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Greater Powers be Given to Social Security Officer

We have all heard about how Social Security is being ripped off by benefit fraudsters. But is that an excuse to strip us all of our rights?

According to the Social Security, fraudsters cost the country £2 billion a year in stolen benefits. The National Benefit Fraud Hotline receives more than 4000 calls every week from members of the public who suspect benefit fraud. But while the identity of informants is protected by the DSS, no such confidentiality will be granted to those suspected of fraud.

O’Neill is right. The Trust Fund is a figment of our collective imagination. There’s no “there” there. It doesn’t exist. Every cent of American people that pay in FICA payroll taxes is easily spent. No matter which left after the existing retirees are paid off goes into the general treasury where it is used, first, to make up any operating shortfall, and then to pay the government’s creditors. The Social Security Trust Fund is credited for that money in the form of nonnegotiable bonds that purportedly earn interest.

Greater powers will be given to Social Security officers to gain access to personal information on fraud suspects from private and public sector organizations. These powers will be contained in the Social Security Fraud Bill (2), which was given its first reading in the House of Lords.

In short, a whole range of organizations that hold information which most of us would like to keep private can be called upon to tell all. Chillingly, these organizations are referred to as information providers. Local authorities will even have the power to pay these organizations if the secretary of state considers it reasonable to do so. It now appears that so-called confidential information can be bought by the authorities at a price. And as the Social Security Fraud Bill will be primary legislation, it will override the Data Protection Act, which is supposed to protect our privacy, and the recently inaugurated Human Rights Act, which is supposed to protect our rights.

The Social Security says that enquiries will be made only where there are reasonable grounds to do so. Reasonable grounds include suspicion. So if a curtain-twitcher living across the road suspects that you are defrauding the social and rings the hotline, your private and personal data could be obtained without your knowledge or consent.

It is true that the system worked for an extended time. That is, retirees for many years collected more in benefits than they ever paid in while working. That’s because the postwar baby boom supplied many more workers than there were retirees and politicians strove to buy votes from senior citizens by taxing workers ever more and raising benefits ever higher. Will the working generation put up with dramatically higher payroll or income taxes to support the retired boomers? Or will they demand that other government spending be cut? As the government consumes more and more scarce resources, how will Americans respond to the resulting slower economic growth or even stagnation?


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