Social Security

Screwed by Seniors

The people expected to pay for Social Security and Medicare can't afford it.

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Remember Occupy Wall Street, when thousands across the country took to the streets, sleeping in tents to protest the ultra-rich 1 percent? The occupiers' frustration was real, but their ire was misdirected. They should have launched an Occupy the AARP movement instead.

Government policies that transfer cash from the relatively young and poor to the relatively old and wealthy are the real scandal. In 1970, Social and Medicare accounted for 20 percent of federal spending. They have since grown to 40 percent; by 2030, they will be more than half. And these numbers understate the level of federal spending for the elderly. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, some 28 percent of spending on Medicaid, a program designed to offer health care to families in poverty, goes to older Americans.

But these days, unlike in the era before Social Security and Medicare were created, most seniors are doing just fine, with various general indices of well-being all pointing to higher standards of living for the elderly. When Social Security was born in 1935, the average life expectancy was 65. Today, it's 78.8. In 1959, the U.S. Census Bureau found more than 30 percent of Americans 65 and older living below the poverty line. In 2013, the percentage had dropped to 9.5. According to a report by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, the average net worth of Americans over the age of 65 increased by almost 80 percent between 1988 and 2008. Today's seniors are healthier, better educated, and richer than their predecessors.

Of course some seniors remain poor. But as the University of Chicago economist Bruce Meyer wrote in 2011, "Even over the past 10 years, those 65 and older with the lowest income are now living in bigger houses that are much more likely to be air conditioned and have appliances like a dishwasher and clothes dryer." And seniors aren't just doing well compared to previous generations; they're doing well relative to their younger counterparts.

In short, a group that's better off than ever before is receiving ever more generous benefits subsidized by younger, poorer Americans.

Looking at both consumption and income data to assess changes in living standards, Meyer and the Notre Dame economist James Sullivan find that Americans 65 and older have much lower poverty rates than most other demographic groups, and that these rates have fallen significantly faster for them than for other groups, too.

According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2009 "the typical household headed by an adult 65 or older had $170,494 in net worth, compared with just $3,662 for the typical household headed by an adult younger than 35." This is to be expected, since people generally accumulate assets and pay off debts as they grow older. But the authors were surprised to find that the gap has actually been widening. In 1984, when the Census Bureau began tracking these numbers, "the age-based wealth gap was 10:1. By 2009, it had ballooned to 47:1."

Sadly, this trend is not just a product of older Americans getting wealthier. Younger Americans are getting poorer. According to Pew, the net worth of households headed by people younger than 35 shrunk by 68 percent even as the net worth of households headed by people 65 and older grew by 42 percent. Meanwhile, a 2011 paper by Jeffrey Thompson of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Timothy Smeeding of the University of Wisconsin–Madison shows that households whose head was under 34 were hit much harder during the recession than households headed by people in other age groups. Thompson and Smeeding also found that younger Americans recovered much more slowly from the damage.

And the situation will get worse as spending on Medicare and Social Security explodes. Without reforms today, vast tax increases will be needed to pay for the unfunded promises made to a steadily growing cohort of seniors.

Fortunately, numerous workable solutions are available to lawmakers. Way back in 2003, Cato Institute scholars Chris Edwards and Tad DeHaven listed several sensible reforms, including adding a system of personal savings accounts to Social Security, liberalizing Medical Savings Accounts, and making the latter permanent "to reduce health care costs by increasing competition between providers and making consumers more responsive to tradeoffs." These options are supposed to encourage families to save more, but also to use their money more responsibly and in a manner more consistent with their long-term needs. And since taxpayers remain in control of their cash, they can also pass it along if they don't use it all before they die—giving the next generation a head start when it comes to building assets.

