The protests started in 2011. At first, the unfocused youth waved banners reading “We want______ and we want it now!”. During 2012 a third political party formed but despite garnering 12% of the national vote it had little impact as the candidate was “none of the above”.
In 2013 it became very clear that Social Security was following the path of the U.S. Postal Service. The payroll tax was still at 4.2%, unemployment would not drop below 8.0% and the federal deficit was still increasing.
Congress and the President took the bold action of forming a committee to study the problem. The committee consisted of 6 republicans and 6 democrats but after 6 months they were, to the surprise of all, hopelessly deadlocked and wouldn’t release the results of the study. One of the analysts assigned to the committee was a member of the “None of the Above” party and she flooded social media with the recommendations that the payroll tax had to be raised to 15% and the retirement age should start at 80.
Society fractured, the seniors and soon to be seniors lobbied for no changes to their benefits with the slogan “We’ve got ours” while those under 50 were outraged that retirement was unlikely and deserted the established political parties, taking over and providing a purpose for the None of the Above party.
The elections of 2014 and 2016 were a disaster for the democrats and republicans. The None of the Above party, renamed the “I Want Mine” party, required written pledges from its candidates swearing not to raise the social security tax or the retirement age and making the fund solvent. Despite the seeming impossibility of accomplishing the pledge, the I want Mine party swept the elections.
The new president had a background in professional wrestling and reality TV, even running as Vince. As soon as President Vince was sworn in he offered his 3 point plan; increase the mortality rate, fund the program with television revenues and pack the Supreme Court with right minded people.
Social Security would be available to everyone until the 70th birthday after which, those that wanted benefits would be required to endure physical fitness tests every five years. Pass the test, benefits continue. Fail the test, become a contestant on one of reality game shows.
Revenues from the shows would be dedicated to funding social security and the congressional retirement plan.
A Department of Mortality was established to monitor the games. Each game had a 64 contestant bracket, the winner was granted social security for life. Any other survivors were allowed to re-enter a different game as a contestant. A non-winning survivor with 3 or more mortality points (one point per deceased opponent) won a 5 year grace period for social security payments.
On its face the plan seemed cruel and absurd but it did resolve the contradictory issues of the pledge signed by most of congress. (It didn’t hurt that congress had a separate retirement plan.) The same gridlock that created the mess had also resulted in 5 vacancies on the Supreme Court which eliminated the possibility of a constitutional challenge.
Despite many protests, the plan was passed with the only modification being the addition of on-site and internet gambling.
Within a couple of months the games were all in the top ten of the television ratings. The “Crutch Bash” and “Luge Jump” were popular but the “Wheel Chair Joust” and “Feed The Predators” were top rated.
By the midterm elections of 2018, social security claims had declined by 50%, 5 of President Vince’s supporters had joined the Supreme Court, obesity was in a major decline, physical fitness was the most popular activity and most of the fast food restaurants had gone vegan.
President Vince had a constitutional amendment eliminating presidential term limits. He served as president for 23 years until he met his demise during a Wheel Chair Joust.