A Dangerous Financial Product

by Don Boudreaux on June 23, 2007

in Social Security

Here’s a letter that I sent yesterday in response to an e-mail that I received:

22 June 2007

Ms. Clara Perez
www.democracyjournal.org

Dear Ms. Perez:

Thanks for your e-mail alerting me to Presidential-hopeful John Edwards’s proposal to create “a regulatory commission to protect consumers from dangerous financial products.”

If such a commission does its job, I suggest that the first dangerous financial product that it attacks be Social Security.  Not only are Social Security’s returns lousy; not only are its “customers” never vested their “contributions”; not only does the institution providing it have no sound plan to keep it solvent; not only does this institution intentionally mislead its clients about its insolvency (witness its discussions of the illusory “trust fund”) – but its “customers” are forced to buy it.  That is a dangerous financial product!

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
George Mason University

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{ 38 comments }

Methinks June 23, 2007 at 4:37 am

What regulatory commission will be set up to protect us from Edwards? Did Miz. Perez happen to mention if Edwards managed to work that out while he was pulling down $500K working part-time at Fortress to "study the relationship between poverty and the capital markets"?

Mesa EconoGuy June 23, 2007 at 10:01 am

Indeed.

And spot-on about Social Security.

Mr. Edwards had better watch out – Henry Waxman, his Democrat colleague, is coming after hedge funds, which may put Mr. Edwards out of his $500,000 Fortress “consulting” position.

Waxman almost single handedly delayed Blackstone’s IPO pricing Thursday.

Who would have thought that we were so eager to return to the days of the Windfall Profits Tax?

Adam June 23, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Speaking of financial ignorance, there's a story by the AP's economics writer today about people in the US who don't have bank accounts.

It includes this gem: "Although there is no federal requirement for banks to offer low-cost, no-frill accounts, some do."

Yeah, because it's baffling that private enterprise would offer cheap services unless the government made them.

And this is the economics writer. Depressing.

Patrick R. Sullivan June 23, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Speaking of crackpot ideas from Democrats running for President, Jonathan Alter is all ga ga for Chris Dodd's call for wholesale violations of the 16th Amendment's ban on involuntary servitude (except as punishment for a crime):

'The part of the plan that will likely engender the most opposition is Dodd’s call for mandatory high-school community service. Schools would be required to have their students to perform 100 hours of community service in order to graduate—or risk losing federal funds. ….

'The only state currently requiring community service is Maryland. The idea has not caught on elsewhere because schools—and students—don’t like to be compelled to act virtuous. But Dodd’s idea of a whole generation that performs service as a “rite of passage” does require some kind of kick in the pants to go along with the incentives. His “Summer of Service” component (which would carry with it a $500 college scholarship) would even extend down into middle school.

'….The point is to get a conversation going about what Dodd calls the “New American Patriotism”—the latest extension of a spirit of national service that extends back to Franklin Roosevelt and the Civilian Conservation Corps. Now it’s up to the other candidates to show how they would, in Dodd’s words, “move forward in this new century in common cause and with muscular purpose.” '

All of which has a verrrry bad pedigree:

'Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing above the state.'

Methinks June 23, 2007 at 1:49 pm

'Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing above the state.'

Boy, that brings back memories.

The result was gulags, forced labour, mass poverty, mass starvation, alcoholism and mass murder.

Of course, that was only for the masses. The Paris Hilton, Chelsea Clinton, Jacques Chirac and John Edwards equivalents lived like kings.

John Pertz June 23, 2007 at 3:04 pm

"'….The point is to get a conversation going about what Dodd calls the “New American Patriotism”—the latest extension of a spirit of national service that extends back to Franklin Roosevelt and the Civilian Conservation Corps. Now it’s up to the other candidates to show how they would, in Dodd’s words, “move forward in this new century in common cause and with muscular purpose.” '"

I know that many on the left are addicted to calling rhetorical prose that they dont agree with Orwelian, however the passage above fits that characterization to the letter. Christoper Dodd is esentially trying to pass a forced labor act, isnt this the year 2007?

Mesa EconoGuy June 23, 2007 at 3:40 pm

That’s JFK on steroids:

“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

As Dr. Friedman observed, “Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society.”