In the September 2012 issue of reason, Reason TV's Nick Gillespie and I offered a more comprehensive option when we argued against having separate programs for the elderly and the poor. Because the important distinction is the inability to pay, not the age of the beneficiary, we suggested that "the most obvious, effective, and just approach is to end Social Security and Medicare and replace them with a true safety net that would help poor Americans regardless of age. To the extent that seniors qualify for income supplements, food stamps, and other transfer programs, they should be added to those rolls. They can also be added to Medicaid rolls (currently about 9 million seniors are so-called double-dippers, receiving benefits from both Medicaid and Medicare)."

Unfortunately, there is almost no appetite in Congress for even mild reforms of Social Security and Medicare. Most lawmakers won't touch entitlement programs, because older Americans vote. Driven by a desire to get re-elected, politicians refuse to reform the program at the core of our country's future fiscal woes.

That behavior makes sense even if it's deplorable. Harder to understand is why younger Americans don't object when wealthy seniors take funds from those who can least afford it.

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  1. Cannabis could fix many of the diseases of old age (cancer?) and fix medicare spending. No wonder it is illegal.

  2. No, the real scandal is not that government programs transfer wealth from the you g to the old. The REAL scandal is that those seniors essentially paid into savings bonds when young, giving the government a loan that the government now refuses to repay.

    Instead of keeping a fund to pay off that bond debt — AS WAS REQUIRED OF THEM — the government has instead chosen to change the law to make it okay to loot that fund down to bedrock, then specify that their debt should be paid out of general funds, rather than the special one set aside.

    This is WHY it looks like senior citizens are dragging government finances down today. The government passed a law requiring that people invest in bonds to take care of themselves in old age, stole the money out of the account and is now whining about having to pay back a loan from The People that the government mandated by law.

    1. The scandal is that you have no idea what you’re talking about, yet you probably vote.

      They did not “essentially pay into savings bonds” via Social Security contributions. It is, and always has been, a pay-as-you-go system, not a savings plan. Any money they paid in went directly to beneficiaries. There was never a requirement to keep a fund of any kind.

      That’s part of the problem with the system — nothing is, or ever has been, saved or invested with Social Security. There is no deferred consumption of any kind.

      Seniors today got screwed a little bit with the expectation that they’d be able to screw the next generation even more, all the while voting for more government entitlements.

      They can all go pound sand.

      1. How many seniors voted for Social Security? That they were nonetheless forced to pay into at gunpoint, where such funds taken from them were then no longer available to invest for their own retirement?

        I agree SS is a government scam and a clusterfuck, but trying to frame it as “greedy seniors robbing the young” is pretty dishonest.

        1. How many seniors voted for Social Security?

          Or voted for wars, the great society programs, and the many other things that takes money to fund, without voting to increase taxes to pay for those things? For years the Federal Government used SS taxes to help offset the deficits. Now there isn’t any money to cover everything that these seniors, and others, voted to do. Too many people want the government to give them stuff, but don’t want to pay for it.

          1. On the one hand, I do regret that Seniors have been forced to pay into a fund, and that today they are facing uncertainty on how that money will be paid out. For many, they feel like they were being “responsible” all along the way- paying their “fair share” to grandma as they worked- and now just want the young to return the favor.

            On the other hand, fuck them. They are also part of the problem. I have talked to so many Baby Boomers who have the attitude I mention above, and it infuriates me. For 40 years, news and pundits have repeatedly announced and fretted about the problems with SS, and none of these people did anything about it. They could have moved us to better systems years ago, but they didn’t. We have known that the Boomers would break the bank as they moved into retirement, and they did NOTHING to fix it. So they need to own up to their responsibility in that cluster fuck as well.

            I’m reaching my 40s, which means I’ve gone through roughly half my productive years. I’ll be pissed when they are finally forced to turn SS into a means-tested entitlement, because all this time I’ve been putting 15% of my income into a program that will, in the end, pay nothing to me due to my fiscal responsibility. If I could have put even a third of that towards a retirement fund that would actually pay me back, it would be working for me today and over the coming years. Instead, in 10 or 15 years, they’ll change the laws and it will be too late.

