Confessions of a right-wing welfare king

I LIVE OFF welfare. I don’t deny it. It’s called Social Security.

Lots of folks argue that they’re just getting back the money they paid into the system over their working life. They don’t like to think they’re living on the dole.

While it was true for many years after the Social Security system started in 1935, when life spans were shorter, that you were just getting your money back, it’s far less so these days when life spans are longer.

Many, possibly most, recipients now get back what they paid into it, and after that they become welfare recipients. It’s a federal handout, not all that different from food stamps and Aid to Dependent Children Old People.

I don’t feel guilty in the slightest. If Uncle Sam had not promised me this decades ago, I would have made other plans. I might not even be living in Mexico.

I might be a greeter at Walmart in Houston.

Social Security recipients who live outside the United States are sent a snail-mail letter every year that we must fill out and return by November. I receive mine almost always in late June. I return it by registered mail which gives me a tracking number that works on both sides of the border.

I’ve been doing this for 11 years now.* The letter has always arrived, and my return letter has always been delivered. The Mexican mail system works well.

I sent the form on its way north just this morning from the post office downtown. My welfare greenbacks arrive at BBVA Bancomer on the 3rd of each month. As it sails over the Rio Bravo it magically morphs from dollars to pesos.

Mexican pesos are “real money” to me.

My monthly amount this year is $1,617 U.S., a 2 percent increase over last year. That’s the princely annual sum of $19,404. Some years we get an increase, some years not. It never decreases. I also get a small corporate pension. Living in the United States on this would be a colossal challenge, but not down here.

Down here I live like a Welfare King.

* * * *

* From age 55 to 62, I lived in Mexico almost entirely on savings.

14 thoughts on “Confessions of a right-wing welfare king

  1. Assuming you pay U.S. federal taxes, how do you go about processing your yearly return?


    1. Leisa: Since my tax situation is simple, I file online. I’ve used a number of services, but for the past three years I’ve used OLT (Online Taxes). Piece of cake.


  2. I had just finished reading your piece when I received a message from a friend about the government changing the name of Social Security to federal benefit payment — somehow implying a great conspiracy. It is an old rant. I saw it back in 2012.

    But the most misleading part of the message is the assertion that none of us receive even close to what was taken from our paychecks. That, of course, is a ton of horse feathers.

    I appreciate getting my check. But I receive only about half of the benefit directly. 25% is withheld for income taxes (I actually pay more in the end) and $400 is withheld as a Medicare premium (something I have to pay or I lose my military health coverage). So, I am not a big defender of the program.


    1. Señor Cotton: I don’t mess with Medicare, and no tax is deducted from my SS payment or from my corporate pension. My goal is to separate myself from the United States to the greatest degree possible. I’ve pretty much done that. And Mexican healthcare works just fine, and it’s affordable out of pocket. You hold onto things up north that I would not hold onto. We are quite different in that respect.


      1. I hold onto my military health care because it reimburses me for my medical expenses down here. But the preimum for doing that creates an economic conundrum. I have the taxes withheld from Social Security to avoid the inevitable penalty I would have to pay if I did not. That one makes economic sense.

        In an ideal world, I would cash out of Social Security and my pension and be free of any other economic connection with The States. But that is not possoble.


        1. Señor Cotton: It’s an imperfect world in which we live, but disconnecting from the United States to the greatest degree possible is good, at least for me … so far.


  3. One thing you could never do north of the border, pay your healthcare out of pocket. Even Steve who has a considerable income, with recent medical issues he has experienced over the last two years, the costs north of the border would be astounding.

    I too am a welfare king. My savings would have to be over twice what they are if I didn’t have Social Security. Your post made me do the math, and for the next few hours I will be over one in guilt for being such a drain on the USA’s limited resources.


    1. Señor Davis: The U.S. does have limited resources, and seems not to grasp the reality well, but I don’t feel guilty about taking “my fair share,” not even for a nanosecond.


  4. The U.S. government spends money like a drunken sailor. They tax us and then they tax the earnings of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They rob from the future to fund the political schemes of the present. Some are worthy causes, but most are not.

    When taxes will not meet the expenditures, the Treasury Department sells soon-to-be-worthless bonds to the Fed. The Fed buys these bonds and gives the government soon-to-be-worthless dollars. This will eventually ruin the member banks.

    What does give the dollar value? Well, back in the Nixon administration, Kissinger convinced the nations of the Middle East to price oil in dollars rather than British currency. The British pound took a real hit. Thus, the U.S. military became the attack dog of the Saudis. This involved us in pointless wars in the Middle East. What do we care that the Sunni and Shia want to kill each other?

    The U.S. dollar is the reserve currency used to resolve international debts. But what will happen when it is replaced by the Chinese yuan? It seems as if there are about six times as many dollars held abroad than there is in circulation in the U.S. When those dollars come home, I foresee a huge inflation. Hopefully, I will be gone by then. But until it happens, I will happily await my monthly pittance from the Social Security Administration.


  5. If the (collective, as opposed to individual) roof falls in, it won’t be because we run out of money. It’ll be because we run out of stuff to buy with the money, because production has collapsed for some reason. The most likely scenarios for that are collapse of food production because of global warming and/or civil disturbance. As in Zimbabwe, where production fell by 90% due to civil war.

    Enjoy your Social Security/federal benefit/welfare, Sr. Z. As long as the check clears, who cares what it’s called, right? And worry about a stable society. Rugged individualism will only take you so far.


    1. Creigh: I see civil disturbance as a far greater probability than global warming. I do worry about a stable society, and rugged individualism at my age likely won’t get me far at all.


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