Social Psych

Location: Santa Ana, California, United States

Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled workers, while serving as a Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Social Psychology and politics and an admitted diet fanatic. She has performed therapeutic services for more than 20 years and has studied the effects of cultural forces and employment on the individual. The author of two interactive workbooks, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual and Diet With An Attitude: A Weight Loss Workbook, she also publishes a monthly ezine, The Worker's Edge and various weight loss mini-courses. She can be reached at,, or

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Social Security Stays Stymied

The debate over Social Security continues with polls showing approval of the President’s proposals falling to a new low of 25%. Does that indicate that 75% of the population believes there is a better route to pursue?

Congressional suggestions range from pushing back the age of eligibility, to reducing benefits, to tying the level of benefits to outside income. Conflicting views arise from conflicting perspectives on what the system is really supposed to be for.

Is it insurance? Workers pay their “premium” throughout their working years with a guarantee that they will receive a pay back at a certain age.

Is it social support? Workers contribute, knowing that they will receive benefits only if they are in absolute need.

Is it taxation? Workers pay the government to help subsidize health and welfare benefits for those who have nowhere else to turn.

Is it mandatory savings? Workers pay a percentage of their paychecks to a government agency knowing that they are entitled to receive their savings back, with interest, at a certain age – no less, but no more, than they “saved” through the years.

Once we have decided what it is, the changes needed become entirely logical. The problem lies in defining its purpose. Controversy arises because all segments of our society have their own axe to grind. Younger workers don’t want to spend months of their yearly toil to support non-working grandparents. Seniors want current benefits untouched and yearly raises. Middle-aged workers want the old military/union sequence of 30 years and out with a guaranteed lifetime income.

The reluctance to compromise leads to the occasional temporary band aid on the biggest leaks, good enough until the dam bursts.

Luckily, we have a few years to put off the inevitable. Let’s keep talking and not doing, it’s the politically expedient way.