Walter E. WilliamsWalter E. Williams, (1936-2020) Columnist, Professor of Economics at George Mason University

Walter E. Williams Quote

“All we have to do now is to inform the public that the payment of social security taxes is voluntary and watch the mass exodus.”

Walter E. WilliamsWalter E. Williams
~ Walter E. Williams

January 24, 1996. 

Ratings and Comments

Dougmcr8, Springfield, VA

I would debate Walter Williams. And he would take the Liberal Wacko position. He would wax the floor with my a**. I love him.

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RobertSRQ    4/3/08

Its a stupid remark for a professor of economics, but true. He totally misses the point - SS is not there for those who want it.

Joe, North Caldwell, NJ

It is indeed a stupid remark, because (1) payment is not voluntary, and (2) each payer is funding current retirees, not saving for his/her own retirement. SS was designed that way from the very beginning because setting it up as a trust fund would have been prohibitively expensive.

Logan, Memphis, TN

He's absolutely correct, what are you all talking about? The problem is not whether or not it is voluntary (because it is), but because the majority of people work for corporations who are more willing to fire an employee for going against their corporate system than to make allowances for individual liberty. Companies are set up to pay social security, although they don't have to. I've personally seen it done, so I know of the validity of this statement. There are forms to fill and processes be which this can be done, problem is no one wants to do it. If the Social Security Administration were to send out a mass mail to every America letting them know the truth of the matter, the majority of Americans would take the matter into their own hands... regretfully, the American people are apathetic to knowing their own power, and feel powerless against the decisions of their elected representatives. This is part of what we call the "paradox of democracy".

Dave Wilbur, St. Louis

EVERYONE is wrong! Social Security payments are IMAGINARY when all that we have in banks is numbers AND the Fed said their system of plunder "works only with credit. Credit exists ONLY in your imagination. The reason that we make no progress towards freedom, the Fed's system is just too simple for many to comprehend, Taxation is an illusion that regulates the ratio of production to consumption. In 1920, Keynes wrote: "If governments should refrain from regulation, the worthlessness of the money becomes apparent and the fraud upon the public can be concealed no longer."-- The Economic Consequences of the Peace. The Fed did not fib and Keyhes did not kid!

J Carlton, Calgary

Hopefully the good professor was suggesting a "what if" scenario. I think he is saying that if it were one would participate. I know I wouldn't.

E Archer, NYC

And if Americans realized that income taxes were voluntary, that would be the end of that scam, too. As well, people using gold and silver for earnings and purchasing are not even within the jurisdiction of using negotiable instruments (commercial paper) and therefore not subject to any employment taxation. It is by the stretching of the commerce clause that all this nonsense has found a foothold. The Fed is not federal, the IRS is not an authorized government agency (why is it incorporated in the territory of Puerto Rico?), and Social Security is just another tax for keeping the middle class in their place. Congress spends many times more than it collects in taxes every year -- when you discover how they do it, then you'll understand that no taxes are necessary at all.

Ken, Allyn, WA

SS tax, Medicare tax, and income tax are all voluntary. If you don't want to pay them, don't work. What if Atlas finally shrugged?

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

History and current facts show that people given the opportunity do not save as much as experts say that they should. Companies have created opt out 401K's rather than opt in because people seem not to be able to make the decision. When you attack these programs do you pause to look back at how, when and why they were created. Polls show that when the politicians attack and try to end social security they lose. Why I ask why do all industrialized nations have such systems? I respectfully suggest it is because it is a GOOD THING not a bad thing.

warren, olathe

Damn straight. Even at 58 I probably would opt out if I could. The money I would save plus the fact I will continue to work would make me better off. At least it would be my money and not money ripped off of some poor smuck that needed it for his own use.

warren, olathe

Waffler. No politician has ever attacked social security in my lifetime. They have only been falsely accused of it by the rabid Democrat party. The social security system is the biggest rip off our government has ever perpetrated on us. Any politician that tries to improve it to make it actually work for the person paying in is falsely accused of trying to get rid of it as when Bush tried to fix it. The only fix would to totally privatize it for those that want to opt out of the federal version. The mass exodus from the federal to the private would have the system fixed in 25 years because it would cease to exist.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Warren what makes you think people today our any smarter than people in the 1910's or 1920's. These people did not save and in the 1930's when working people were out of work and their old mom's and dad's were starving because they did not save in the earlier years, Roosevelt started SS. Some if not many European countries had such systems much earlier. SS started as "welfare" for these old non savers. I respectfully suggest as studies have shown that just as people do not save today in their 401Ks they also would not save or invest their social security taxes. This is a sad state of affairs but do you want to live in a world of beggars and starving people.

E Archer, NYC

Waffler, in 1913, when the Fed was chartered, the expansion of the money supply without backing by gold or silver resulting in the 'roaring 20's' when money was flowing. Then in the 30's, the Fed told banks that they must have more 'money' on deposit than was previously required to 'loan' money they did not have. This resulted in a contraction of the money supply, and the calling of loans before their term. Runs on banks soon followed, and since banks do not actually have the funds supposedly deposited, bank after bank collapsed and whatever savings people did have disappeared. This was the cause of the Great Depression -- and was intentionally caused by the Fed for this very reason. The result was FDR's declaration of gold as illegal and required all Americans to turn in essentially all their money -- in return they got interest-bearing promissory notes in exchange. As with all similar bank boom and busts, a boom soon followed since the Fed was creating more money hand over fist. The IRS and Social Security are both intended to redistribute the wealth of the middle class -- and if you think someone with 2 million dollars today is one of the 'wealthy' you do not know what class you are actually in. The real rich and powerful not only have more money than you can imagine but in fact own the money in your and my pockets -- everyone's 'money.' You parrot what we hear on CNN everyday -- turn that crap off and read.

warren, olathe

What the hell are you talking about Waffler? I said nothing about the intelligence of any one then or now in my comment. I said the system should be privatized for those that wanted it that way. The stupid could stay in the federal version but I guarantee you sooner or later the laggers would figure it out that the money going to Washington would be better off invested. Your world of beggars and starving people is what the left is working to bring about you fool. What the hell do you think welfare recipients are? Government handouts make cripples out of those it pretends to help. If the government cut off welfare right now the result would be that 90% of those percipients would, within one year, admit that it was the best thing that could have happened to them. We are a compassionate people and it is time that we show some compassion to the poor and let them improve their position in life instead of holding them under the governments thumb just so they will vote for the Dems.

warren, olathe

Walter E. Williams has the best ability to speak to the economic issues of any one I have ever heard. He does it with out ever making it sound complicated. If you listen to the liberal economists you will hear a long line of gibberish that you would find complicated and difficult. I assure you it is intentional. Those people value politics over everything and the creation of poverty for political purposes is at the center of the politics of the left.

Mary - MI
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Mary - MI    4/25/13

Love Walter Williams - Not only his wit, but also his great wisdom!

jim k, Austin, Tx

I would vote for Walter Williams in a heartbeat. Now here's a black man who would be great in the Oval Office, not like that half white fascist who is there now. Mr. Williams would get my vote no matter who he ran against.

Rick, Tampa

“The Social Security Act does not require a person to have a SSN to live and work in the United States, nor does it require a SSN simply for the purpose of having one.” - From a Social Security form letter that Social Security will send you if you inquire about the need for a Social Security number.


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