Guest Commentary by David Smith

Let me ask you a couple of questions.  First, which demographic segment has the best voting record?  Meaning, of any age group, which group votes more regularly than any other?

Old people, right?  Retirees, seniors…old people.  No offense intended.

So if you wanted to propose a government entitlement program and your goal was to be elected to four terms in the White House, you would want to make the beneficiaries of this newly proposed program…old people, right?

Well if your name is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that would be your proposal.

In Social Security we see the United States’ shift from the Constitution to Socialism begin by proposing that the government “pay” seniors a retirement benefit that, at the time, none had paid into!  So an entire generation of “old people” have received their benefits, have died since, and have left the rest of us shackled down with an entitlement program that is both outdated, ineffective, and all but bankrupt, while an entire generation of Americans has been shackled down with the tax burden of paying for our forbearers retirement.

Oh, and did I mention the part about unconstitutional?

Now, throwing out the ‘U’ word is kind of harsh on first reading, but consider the facts.  The Constitution guarantees individuals the unalienable right (from the Declaration of Independence) to “the pursuit of happiness,” previously known as “the pursuit of property.”  In other words, our government guarantees me the right to pursue personal wealth!

Note:  Nothing in the Constitution guarantees that I, myself, personally, will achieve personal wealth, only that I am able to pursue wealth.  Property.  Toys, if you will.

Now, if I am amongst the unfortunate few who are unable to retire because I spent all of my income on toys, partying, or my seven wives, well, then I kind of did myself in.  Imagine what life might have been like had I settled at three wives and invested the alimony that I paid the other four.  I would retire a millionaire.

Now refer to the Constitution on this matter.  No such Power of the United States to “get your back” if you don’t – or can’t! – retire because you don’t – or can’t! – save!  The first rule of Finance is “consumption forgone equals investment.”  In other words, what you don’t spend, you can save and invest!  And in general, if done intelligently, investment generally grows.

So if growing one’s personal wealth involves, 1.) Earning an Income, 2.) Saving an excess, and 3.) Investing that excess, then it begs the question – can an individual out-invest the government?  In other words, can I outpace the Social Security program’s approximately 4% rate of return by investing in my own personal IRA or 401 (k) account?

Well, I have the last two years!  I have averaged approximately 20% growth in my personal retirement plans the last two years.  For those of you who know anything about investing in the market, you know that is not only good, it is great!

Inflation creeps along at about 3 to 3.5% per year, which means that at best your Social Security “investment,” also known as taxes, actually only increase at about ½ % per year.  If salaries increased at that rate we would see Revolution in the streets.  All the while, including inflation, my personal investing is increasing at above a 15% clip very comfortably.

Then you take into account the devaluation of the dollar and the fact that I am heavily invested in foreign funds and learn that my MBA in Finance (including International Finance) is paying for itself in about three ways!

And now we start hearing from Republican candidates for President on their proposed solutions for the future of the Social Security system and they are heavy on later retirement ages, lowered benefit amounts, and hybrid personal investment accounts.

The problem boils down to this:  The Constitution does not delegate this Power to the Congress, nor to the Federal Government.  The Power to pass the ‘Social Security Act’ and set up an entirely new organization within the Federal Government is not even granted to the Congress and the Government to enact.

Did you note that?  Go back and re-read the previous paragraph.

Once again, if you know anything about our Constitution, you know that it is a limited Constitution.  That means “The United States,” meaning the national government, did not set itself up.  It did not just spring forth from the ground one day.

The United States was instituted in the Declaration of Independence, and its government’s powers were enumerated in the Constitution of the United States.  Only those Powers delegated to the various branches of the federal government are given, and none of those includes the power to determine its own powers.

Our limited Constitution does not delegate the Power to pay retirement benefits, and it does not delegate the Power to delegate the Power to pay retirement benefits.  Note the distinction.  Our national government is not given the Power to determine what its Powers are.

Its Powers are explicitly enumerated, and in some cases implied as in the “Necessary and Proper Clause,” but in no way can the rational mind justify the trend towards Socialism that we began under Roosevelt and have continued all the way into the present, where elected Representatives who refuse to grant that which is not theirs to grant, namely S-CHIP, or children’s healthcare benefits, are reviled as some hideous beast for refusing to violate the Constitution.

Neither is it in the Powers of the government to engage in giving away healthcare insurance, nor is it in the Powers of the government to engage in the investments or retirement industries.  There are for-profit industries set up to provide these services, whose profits are taxed, and whose business it is to provide such services.

It is not the Power of our government to engage in business.  The concept of the “pursuit of happiness,” or property, entails that the government gets out of the way and allows individual creativity and drive be awarded by engaging in business.  Government has shown in every way at every opportunity a decided inability to engage in efficient business practices in areas that are necessary to carrying out the every day task of running the bureaucracy such as accounting, human resources, and payroll.  These tasks are even beginning to be outsourced to for-profit industry in order to streamline the government’s business practices.

Yet we expect an entity that cannot even pay its own employees efficiently to engage in for-profit areas effectively?  There is a reason its Powers are limited.  And if we want to add to those Powers, it is not left to the Federal Government, or its candidates, but to the Amendment process.

I suggest that we recall this, and quickly.

David Smith is gearing up for a run at the US House of Representatives.  His hot-button issue is States’ Rights. See more of his writings at his blog,

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