Chris Meisenzahl June 24, 2007 at 1:47 am

LOL, well-done, that made my day! ;-)

David P. Graf June 24, 2007 at 10:18 am

Reading through Hayek's book ("The Road to Serfdom"), it's interesting to me that he did not have a problem with some government regulation such as the eight-hour day if it did not affect competitiveness. If I am understanding him correctly, the market works best when there is true competition between businesses. I wonder how competitive he would rate much of the economy today. Would Hayek have endorsed actions by governments to restore a competitive business enviornment (i.e., trust-busting, restrictions on ownership of media outlets…etc.)? Or, do I have it wrong once again?

Objectivist June 24, 2007 at 2:46 pm

What we need to do is get rid of Social Security, privatize healthcare entirely, and get the government off our backs. The American people can spend their payroll taxes more intelligently than fed employees who flunked out of high school and wound up in the civil service because of connections. Did you all know that 66% of the people without health insurance in this country don't have it because they are healthy, and don't percieve a need for treatment or preventive care? So yeah, I'm with Grover Norquist; let's shrink the size of government down to where we can drown it in a bath tub.

vidyohs June 24, 2007 at 7:39 pm

Ahhhh, the Social Security program and the SSN, what to do what to do?

Well Don, what you might do to learn the truth is to actually write the Director of the Social Security Administration and ask him point blank to tell you, or point you to, the actual law that requires you to have a social security number and to particiapate in the Social Security Program.

If you do so, you will receive what I, and others, have which is a letter from their public affairs department telling you that there is no, I repeat NO law, requiring anyone to have an SSN to work and earn income in the United States of America. None, zilch, zip, nada!

The individual writing on behalf of the Social Security Administration routinely then goes on to tell you that other agencies such as the IRS may or will require you to have an SSN in order to facilitate keeping records and administrating your taxes.

If, Don, you are as smart as I think you are you will instantly recognize that as red herring B.S., because if there is no law requiring an SSN and participation in the SS program, then the IRS can go take a hike legally they are SOL.

But, hey, don't take my word for it, write them yourself and see what you get as a response.

The SS program is entirely voluntary and we have all been deliberately enculturated to belive that it is mandatory thanks to our parents, teachers, govt officials, and so-called "tax experts". You don't learn the truth until you make the effort.

If everyone would simply take the initiative to write and find out for themselves then the whole matter becomes a moot point, simply teach your children to not participate, do not apply for an SSN and invest their money in programs run by intelligent people……government need not apply.

AS for the IRS and the SSN, your name and address identifies you very well, after all the mail delivery person doesn't deliver an envelope(letter) to 666-66-0066, they deliver it to Name, street, city, state, and zip code. Amazing isn't it?

Know the truth and the truth will set us all free.

vidyohs June 24, 2007 at 7:48 pm

Oh, I am sorry I left out this vital point. When your child is born and the hospital admistration comes around with paperwork that includes the application form for an SSN for your child, refuse to do it. Refuse to do it. Refuse to do it.

Let the child make up his/her own mind upon reaching maturity, a maturity that will include your teaching that the program is voluntary.

Stop the lies, stop the rape, teach your child how to take care of his/her own self.

And, please people do not comment and tell me that I know not of that which I speak until you personally have written and received your reply. I sit here with copies of the letters in hand that state exactly what I have related.

Yes, we have all been dumb as.ses!

Brad June 25, 2007 at 5:43 am

vidyohs, That is just plain nuts. Seriously, libertarianism has enough trouble gaining traction with thoughtful people without the weirdo fringe helping. Perhaps you are correct that there is no requirement that you have an SSN. Tell that to a prospective employer. Tell that to a college. Tell that to a bank. Ideally, we'd live in a society where government ID numbers aren't needed, but we don't. It's an immaterial sacrifice of freedom to enable us to interact until we figure out how to do away with it. Ugh. Big picture…

andy June 25, 2007 at 6:54 am

"without the weirdo fringe helping…"

You mean without the people who put their money where their mouth is?

vidyohs June 25, 2007 at 7:16 am

I fully expected some doubtful response because of the enculturation I know exists, but I did not expect this.

"Seriously, libertarianism has enough trouble gaining traction with thoughtful people without the weirdo fringe helping."

And, there, Sir Brad, is proof positive that there is, and always has been, a real
difference between the free man, the house slave, and the field hand.

