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There already are nationwide movements pressing for the freedom to opt out of Washington’s Obamacare, gun control and Common Core education agendas.
Now, a Colorado county wants out of Social Security.
According to the Gazette of Colorado Springs, El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen is proposing a change in federal law to allow local governments to invest retirement money in “market-driven alternatives.”
“All we’re trying to do is have an option,” she told the newspaper.
Lathen has already been in touch with members of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. She said that when the members commit to sponsoring a bill, their names will be made public.
A proposed bill has been drafted, she said.
The idea is being called SMART Options, for “Stable, Market-Driven, Alternative, Retirement Transition.”
According to the Gazette, two professors from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs joined Lathen at a recent Board of County Commissioners meeting to discuss their research. The professors concluded that shifting funds to private-sector investments would stimulate the economy and increase retirement accounts.
Tom Zwirlein, a professor of finance, warned: “I’m not sure that Social Security is going to survive in the form that it’s in.”
Some classes of workers in the U.S. already are exempt in some form or another, including railroad workers, the Amish, nonresident aliens, some students and foreign government workers. Also, much of the income for the wealthy is exempt, since Social Security taxes are collected only on a base amount.
Almost the reverse of a pyramid scheme, Social Security had more than 100 people paying taxes for each retiree who received benefits in 1940, just a few years after it was imposed.
In 2010, there were 2.9 people paying for each recipient, the professors pointed out.
Zwirlein said, according to the Gazette, that allowing county workers to contribute to mutual funds instead would “put the money back into the economy, creating the ‘stimulus’ that would eventually lead to increased sales tax revenues for the government.”
“Times have changed. Why don’t we change?” Zwirlein asked.
Workers in state or local government were not allowed to participate in Social Security until 1951, and for several decades it was an option.
Congress later made the taxes mandatory for governments that opted in.
Current rules say once a class of government worker opts in, there is no way to leave the system.