Without a Social Security number, and without jumping through egregious bureaucratic paperwork hurdles, it is impossible to 1) get a credit card; 2) purchase health insurance; 3) pay taxes; 4) receive retirement benefits; and 5) secure a car loan. Originally developed to track Americans in the Social Security program, these numbers are the default identifiers for citizens and immigrants in an increasingly disturbing number of arenas; some cell phone companies use your SSN as your account number. But as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a proud member of the Birther conspiracy, said on the campaign trail last year, he was considering having his seventh child not receive a social security number because it’s used by the government Big Brother-style. The move would certainly help his son avoid discrimination should he ever choose to work at a Virginia State college or university, because without a Social Security number, he probably won’t be able to get a job there.

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