            1. For 40 years, news and pundits have repeatedly announced and fretted about the problems with SS, and none of these people did anything about it.

              What were we supposed to do? If the money that was taken from me at gunpoint had been put into an index fund, I’d be a multimillionaire by now and be able to buy my saintly old mother a mansion of her own. I was not given that option and neither were any of the other boomers. We didn’t vote on it and we weren’t given any viable candidates for office that would do anything about it, either. So, what would you have done? Shot up a bunch of senators?

              Sheesh. Blame the government that runs the pyramid scheme, not the poor schmucks who were forced to haul the bricks for our Pharoahs.

              1. Bullshit. Bull. Shit.

                In the 90s, SS reforms were put before congress constantly. AARP got behind efforts to kill that as quickly as possible. The best they could manage was kicking the can down the road until after Boomers were on the dole- ensuring solvency until they had it for their own.

                In the 2000s, Bush the Younger tried making SS reform a key second-term plank. His efforts were shot down in congress and pilloried far and wide by pundits and media.

                Had the Boomers spent as much time protesting SS as they spent protesting war, this country would be 10 times better off. How many letters did you write to your Congresscritters telling them to make SS reform the top priority for the year? How many protests demanding ACTION NOW? How many letters to the editor in your newspaper? How much money did you donate to think tanks and lobbies for private accounts?

                This “Blame the Government” stuff is weak sauce. Even if you gave good answers to the questions above, the sad fact is that the majority of your Brothers and Sisters in Grey were doing the opposite.

                1. I love that one of AARP’s arguments against reforming Medicare and SS is showing a poll indicating that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of the programs, so why change?

                  A check every month and low-cost health insurance? Well, duh.

                2. Yes, not one Boomer had the opportunity to vote for Barry Goldwater, who was roundly pilloried for wanting to reform S.S. But unless you’ve been voting for Libertarian candidates since 1972, then the guys and gals you voted for are all responsible for the clusterfuck that S.S. is today.

                3. n the 90s, SS reforms were put before congress constantly…
                  In the 2000s, Bush the Younger tried making SS reform a key second-term plank. His efforts were shot down in congress…

                  This “Blame the Government” stuff is weak sauce.

                  And yet, there you are, blaming the government.

                  I was voting libertarian and politically active in freedom causes before you were your daddy’s boner.

                  1. I am not blaming the Government. I am blaming the generations who say “Not my fault” all while creating that government.

                    You are the one blaming the government, rather than the other assholes in your generation who happily sized up the teet they’d be succling from in their twilight years.

                    1. Overt|2.26.15 @ 10:47AM|#
                      …”I am blaming the generations”….

                      Yeah, well, when yo find a phone number for a”generation”, you can call up and shout at them.
                      Until then, you’re full of it.

                    2. I am not blaming the Government.

                      Congress. Bush. Right, not blaming the government.

                      What is it like on your planet?

                    3. “Happily sized up to the teat” THAT THEY PAID INTO THEIR WHOLE WORKING LIFE.
                      If this was designed as a pay-as-you-go system, then the “assholes” paid their dues to the ones, who came before, and are now entitled to what others benefited from.
                      It was, and still is, the young that go for the expansion of government wealth redistribution, the old folks, generally siding with more personal responsibility. Who put Oblama over the top – it wasn’t the old people.

                4. Well, as a retired 72-year-old, I haven’t written as many letters to congresscritters as I might have. But I refuse to join AARP or use its services, and at an early age I joined the Libertarian Party and local chapters where I’ve lived. I recognize the burden that younger generations have had forced upon them, and I apologize. You younger folks have a raw deal.

              2. For 40 years, news and pundits have repeatedly announced and fretted about the problems with SS, and none of these people did anything about it.

                The FICA tax rate increase from 11.7% to 15.3%. That is not nothing.

                The cap was revised to automatically increase with inflation. That is not nothing.

                Bottom line: Even though Social Security sucks and politicians are irresponsible liars, the quoted assertion is untrue.