When a free man points out the rotten links in the binding chains, you cower in fear and say, "No. no, you're frightening 'us' such talk is 'weird' We must whisper the words of freedom until all know and throw down our chains at the same time, or else 'massa' might be able to focus in on the ones who break the chains and run."

It is not wisdom that prompts your words of fear. It is ignorance and cowardice. Many a slave throughout history remained a slave simply because they were afraid to take the opportunity to break the chains and run. Why? Because the consistent minimal rice bowl of slavery was more reasuring than the possibility of an occasional empty bowl in freedom. The comfortable house slave could look down on the 'weird' field hand that bolted for freedom at the first chance.

Write your own letter to the SS administration, get your own answer. Then know that if you don't teach and also drop out as I have, you are the coward I have labeled you.

Why, in the name of all that is holy, would you want to participate in the SS scam when it is voluntary? Why do you think it is a good idea to leave your money in the hands of people who have proven that they are idiots in financial matters? A rotten structure should rightfully be brought down, not shored up by timid souls who fear some temporary unsheltered discomfort.

How are your employer, your bank, your insurer, your mommy, your cousins, your college, or anyone else to ever learn the truth unless someone tells them, and when is it ever going to be a better time than now? They don't know what they don't know, and you're telling us that it is 'weird' to begin working to make the 'fringe' into the main stream by teaching the truth?

LOL, "the big picture" is a myth. "The big picture" told George, Thomas, Ben, John, Samuel, et al. to forget it and just go home and take care of business.

I am sorry, but in my opinion you disgrace your American heritage of freedom, in mind and in spirit.

"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth will cause you to shrug your shoulders and argue because it scares you." Pity, eh?

David P. Graf June 25, 2007 at 8:34 am

I went to the SSA's website and found the following statement: "Persons working in employment covered by Social Security are subject to the FICA payroll tax. Like all taxes, this has never been voluntary. From the first days of the program to the present, anyone working on a job covered by Social Security has been obligated to pay their payroll taxes." From this, it would appear that there is no option, but to pay the tax. If so, then what is the value of not having a SSN?

The webpage can be found at: http://www.ssa.gov/history/InternetMyths.html

Matt C. June 25, 2007 at 8:53 am

Mr. Graf-
There are institutions, mostly governmental entities, that have had the option to "opt" out of social security. I believe the majority are in Texas, but I may be mistaken. Waaaay back when, they were given the option whether to participate or not. I believe in their opportunity to opt out they had to set up a defined benefit plan with similar options as SS.

Chris June 25, 2007 at 9:25 am

Vidyohs –

I call your attention to 26 U.S.C. 3101(a), which says ". . . there is hereby imposed on the income of every individual a tax equal to the following percentage of the wages received by him with respect to employment . . . 6.2 percent". Subsection (b) lists the current medicare tax of 1.45%.

I would be interested to see this letter you got from the SSA. Care to post it anywhere?

lowcountryjoe June 25, 2007 at 11:51 am

Yes, Vidyohs, please run the letter through a scanner [taking care to blot out you personal information, of course] and find a website that will host the image of this letter.

At the very least, reveal the name of the SSA employee who authored it, the intials of the person who typed it, the particualr SSA address in which it came from, and the date of the letter.

colson June 25, 2007 at 12:55 pm

I wouldn't doubt vidyoh that the SSA told him/her that. Writing the SSA will not deliver a good answer because they are not in charge of creating laws or administering taxation. Those acts were largely put into place by Congress and the taxation collected by the IRS. I would liken their institutional viewpoint as more of a secondary beneficiary whose funds come from the government, not directly from the taxpayer.

The SSA doesn't take money, it just pays it out. It lends a bit of "plausible ignorance" to their organization.

It reminds me of those marketing companies that offer you free stuff on the Internet – all you have to do is get 10 other people to join and complete 1-10 promotions and then you get your "free" item. Except with government, you don't get a choice of promotions and you can't get anyone else to sign up because they have erected a system that forces everyone to buy their promotion. In my example, the marketing company is much like hte SSA – they don't have to do any real work, just dole out the "free" items.

Randy June 25, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Vidyohs may be correct that there is no legal requirement to obtain a social security number, but having lived off the grid myself for a couple of years back in the day, I wouldn't advise it for most. Standing on principle is cool, but most times its just easier to go with the flow.

