As a result, I see not giving someone benefits differently than taking money from someone and failing to pay them back
Really? You didn't understand that those benefits aren't some gift or token of heart-felt gratitude but rather part of their salary agreement and wages? And that you're very much so taking from them and not paying them back when you accept their work and fail to uphold your end of the salary agreement?
If that were true, you'd have a point. But this is not a case of taking money out of their salary and then owing them their money back. Social Security and Medicare cost more than the amount the recipients pay into it (both individually on average *and* collectively). You aren't getting "your money back", or even the amount that is owed to you. The benefits come from the money workers are paying into those systems today
, not from the money the recipients paid into it. That money went to pay for the benefits for people who were retired when they were working. While it doesn't have all the elements of a ponzi scheme, it has many of them (as do most pension plans as well btw).
The idea that you're paying into those programs to provide for your own future is really false. What we're really doing is forcing the people working today to pay for the retirement needs of those retired today. That's it. Covering that over with a layer of BS frosting doesn't change the reality of how those programs work. And while we can certainly say that's a good thing to do. And those retired today can certainly argue that they gave up some of their earnings to pay for the retired back then and deserve to have the workers of today do the same for them, it's *not* the same as a legally defined loan (which is what you're doing when you buy t-bills).
If I lend you money, and we write up a loan document where you promise to pay me back the money with X interest, you are legally bound to pay me back. You actually owe me the money I gave you. But these programs somehow assume that because I give money to someone when they needed it, you are now required to give money to me when I need it. And even more bizarrely that my need is more important than your ability to pay.
It's not the same as a direct "you borrowed from me, and owe me my money back" relationship.
Well, if that's the difference between conservatives and liberals, thank God I'm liberal.
Someone who disguises social spending programs as some sort of payment for a debt? Someone who is confused about a lot of things? Yes, I'm sure confused people thank god for their blissful confusion all the time. Doesn't mean that the rest of us should put much weight in their ideas though.