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One of the bigger problems of democracy is that the majority can trample over the rights of a minority.

An even bigger problem is a mutual definition of "rights." I was appalled that the Wall Street Journal, long a bastion of conservative opinion, blathered about the "right to safety" in an editorial. Let's face it. If I want it it's a right. If you want it it's a privilege, which may or may not be justified.

In all these discussions there are facts and opinions.

Fact: Social Security was designed and funded to provide minimal assistance to bereft old people.

Opinion: The above fact should be called welfare for poor old people, but the politicians felt they couldn't sell it that way. Thus was born the fiction that each of us has a cubby hole in Baltimore where "my" money is stored until I get "my" benefits.

Fact: SS always has been a program which pays benefits in a lesser amount than the related tax collected. So far.

Fact: Over time SS benefits have morphed from a subsistence payment to a major part of retirement planning.

Opinion: The current tax and benefit scheme isn't sustainable. Something has to be done. (There actually is disagreement about this.)

Opinion: Boosting the FICA tax on high earners doesn't bother me. No doubt this is in large part because I'm not a high earner, but I also have no problem with a progressive tax system. I say this as someone who's firmly planted in the penultimate lowest income tax bracket yet makes charitable contributions realizing that there are those far worse off than I.

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