By BOB URBAN

rurban@tnonline.com

My monthly Social Security check will be arriving next week. I'm going to pay special attention to it this month. Here's why, according to George Sirois, a reader who passed on the following information.

He writes:

Pay attention to your next Social Security income, whether you get a check or an electronic deposit.

Have you noticed, your Social Security check is now referred to as a "Federal Benefit Payment"?

I am forwarding it because it touches a nerve in me, and I hope it will in you.

The government is now referring to our Social Security checks as a "Federal Benefit Payment."

This isn't a benefit - its earned income!

Not only did we all contribute to Social Security but our employers did too.

It totaled 15 percent of our income before taxes.

If you averaged $30,000 per year over your working life, that's close to $180,000 invested in Social Security.

If you calculate the future value of your monthly investment in social security ($375/month, including both your and your employer's contributions) at a meager 1 percent interest rate compounded monthly, after 40 years of working you'd have more than $1.3 million dollars saved! This is your personal investment.

Upon retirement, if you took out only 3 percent per year, you'd receive $39,318 per year, or $3,277 per month.

That's almost three times more than today's average Social Security benefit of $1,230 per month, according to the Social Security Administration (Google it - it's a fact).

And your retirement fund would last more than 33 years (until you're 98 if you retire at age 65)!

I can only imagine how much better most average-income people could live in retirement if our government had just invested our money in low-risk interest-earning accounts.

Instead, the folks in Washington pulled off a bigger Ponzi scheme than Bernie Madoff ever did.

They took our money and used it elsewhere. They "forgot" that it was OUR money they were taking.

They didn't have a referendum to ask us if we wanted to lend the money to them.

And they didn't pay interest on the debt they assumed.

And recently, they've told us that the money won't support us for very much longer.

But is it our fault they misused our investments?

And now, to add insult to injury, they're calling it a "benefit," as if we never worked to earn every penny of it.

Just because they "borrowed" the money, doesn't mean that our investments were a charity!

Let's take a stand.

We have earned our right to Social Security and Medicare.

Demand that our legislators bring some sense into our government.

Find a way to keep Social Security and Medicare going, for the sake of that 92 percent of our population who need it.

Then call it what it is:

Our Earned Retirement Income.

More thoughts: If you haven't grown up by the time you reach 50, you don't have to.

Scary thought: Do you realize that in 40 years there are going to be thousands of old ladies (mostly grandmothers) walking around with faded tattoos?

Be yourself ... everyone else is taken.

Freshman Johnny "Football" Manziel wins the Heisman Trophy. The question is, what does the Texas A&M quarterback do for an encore? Afterall, in all the years of the Heisman Trophy, only one player, Ohio State's Archie Griffin, won it twice. Manziel has three more seasons in which to repeat.

According to the AARP Bulletin, here's something you might not believe. A Congressional Research Service study has found that nearly 2,400 tax fileres reporting annual income of $1 million or more tapped the government for nearly $21 million in unemployment benefits in 2009. Not surprisingly, a bill has been introduced that would do away with that practice.

Here's some good news, also from AARP. Coffee may lower the risk of endometrial and colon cancers. One study found that those who drank coffee lived longer. Pour me another cup.