                1. The article presents the “problem” with Social Security as its being a program which transfers wealth from the relatively poorer young people to the relatively more wealthy older people. The proposed solutions you cite: take more money from the young people.

                  That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of it works!

        2. “I agree SS is a government scam and a clusterfuck, but trying to frame it as ‘greedy seniors robbing the young’ is pretty dishonest.”

          The dishonest ones are the politicians who sold it, just like they sold Obamacare. Nevertheless, voters elected those dishonest politicians. Who’s responsible for that?

      2. The scandal is that you have no idea what you’re talking about, yet you probably vote.

        That is a pretty smug comment for someone who apparently is unaware the system ran a surplus for almost its entire existence. I have been paying about 15% into the scheme since I was 16. You’ll excuse me if I chose not to pound sand when it comes time to collect the trivial return on the money I had no interest in giving up in the first place.

        1. So you feel entitled to the next generation’s money because the last generation stole from you?

          Someone is going to have to pound sand because the whole scheme is unsustainable.

          1. So you feel entitled to the next generation’s money because the last generation stole from you?

            I was brought up by angry Irish Catholics; I don’t feel entitled to anything. I have an expectation that the promises will be honored in full tempered by the reality that they cannot be. Here is something I have been saying for decades that still applies: I would be willing to relinquish any claim whatsoever on everything I have had taken from me so far if I could keep opt out for the rest of my life and I am 50.

            1. You can opt out. IRS Form 4029. You’re welcome.

              1. You can opt out. IRS Form 4029. You’re welcome.

                This is a form to apply for Social Security exemption if you are a member of a “recognized religious sect opposed to accepting Social Security benefits”. Catholics need not apply and I spit the religious bit the minute I had the chance.

                1. ^^ Not Irish, but “recovering Catholic.*

                  I did some research into opting out of the system a while back. I can’t rediscover what I found, so the following should be “taken with a grain of salt.”

                  IIRC, you might have to renounce U.S. citizenship. You must also opt out of Medicare. Of course, anything that you have contributed will be unrecoverable. I think that you must also repay all benefits received. (You must do that if you apply to withdraw your application for benefits [SSA Form 521].) That’s a biggie. I have a Pacemaker. It and the cost to implant and maintain it cost many, many tens of thousands of dollars. That alone makes opting out prohibitive. I’ve also received benefits for ten years. And I’m not willing to leave the USA.

                  1. Can anyone verify or expand on this? Is there some other way to opt out?

                2. I do taxes for a living. I have several clients who are American citizens and Christians who have opted out.

      3. It’s complicated, so analogies. Gindjurra has it mostly right. You don’t pay as you go because you pay in over decades before you start receiving payouts. USG, meanwhile borrowed from the programs, replacing funds collected with IOUs, which have their own debt servicing requirements covered by taxes and more borrowing with more debt servicing requirements. Demographics and longevity demand adjustments. Government honesty would be helpful. Neither will happen until Ctrl-P comes unglued.

        Average lifetime benefits exceed average lifetime contributions, indicating some appreciation on the amounts paid in.

        http://www.urban.org/UploadedP…..fetime.pdf

        For anyone with the time, it’s not hard to calculate the rate of return. Then you can have a discussion about how responsible the government has been as a custodian of the amounts collected and held as future benefits. The discussion has been attempted and usually concludes that the free citizen ought to have the ability to opt out and manage his or her retirement earnings privately…but then our keepers would lose a rather sizable slush fund used for mostly nefarious purposes as pertains to Federal financial and budget regulations.

        1. Gindjurra has it mostly right. You don’t pay as you go because you pay in over decades before you start receiving payouts.

          Well, that’s completely wrong. All SocSec tax receipts are spent when they are collected. It is a pay as you go system, whether you realize it or not.

          You have no property right to any SocSec benefits. They can be taken away at any time. Also a feature of pay as you go systems.

          Its welfare, straight up. Its not a retirement plan.

