Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What if My Kids Never Write a Hit Show?!

Courtesy of Corbis.com
Dear Readers,

This started out as a long winded Facebook status update, but apparently it's 1,111 characters too long.  So, here it is:

I just watched the West Wing episode last night about trying to fix Social Security, and it got me thinking.  (Unlike most television out there.)  My parents will be retiring soon and rightfully collecting their well earned Social Security.  (Love you, Mom!)  And I'm glad they will get to enjoy this benefit.

That said...

I'm fortunate because I will be writing or producing a hit show (or both) that will set me up for life.  But for anyone else not in those circumstances, what is the impact of paying a substantial percentage of your income--calculate the totals on your pay stub next payday--into a knowingly broken program that will not be there for us or our children?  (At least I'm not banking on it.)  Think of all the IKEA furniture you could buy.  Think of all the Apple stock you could buy.  Think of all the startup capital you'd have for a business.  Or all the overpriced college tuition you could pay.  Shouldn't there be a law against something like that? 

Now I believe what Warren Buffet says:  "Taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized society", but if Social Security were Social Security Inc., I'd be curious to see his valuation of that company.  Would he buy, or invest?  Becuase that's what all of today's income earners under the age of 60 are doing.  Part of me wants to "withhold rent" to gently persuade some congress and some president to find a solution.  (Sorry, guys.  You asked for the job.  Ball's in your court.)  Of course that would land me in some kind of white-colar-civil-disobedience prison with the likes of Martha Stewart, but I'm willing to take that kind of a risk.  But I'm not willing to risk my kids' futures.  What if they never write a hit show?