Reach Upward June 25, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Many high schools now require a certain number of community service hours for graduation. Most students look at this as simply checking a box. This is a fine example of taking a good idea (everyone should learn to serve others) and making it bad by employing coercive power (since everyone should learn to serve others, we will force them to do so).

Senator Dodd's plan violates some of the basic rules of virtue. #1- Enforced good behavior does not constitute virtue. #2- The worst vice is a virtue taken to an extreme. (This comment runs more in the realm of morality and ethics than in the realm of economics.)

Jon June 25, 2007 at 2:37 pm

'… in Dodd’s words, “move forward in this new century in common cause and with muscular purpose.” '

No that doesn't sound like the examples that Hayek gives of the kinds of language used to justify the centralization and attempted direction of society by totalitarians… [/sarcasm]

Is it just me or does this kind of language scare the hell out of everyone else?

Randy June 25, 2007 at 3:04 pm

Reach Upwards,

My daughters have to do a few hours of community service for their school. My guess is that they will do it, and after doing it, decide that they have now met their lifetime requirement for community service.

vidyohs June 25, 2007 at 8:57 pm

David P. Graf
Matt C.
Chris
Lowcountryjoe
Colson
Randy
6 excellent reasons why this nation of sheep will never be anything but sheep.

Pretend libertarians, pretend patriots, pretend lovers of freedom. Given a the truth that the government designed a program to screw you (you were never expected to live long enough to collect what you paid) a program that they then sold to people long enough and hard enough to convince the yokels that it was actually for them and not the government, a program that they then used the scare power of the IRS and the CID to force employers into demanding a SSN from all new workers, a program that became part of the enculturation as "mandatory", yes faced with that truth, you refuse to make the personal simple effort of writing your own letter to the SSA and asking fro the exact law that makes it mandatory that you apply for(apply? what does that tell you?) a SSN and participate in the SS program.

You want me to do it for you. You will run from the truth because you can't handle the truth.

Yes, Randy, it is inconvenient and sometimes one just has to pass things by because stupid people have been too lazy to do their own thinking, I know cause I was one of them. Now that I know the truth I take the inconvenience.

Mr. Graf.
"Persons working in employment covered by Social Security are subject to the FICA payroll tax." Sir, have you once thought to ask the question, "am I working in employment covered by Social Security and subject to the FICA tax? And, if so, please someone show me how that happened?"

Did you ask that simple question.

You assume that you must pay FICA taxes because you were told you had too, by your daddy, and your employers……and what did they really know? Go to a CPA and ask him to show you the exact law that requires you to have a SSN and participate….they can't do it, I know I never found one that could. that is why I wound up writing the SSA and asking the question.

Oh well, I know my words won't change a thing, not a bloody thing. The sheeple will go on milling around in a herd being picked off by the wolves, and those not on the edge will wonder why any sheep would worry and not feel safe.

Here I will end this with one more little tidbit to scare the cr.p out of you pretend freedom lovers:
. “But, indeed, no private person has a right to complain, by suit in court, on the ground of a breach of the Constitution. The Constitution it is true, is a compact, but he is not a party to it.” Padelford, Fay & Co., vs Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah 14 Ga. 438, 520.

Well now, my pretties, what does that say to you? What real truth do you see in that?

In summation, no I will not scan anything in. I wrote my letter, got my answer. I have copies of letters that Congress critters have received when they have asked the same question and got the same answer. You make the effort to learn and stop asking for freedom or the road map to be dropped in your lap.

If you don't know what you don't know and can't read competently enough to understand that you need to ask some questions about what is being said, then pay the FICA, keep the SSN.

Chris June 25, 2007 at 9:09 pm

vidyohs –

I'm almost embarrassed to be responding to you. I pointed out the section of the US code that requires us to pay social security and medicare taxes. It has nothing to do with what my "daddy" told me — it's just the law.

I generally agree that Social Security is a bad deal for me (and a good deal for the majority of those currently receiving it, most of whom have received far more than what they put in, including a reasonable interest rate). Right now, most of the "surplus" from social security is being used to offset the federal deficit. The program is a fraud. But, it's a legal fraud. A letter from the public relations department at the social security administration carries no legal weight. A statute does.

lowcountryjoe June 25, 2007 at 11:25 pm

Oh, I get it now, Rev. Vidyohs has an exemption because he preaches at the Church of Nutbags…that explains it.

