Now, I recognize that all tolled this is only $40,000, plus whatever my former wife is eligible for, in a federal budget of trillions. But it strikes me that I am not the only one on this gravy train. Oh, I know, I earned it and paid for it over four decades — but not really. There isn’t really a Jim Huffman account in an Al Gore lock box at Social Security. That FICA withholding on my pay stubs all these years is really just another tax collected to help pay for those who retired before me.
Why didn’t anybody ask me whether my children and I need all of this back pay, and what we might need going forward? Because it is an entitlement. No one asked because the law doesn’t take account of need. It should. Until Congress mandates that Social Security and other federal entitlements be based at least to some extent on need, there is no hope for solving our ever-worsening fiscal crisis.
But don’t get me wrong. I won’t send any of the money back until Warren Buffett voluntarily pays the kind of taxes he says he should be paying — including back taxes.
Jim Huffman is the dean emeritus of Lewis & Clark Law School, the co-founder of Northwest Free Press and a member of the Hoover Institution’s De Nault Task Force on Property Rights, Freedom and Prosperity.