Why I won’t support Mike McMahon for Congress

I just received the following in an email from the campaign of Michael McMahon for Congress:

Dear Friends:

I write to ask for your support in my campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives for New York’s 13th Congressional District, which includes all of Staten Island and a portion of Brooklyn. I graduated from Farrell in 1975, and with your support we can make sure that this Congressional seat stays a Lion seat in 2008!

Mike McMahon and I went to the same high school (he graduated 13 years before me). Yes, I’ve seen his name emblazoned on signs throughout my neighborhood and others in this election season. Not knowing much else about him, I decided to go to his web site, MikeMcMahonForCongress.com, to find out.

A lot of it was political fluff, and nothing shook me good or bad, until I got to the Michael on Social Security page, which says:

Since its creation in 1935, Social Security has been the single most successful domestic program that our government has ever run…

Replacing our current Social Security system with privatized investment accounts is simply unacceptable, and I strongly oppose it.

That’s all it took to convince me not to support Mike McMahon. Why? Well, I wrote him a letter about it, and I share it with you below.

I regret to inform you that I can not support you for Congress. One glaring reason stands out, which I take from your web site at http://www.mikemcmahonforcongress.com/ss.html, where you write:

“Social Security has been the single most successful domestic program that our government has ever run… Replacing our current Social Security system with privatized investment accounts is simply unacceptable, and I strongly oppose it.”

Every year I get a statement from the SSA outlining how much I paid in and how much I would get back, if my payments stay the same, when I retire. (To note, I am 38 years old and have been working full-time for my entire adult life.) Based on the numbers, if I retired at 67 years of age, I would need to live until 87 just to get back the money I “invested” into Social Security. If I made a 2% rate of return on this money, I could live forever, and the SSA would never run out of money on me, because the interest they earned on my money which they’ve held for 50+ years would be more than what they give me each month.

Come on, Mike, that is far from an effective “retirement” plan. Social Security is nothing more than a tax on people. As you know, there is no trust fund; the “trust fund” is nothing more than an IOU from government, because the money was used for other purposes.

Compare this to the stock market, which since its inception has averaged over a 10% rate of return per year — and that’s with the many stock market crashes we’ve seen over the years. Further, there has never been a 10 year period where the stock market was down — the market, like the economy, is cyclical, and “dollar-cost averaging” is one of the most effective ways to continually maximize your long-term gains.

Yes, you can lose money in the stock market, but that’s why there are thousands of respected financial advisors in the country — to help you maximize your gains while minimizing risk based on your specific needs. People do this every day, and there are millions of people who have enjoyed incredible success in the private market — most of them middle class people who invest in their 401(k) and IRA. This is where the future is for retirement planning, not in a broken bureaucracy like the SSA.

In closing — sorry, Mike, but after hearing your blanked stand about Social Security, I simply can not support you.

Oh, and by the way, there is an error on the “contact” page of your web site (http://www.mikemcmahonforcongress.com/contact.html). The image does not display.

– Brian DeMarzo
– a lifelong Staten Island resident, a small business owner on Staten Island, and a true American Patriot

Hey, maybe I’m being hard on the guy, but I have principles. It’s one thing to thing Social Security is God’s gift to society. It’s another to have a broken image on the contact us page of your web site. That is totally unforgivable!

5 thoughts on “Why I won’t support Mike McMahon for Congress”

  • Brian,

    I live in the district and I will be supporting McMahon. That’s a pretty intense dedication to free market economics to be posting on October 2, 2008 of all times. Social Security is not meant to outpace the stock market over a
    century. It is meant to provide an income guarantee for older Americans that is social
    and secure irrespective of market vicissitudes. In a week when 401(k) portfolios,
    including mine, lost much of their value, my reaction was that we’re very lucky that
    they did not succeed in privatizing Social Security because people taking a bath these
    days would have no fallback whatsoever.

  • I don’t expect Social Security to out-pace the equity market. I do expect it to at least keep pace with long-term Certificate of Deposits (i.e. insured bank deposits). You can easily invest money for an insane long-term with virtually no real risk and gain 2% return on investment.

    Equity markets right now present an incredible opportunity to buy for long-term investors, which further reinforces the value of investing in them when you have a 10+ year window before you need the money. Dollar cost averaging over the equities market, combined with a reasonably managed risk/asset ratio, can provide substantial return on investment with preservation of capital when it becomes necessary.

    This is not conjecture, it is proven by over 100 years of history. All Social Security has proven is that government can create incredible future debt obligations by making promises that it simply can not meet without burdening future taxpayers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>