Or should I just say "baa" and hope that the wolves of misinformation aren't cunning enough to lead me astray from my law enforcing shepherds that I disdain but simultaneuosly fear.

David_Z June 26, 2007 at 10:14 am

I've read alot of what Vidyos says around the internet – and it seems that several people have won in court against the IRS on similar defenses (e.g., there is no law that requires you to pay).

If you look closely at what the USC says, and then his question: "You assume that you must pay FICA taxes because you were told you had too (sic)…" and if you actually dig into the matter around the IRS, SSA, USC etc., you'll find a self-referential web of circular reasoning. Nothing is defined well – or it's defined by itself – it's a joke.

That said, once you're in the system there's no way to "opt out," and given that most of us were enrolled by our parents at birth, we're pretty much taking the poop-end of the buttram stick. It takes a great deal of money, time, and effort to fight the IRS in tax court, they often don't allow certain defenses (including asking them for proof), and you'll need a sympathetic jury to get over it.

Randy June 26, 2007 at 10:41 am

Vidyohs,

Truly, I admire your kind of zeal, but I don't think that makes the rest of us sheep. I don't think it is necessary to spend my life fighting social security. First because it is no great burden, and second because I fully expect that it will fail all on its own. What cannot happen will not happen, and what cannot happen is that the people will continue to pay ever higher payroll taxes for an ever declining level of benefits. At some point in the not too distant future, people will just say no – effectively fixing social security at a sustainable level, and probably transitioning it to a primarily needs based program.

vidyohs June 26, 2007 at 2:58 pm

March 18, 1998,
Mr. ……Vidyohs,

Dear ….vidyohs,
this is in response to your letter to the Commissioner concerning Social Security numbers for your childre.

The Social Security Act does not require a person to have a Social Security Number (SSN) to live and work in the United States, nor does it require an SSN simply for the purpose of having one. However, if someone works without an SSN, we cannot properly credit the earnings for the work performed.

Sincerely,
Charles H. Mullen
Associate Commissioner
Office of Public Inquires

No law. No law is no law whether information comes from the Commissioner or his subordinate handling the office of Public Affairs.

Randy,
I always considered 15% of the value of my production to be a considerable percentage. I am happy for you that you are so comfortable that it is insignificant. God Bless
you.

They write the regulations and laws using terms, not words, and then leave it up to you to figure it out.

For instance: "persons liable for the income tax must fill out and submit a form 1040."

Does that mean you? Well, you might consider the terms "persons liable". Are you a person and then are you liable? You need to know those things before you go any farther. "persons working in employment covered by Social Security must……etc" If you don't have an SSN then you can't be working in employment covered by Social Security, you get an SSN and volunteer into that employment.

Oh well, got to go practice capitalism, BTW I noticed none of you were willing to touch the case quote I gave you in my last post. Was the education to much to handle, to scary?

lowcountryjoe June 26, 2007 at 4:32 pm

You, Sir, are a legend. So much so that I am very surprised that someone of your celebrity has decided to grace us with your presence.

Thanks Neil!

lowcountryjoe June 26, 2007 at 4:41 pm

Oh, I believe that the date of your signed letter from the SSA is incorrect; you may want to double check it as someone might question your credibility.

Or, as they say in my part of the country, "baa, baa"!

kingnothing June 26, 2007 at 8:17 pm

Vidyohs,

Nowhere in your posts do you actually state that you don't pay the FICA tax and that you get away with that. Is there a particular reason for this glaring omission?

Simply not having a SSN doesn't excite me much.

vidyohs June 26, 2007 at 8:50 pm

kingnothing,

Oh, I am sorry but your're correct. Let me fix that.

I do not and have not paid any FICA taxes since 1983. From 1983 to 1989 it was because I used the law to reduce my taxable income to the point where no tax was required. From 1989 to present it is because I know it is a fraud.

There now that is the truth, but here is the question; since I am only print on a screen to you, how do you know whether it is the truth or not? So, we are right back where we started.

