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While Basking In His Millions, Glenn Beck Wants You To Go Without Social Security

Reported by Ellen - February 21, 2010 -

Multi-millionaire Glenn Beck has a great idea for all you Baby Boomers who have not yet retired: Give up your pensions, Social Security and Medicare, show some mettle and put your trust in America and the Constitution, instead. While Beck extolled how much living without a social safety net would benefit us, he conveniently failed to point out how much it would really benefit him. With video.

Beck’s lengthy opening monologue on Friday (2/19/10) was his usual attack on progressives with the spotlight of the day focusing on retirement. First, he railed against pensions. Then he started to lay out his argument that we’d all be better off without Social Security and Medicare, too, because the country can’t afford it and it’s better for everyone if we toughen up, have the elderly cared for by the young and trust our fellow citizens to help out. Of course, while Beck was extolling the virtues of everyone else’s sacrifices, he never mentioned a word about making any sacrifices of his own.

“Progressives, they started a hundred years ago and steered us into this course and those progressive mistakes are about to catch up with us… It’s time to do the right thing so our children – they’re not going to have necessarily a party, but at least they can have some cake,” Beck said, Apparently, he thinks that living without any kind of social safety net is a piece of cake.

Beck continued, “We have to be willing to make sacrifices of our own.” But, oddly, it seemed that all the sacrifices he was advocating were to be made by other people - unless you count his later "sacrifice" of forgoing Social Security. “We can (survive) without big government and fancy houses and everything else,” he said. Well, the last I looked, he lived in one fancy house, himself, in one of the wealthiest communities in the country: an 8,720 square foot abode with 6 bedrooms, 5 full bathrooms, 3 half-baths, a pool and a spa/hottub and a water view on 2.8 acres in New Canaan, CT. The house is reportedly on the market (or was). Did Beck downsize or was he planning to downsize to something modest? Funny, he didn’t say.

Color me cranky, but I don’t like being lectured to about the sacrifices I need to make by a multi-millionaire living in the lap of luxury.

Even before he spelled out his ideas to get rid of Social Security, Beck set the foundation by suggesting that our lives would be rosier without it. First, we’d all be better people if the burden of our elderly relatives came out of our pocketbooks (instead of, presumably, Beck’s).

“Take your Mom and Dad. Our Moms and Dads, they cared for us. They changed our diapers, they fed us, they raised us. But now, so many of us wouldn’t even consider taking them in, that they’re old and frail. I understand that sometimes you can’t do it because it’s too difficult, but I mean, sure they smell weird… but they’re our parents.

“I went over to a friend’s house the other day. He’s taking care of his Mom. I had a hard time because I saw the pain in his eyes as he watches his Mom get older… But I also saw something else in the eyes of his mother. I saw gratitude in his Mom’s eyes. No government program can ever replace that.”

Beck didn’t explain how families with two-working parents, just barely scraping by, the way so many so-called middle class families are now, would be able to afford, financially or otherwise, to provide the care, feeding and medical costs he would soon propose they absorb. No matter, that would be good for us, too, because it would toughen us up.

“No program can ever give you that. Sure, they can prop us up for a while, they can pay for some of our things, make life maybe a little bit easier. But easier isn’t better. The Greatest American Generation, they’re not called great because it was easy. Our grandparents didn’t eat lard sandwiches and ration food and win World War II because it was easy, fun, free or fair… Things in America must be done… The one that takes the hard work and the sacrifice, that one is the one worth doing.”

What Beck never told his audience is that while the rest of us ennoble ourselves with sacrifice, top earners like Beck would be taking home more money thanks to not having to fork over the dough to the feds. Apparently, Beck thinks that's how it should be: he deserves the money and we don't. In a later segment, Beck said, “Look, America is a society based on merit, not entitlement.” By that logic, a very rigid estate tax ought to be instituted so that everyone, even the heirs of the very wealthy can earn their own way. Heck, that might even help solve some of the financial woes facing our country. Beck didn’t seem to think of that. Instead, he seemed to be suggesting that he, Lord Beck, had the merit to live like royalty while the rest of us peons who have not measured up ought to struggle until we die. And like it.

Lastly, Beck scolded that accepting Social Security is downright unpatriotic.

“We’re talking about economic solutions today… It’s almost sacrilegious to dare even bring up Social Security or Medicare. It’s as if those programs just fell from the sky right out of Heaven, into the laps of our Founding Fathers… Our Founders would have rejected such concepts… as if they had been spat up from the bowels of Hell. Far from a birthright or any kind of right, these programs were instituted… just a few years ago in the 20th Century… (FDR) knew that once Americans expected those payments at a certain age, oh, we’d never let go of them."

Then, to avoid upsetting “Grandma and Grandpa,” Beck made it clear he was only urging younger people to give up their benefits. Beck assured us that he did not want to live on Social Security. He forgot to point out that with his earnings of $23 million a year, it was unlikely he’d ever need to.

"When we talk about cutting Social Security, I don’t want to scare Grandma and Grandpa and even my Dad and Mom. I don’t want to think anybody’s going to take away their Social Security. I’m talking about people like me who are coming into the system. I’ve still got years and I can still work. …I don’t want to live on Social Security. I don’t want the government to be responsible. Have you seen the way they care for people? When you give up responsibility, you give up rights. Benjamin Franklin said, ‘Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ And we’re not gonna get either of them.”

Sure. While he’ll be feeling free and safe, the rest of us will be struggling with a new mountain of bills.

Beck went on to tell an anecdote about a drought in Texas in 1887 during which Congress granted $10,000 worth of free seeds for farmers. President Cleveland vetoed it because, according to Beck, Cleveland said it would “destroy the partitions between the proper subjects of federal and local care and regulation,” that it was unconstitutional and because he felt, “The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune.”

“Yes, because we’re Americans!” Beck exclaimed. Beck said, “(Cleveland) loved the Constitution and, more importantly, he trusted the American people.” The result, Beck said, was that the bill was vetoed but private donations totaled more than $100,000.

“What would life be like in America if we suddenly did the same thing? If we started trusting in the Constitution and trusting in the American people. I’m guessing things might get a lot, a lot better.”

For him, maybe. For most us, not so much.