Stark Change

The Pete Stark Amendment

Who is Pete Stark?  He is a former Congressman from California, and represents all that is wrong with Social Security.  No serious reform of Social Security can ask Americans to pay for people like Pete Stark.

Pete Stark is rich by Congressional standards, and yet his benefits will stretch larger than almost anyone.  Given his service in Congress, he will collect the maximum payment allowed by Social Security. He is apt to live longer than most Americans. He married three times, giving the system three potential wives to collect survivor benefits from Social Security. The last wife produced 3 children all of whom have been eligible for Social Security almost since birth.  The last wife expects to collect 25 years of benefits extending through 2150.

Divorce Settlements Of Contributions:

Social Security should not subsidize divorce.  Today people can collect based on their former spouse's contributions.  It is time to make Social Security contributions part of a divorce settlement.   To learn more about divorce and Social Security.

Reform Benefits For Children :

About 4.4 million children receive approximately $2.5 billion each month because one or both of their parents are disabled, retired or deceased (read SSA's report on "Benefits For Children").  $30 billion dollars a year in benefits is a lot of money, particularly when the benefits are free.  The Pete Starks of the world do not pay a penny more for these benefits over their working lives.  Ending these benefits, only stops the payment of benefits that weren't paid for in the first place.

Benefits will not end entirely, but they can be reshaped to fill the actual need.  If these benefits are necessary for the support of the child, the need is one of welfare.  Social Security can't be welfare, and should not provide it.  In the case of Pete Stark, he chose to have children after the age of 65.  His benefits should not increase because of a choice that he made.   

Structural Limits Of Social Security And Welfare :

Social Security is structurally incapable to provide welfare because it has no visibility into need.  Social Security only sees what people made over their lifetime, but that is only a part of need in retirement.  The government has many programs able to provide needs-base support.  Social Security is completely incapable of filling that role.