I am an independent businessman, a contractor, I have an SSN (applied for because of the coercive fraud exerted by the US Government and at an age that nullifies any legal liability for having done so…in other words as a minor.) but I pay no FICA taxes. My brother, 11 years younger, never applied for an SSN and is now in his mid fifties and has never paid a dime into the SS program. He operates as an independent contractor and always has, and the lack of an SSN has never prevented him from working nor more than it has myself.

I kick myself everyday for submitting applications for my children's SSNs at a time when the monies I paid them reduced my business income. They were minors and I did the applications, I have made them fully aware that that is an illegal contract between themselves and the government because it is a basic fact of common law that no one can contract for another, not father for son, etc. etc.

I could go on but what's the point? You guys know what you don't know and that's taht.

vidyohs June 26, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Of course the last word in my last post was a bad spelling of the word that.

I ask again, why isn't anyone willing to look at and comment on the case cite I sent?

“But, indeed, no private person has a right to complain, by suit in court, on the ground of a breach of the Constitution. The Constitution it is true, is a compact, but he is not a party to it.” Padelford, Fay & Co., vs Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah 14 Ga. 438, 520.

Com'on guys, what does that tell you about how the government views your relationship to the constitution? Hey it isn't difficult!
Rights? You think you have rights under the constitution? Read the case cite again.

How about you lowcountryjoe, you have me pegged? You afraid of what you don't know that you don't know? Yessssss!

Protections? You want protections? You want to see some more case cites that disspell that little notion?

You get privileges as a citizen, not rights. Rights come from God or Nature depending on how your belief system swings. Governments grant privileges and guaranteee nothing, because privilege can be rescinded as easily as granted (and frequently are).

We did it to ourselves, gents, we did it to ourselves…….well our ancestors did it to us and we haven't done anything to rectify the situation. Why? Because like you guys, Americans are bone dead stupid about the reality of politics and power. Oh they spout the wisdoms, and the cliches, but no one actually believes any of it deep down inside because they have been enculturated to accept, accept, and accept some more.

We nut cases actually do some research and dig in deep, thanks to everything being made available on-line our task became much easier and has accelerated, so we learn more and we learn more quickly. But, educating you wise ones is difficult because you know what you don't know.

Com'on, what did the case cite tell you?

Guts, anyone?

Chris June 27, 2007 at 11:32 am

Vidyohs –

The case you sent comes from the Georgia Supreme court and dates from before the civil war. And, the view you quote is dicta in that case — it carries no legal meaning. I'm not addressing it because it's meaningless.

Adam Malone June 27, 2007 at 11:44 am

Vidyohs-

The mention of cases where courts have upheld a defendants belief that income taxes are illegal is somewhat irrelevent in my mind because all of the cases where the defendant won occurred in state courts AND they were presided over by juries rather than actual experts in complex tax law.

I have done extensive research on income tax laws and their legality, while I do not in anyway agree with what your movement says/believes I do understand the arguments.

Regarding your vehement dislike/distaste for Social Security Numbers, it should be stated that merely having a Social Security Number does not obligate you to pay taxes in any way whatsoever. With that said, I understand that you believe that having a Social Security Number is an encroachment on your personal freedom. However, I believe that having a social security number makes is possible for me to protect myself from identity fraud. There are numerous people named Jeffrey Adam Malone in these United States. Without an SSN it is virtually impossible for me to differentiate myself from them. As such, I choose the SSN.

Also, you letter does not state that you are not liable Social Security Tax. Rather it states that the taxes you pay into SSI will not be credited to you; meaning that you are still supposed to pay but you are just giving up any right to those funds.

Please do not misunderstand. I am utterly and completely opposed to Social Security and the Income Tax system that we currently have in the USA.

vidyohs June 28, 2007 at 8:17 am

Chris,
I am well aware it predates the civil war, but then so does the constitution, eh? I think that they case cite reveals the prevailing thought process in the court systems and it exists to this day. I am very well aware that Fed judges have told defendants that "you mention the constitution once more in this court and I'll hold you in contempt."
Adam,
I also well aware of what the letter and law says about not being to apply money if no SSN is available, but the difference between myself and you is that you are thinking 'job' and I am thinking business owner or independent contractor.
I haven't had a job since 1983 and will never have one again, and the SS program is definitely one reason for that.

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