A friend posted something the other day about leaving the US and becoming a Canadian citizen, one alternative many Americans have considered in response to the Trump presidency. Well, Canada is one alternative for those of us who have considered expatriation. I suppose expatriation is an alternative some folks haven’t considered. Yet.
But the friend of the friend who responded, she is apparently one of those who hasn’t considered expatriation, responded in a way I found most repugnant, and my friend kind of found it that way, too, with the question “How’s your 401K doing?”
I mean, it’s not just that I disliked the response, I think I kind of puked a little. I might have been the massive beef and onions burrito I’d just downed, but I’m pretty sure it was the idea that the woman’s 401K held more importance than basic human rights.
I find that kind of pukey. Perhaps FB needs a pukey emoticon, it was national (or maybe international, who knows, who cares?) emoticon day just the other day. I’d give that one a pukey emoticon, too, but then, that might be circular feeling. Emoticons don’t think.
And this is how Donald Trump gets to be President. Americans think that their 401K matters more than the child of that immigrant who's been put in a cage. Pukey.
My friend gets that. She did make the comment that since the current administration was likely to completely gut social security, her 401K might come in handy. It got me thinking about social security, not that program that FDR came up with, no, but the concept of a person being secure in society.
Social security is something I always supported, well, we all did, financially, we weren’t given any choice in the matter, but philosophically I did, too. Perhaps that’s because when I was still a minor child, we lived on Disability for a while while my dad was still living. He’d contributed to the system all of this professional life, he was laid off shortly before becoming eligible for retirement benefits from his employer, his health was shot, he couldn’t find a job that would support us all, and so we became wards of the nation state.
After his death, I was still a minor, I also benefitted from Social Security as I started out life on my own. It counted me as dependent on my mother, it helped the household, and then dependent on my passed father when I enrolled in the local junior college, there wasn’t a local senior college, not public, so definitely, I benefitted from it and understood its intent and purpose.
I considered both good.
And indeed, during my own working life, the annual report that Uncle Sam sent telling me what I could expect to receive at age 65 or 62 or 68, based on my input to the system (one would think that need might count more than input, if we’re looking for security in society, but what do I know?), and indeed, it made me feel somewhat secure about the idea that some day I could quit working like a slave full time and still have a life, with benefits.
And when the IRS started giving me grief (it really didn’t grieve me, at all, but it’s a phrase, I’ll use it) about what they decided I owed for cashing in that money I’d saved outside the system of Governmental Social Security (hahaha), I wrote and told them that I didn’t expect to live to see 62 or 65 or 68 (not really untrue; I didn’t expect to live to see 30, once upon a time), and that I’d be more than happy to have them deduct what they thought I owed from that, since I’d already paid it, rather than to just keep tacking on ridiculous interest rates (where does the IRS come up with its rate of interest???) on to what I didn’t intend to pay.
Well, I might not have told them that I didn’t intend to pay, but I didn’t, because frankly, I’d already paid into a program of Social Security I was getting more and more convinced I’d never see, and the things that the US government mostly pays for, including itself, well, I have no interest in paying for. I’d rather pay to disassemble it, or at least attempt to repair it before disassembly proves the only option.
I’m pretty sure that Social Security is about relationship. It’s not about having one’s government take money to pay for things that do not secure society, at all. The things that government pays the most for these days make society very insecure.