President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox recently signed an agreement that -- if approved by Congress -- would allow millions of both legal and undocumented illegal Mexicans who have worked in the U.S. for at least 18 months to collect Social Security benefits. The U.S. currently has reciprocity agreements -- known as "totalization" treaties -- with several other nations, but the combined impact of those other agreements on U.S. taxpayers pales in comparison to the "giant sucking sound" that will occur if Congress allows this scheme to take effect.
Most Americans have come to realize that Social Security is broken and that unless reforms are undertaken, and soon, the system will eventually collapse under its own weight, thus leaving millions of retirees without benefits or forcing Congress to raise taxes significantly. President Bush seems to understand this fact -- having campaigned twice on the reform issue -- but apparently political expediency and friendly relations with our neighbors to the South are driving Bush to further burden the system.
Independent estimates put the total cost of this agreement to U.S. taxpayers at $1 billion annually. Proponents of totalization argue that it is only "fair" to allow those who have paid into Social Security -- even if they have done so fraudulently -- to draw checks from the program. After all, since the U.S. has 20 existing treaties that include 94,000 beneficiaries living abroad in the system, why should Mexico be treated any differently?
There is indeed validity to the contention that those who pay into the Social Security system should receive benefits. But, beneath the veneer of "social insurance" lurks nothing but a gigantic wealth transfer program under which benefits paid out have little relation to payroll taxes paid in. This could lead to massive amounts of payroll taxes being paid into Social Security by American workers, but being sent to Mexico.
There is a better solution for Mexican workers and U.S. taxpayers alike: change the law so that employers of non-resident aliens could allow their Mexican employees to keep at least a portion of the 6.2 percent that would otherwise be put aside for Social Security. Since a vast majority of Mexicans who come to the U.S. but do not become citizens would be considered "low-wage" employees, these workers would benefit from being allowed to keep more of their own money. As a result President Bush would be standing up for U.S. taxpayers in two ways: heading off a new Social Security entitlement, and paving the path for Social Security reforms that will let U.S. workers keep more of their wages too.
Send a letter to your Senator or COngressman herehttp://ga1.org/campaign/socsecurity_totalization