Medicare,” Lamm said. “Of course, this was a lie. There is no "trust" fund, in the normal sense of the word, because we take this month's Social Security taxes from today's workers and pay them to today's elderly. Then, we tell today's workers not to worry - the money is being held "in trust."
“In actual fact, they would be no better off if the fund was invested in confederate war bonds,” Lamm said. “The trust fund is a sham because it only contains IOU's that tomorrow's generation of workers will have to pay off themselves.
“They will have to pay for both our retirement and a good part their own. We succeeded in taking money from poor workers in St. Paul and sent it to wealthy retirees in St. Petersburg, FL - and no one was the wiser.”
“We soon found there was money left over after paying the Social Security funds to today's elderly, and we did not want to stop half way,” Lamm said. “What self-respecting crook would leave money lying in the bank vault after a robbery?”
We completed the job by something called the "consolidated budget," Lamm said. “This allowed us to quietly take the Social Security funds left over to reduce our taxes by spending the money on current government services. Under the "consolidated budget," we could legally "borrow" the money in the "trust fund" left over every year, and spend it on current government services; thereby, reducing our yearly taxes. Virtually every year for the last 40 years, we understated the yearly deficit and understated the total federal debt.
“Even though the official federal debt is approximately $9.5 trillion, the amount actually passed on to the next generation is closer to $50 trillion.”
The entire scheme was done with clever accounting gimmicks, which allowed us to minimize our taxes and maximize our spending while we passed the bill on to the next generation,” Lamm said. “Like many victims of a crime, by the time they figure it out I (the older generation) will be long gone. I have completely and totally spent the Social Security Trust Fund and left nothing in trust, absolutely nothing, for today's workers to pay future obligations.
“They will have to either raise their taxes substantially, or dramatically reduce their benefits under the system. They have no other practical alternatives.
“Every dime of the war in Iraq we put on our kid's credit cards,” Lamm said. “Every dime of Katrina and Rita hurricane recovery we put "off-budget" and thus left it to our children to pay.
“Then we voted ourselves a substantial tax-cut, the only tax cut during a war in our national history. If anyone quoted Milton Friedman, "If you cut taxes without cutting spending, you are not cutting taxes, you are deferring them to your children", we would quickly say we were "stimulating the economy" and change the subject.”
“They will recognize they are working long hours (or two jobs) and make less working than I make in retirement,” Lamm said. “Yet, every month they transfer money to me to pay for my health benefits. I have plans for that also. When they start to blow the whistle, I will say with shock and horror, "You can't start an intergenerational war." I will tell them about how hard I fought for this country.
“I will shame them by accusing them of breaking the "generational compact," neatly covering the fact that it was my generation who "broke" the compact by leaving them an unsustainable and insolvent system.”
“When health care costs became a larger factor in our budgets, we found a system to subsidize our health care costs at the expense of following generations. We called it Medicare,” Lamm said. “The average senior who turned 65 in 2000 got back $4 from today's workers for every $1 that he/she paid into the system. Today's retiree receives on the average a $100,000 subsidy toward his health care costs - from a system that is slated to go broke not far into this century.”
“My generation screwed up the savings and loan industry,” Lamm said. “What did we do to get out of it? We issued thirty-year bonds! Why should I pay for my mistakes when there is a gullible generation right behind me? Will I be here in 30 years? No. Will you? I leave it to my kids to pay off. My wife and I bought our first house in 1963 for $11,900. Our first mortgage payments were $49 a month because we had a VA loan subsidized by the federal government.”
“It is estimated that thirty percent of the current workers below age thirty will never be able to own their own houses,” Lamm said. “I get more money in housing allowance every year from the federal government than the poorest American. I get to deduct my mortgage interest and real estate taxes, which is worth to someone in my income bracket more than the cash equivalent that any poor person in this state receives for housing. Ditto health benefits.
“By not taxing my health insurance paid for by my employer, I also receive more health benefits from the federal government than most poor children on Medicaid. I have recently passed Medicare Part D to help pay for my prescriptions.”
To speak of tax cuts or deductions as "benefits," as Lamm does, betrays a view that government is the ultimate owner of everything, some of which it graciously allows us to use for a while. However, it is true that the mortgage interest deduction was a great coup by mortgage industry lobbyists, which encourages people to go into debt rather than save.
I don't know if Lamm takes himself literally, but I do. Government has literally engaged in fraud and theft. Government really is unethical and immoral. The whole idea of using the force of government to get "something for nothing" must be eradicated.
During the Great Depression, a generally Christian ethos characterized the nation, and poverty was not accompanied by mass violence. But in the 21st century, when Social Security and Medicare go belly-up, and government starts to use force against younger workers to "keep our promises to America's Senior Citizens," then these workers, as Gov. Lamm explained, "will wake up to find they are on the losing side of a Ponzi scheme." If these workers are dominated by a secular ethic of pure selfishness, they will not allow their generation to lose and Gov. Lamm's generation to win. They will not hesitate to use violence against the elderly. It may not be ugly -- it may be a sanitized euthanasia performed in government-accredited "Comfort Care Stations" for the dispatching of the elderly. But if the poorest Americans do not have a moral core, they may react to a $60 Trillion economic meltdown with less grace than Americans did in the 1930's.
But tomorrow's generation is surely learning from today's immorality. They are learning to put themselves ahead of others. The existence of "the government" teaches them that fraudulent confiscation of the wealth of others is justified if it helps ME. "The Government" is a criminal organization more vast than all burglars and mafia combined. And as for Social Security, as Governor Lamm put it, “It’s the crime of the century.”