Not to be (too) argumentative, but I take issue with this statement of yours:
"Social Security is not a welfare program. People receiving SS have paid into this program for 30, 40, or more years."
I believe in calling a spade a spade. SS is absolutely a welfare program. It works just like every other wefare program, taking (stealing) money from one group of people and giving it to another group of people. All that money you, me, and others paid (or was coercively taken through taxes) for 30, 40 or more years was always immediately redistributed to other people. As for the "SS Trust Fund" it's always been a bunch of government backed IOU's. The SS money's all been spent. As you said, it is a giant pyramid scheme, where the money that comes in goes out just as fast.
That being said, I do think the only way for a politician to be realistically elected in this day and age is to offer a phasing out solution to these welfare programs, as Ron Paul is offering.
Again, all I'm trying to do here is call a spade a spade.
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