          1. You have no property right to any SocSec benefits. They can be taken away at any time.

            This assertion is established by the US Supreme Court in Flemming v Nestor and Helvering v. Davis.

            The reality of Social Security is very much different from its propaganda, which is the basis for what most people think about the scheme.

            1. Yes it is.
              Just look at the name so many see but don’t decode: FICA – Federal Insurance Contribution Act.
              Is it any wonder the popular belief was that it was a retirement plan?

      4. “Social Security is funded through payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA)”

        “Tax deposits are collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and are formally entrusted to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund which make up the Social Security Trust Funds.”

        https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/401

        That is the foundation of the program. If that money is now unavailable in those trust funds, it is stolen from those who have paid in. Any further twisted logic to distort Social Security into a ‘welfare handout’ is nothing more than a Liberal brain fart…thank you.

  3. Gindjurra,

    Let me clarify a couple of things at least on the Social Security front:

    1.) The Supreme Court ruled in Helvering v. Davis (1937)that Social Security was NOT an insurance program and that “[t]he proceeds of both the employee and employer taxes are to be paid into the Treasury like any other internal revenue generally, and are not earmarked in any way.”

    2.) The Supreme Court furthered ruled in Fleming vs. Nestor (1960) that there is no right to Social Security and that Congress can change the laws at anytime for any reason as long as there is due process.

    1. But that’s not how it was sold.
      I guess you’re OK with how Oblama lied about Oblamocare, too?

    2. “Social Security is funded through payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA)”

      “Tax deposits are collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and are formally entrusted to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund which make up the Social Security Trust Funds.”

      https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/401

      The trust funds were implemented…the funds were stolen.

  4. Of course this gap is happening, are they taking into consideration that a lot of the jobs we held are gone and what is left pays half or less then they did even 10 – 15 yrs ago.
    I paid in for 50+ years and I even paid the employers share. Yes, because their share was figured in our cost of employment and that cost passed on back to us in the form of higher costs.
    What’s with the self retirement contribution limit. Why can’t we donate as much as we wanted, what about taxing our savings accounts. The government is insidious in how it takes away our ability to save for our own future.
    Also, when you figure our assets, take into account that even though we have a home it is not as liquid as we like to think and at our age liquid is preferred yet not really available. House rich, cash poor.

    1. The government is insidious in how it takes away our ability to save for our own future.

      And then sets young against old, poor against middle class, etc. to prevent people identifying the real culprit.

      1. Amen! Someone is paying attention!

  5. Most of seniors are doing fine? One half of all Americans over the age of 65 are classified as economically vulnerable, living within 200% of the poverty line. http://www.nfesh.org/wp-conten…..a-2012.pdf

    15% face the threat of hunger each day. http://www.nfesh.org/wp-conten…..a-2012.pdf

    There is no doubt that reform is needed in social security but the implication that “most seniors” are living the life of Riley could not be further from the truth.

    Eric Olsen Executive Director HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm. helpishere.org

    1. Wow, talk about misleading by manipulation of statistics. Start with “wealth does not equal income.”

      Or choose to comment at a site with more innumerate and economically illiterate people.

    2. 15% face the threat of hunger each day.

      I don’t wish to seem insensitive, but would you *kindly* reformulate this to be meaningful?

      1. 85% of seniors are robots who no longer suffer from the biological urge to consume food or die.

        1. that urge being replaced with the need to steal medication from the other 15%.

      2. Rich|2.26.15 @ 8:57AM|#
        “15% face the threat of hunger each day.
        I don’t wish to seem insensitive, but would you *kindly* reformulate this to be meaningful?”

        It means someone is fishing for money or sympathy.
        It is written and passed on by bullshitters.

        1. I’m pretty sure that at least 15% of seniors face the threat of hunger simply because they lack the appetite.

          One more reason to legalize weed.

    3. One half of all Americans over the age of 65 are classified as economically vulnerable, living within 200% of the poverty line

      There are rafts of studies out there demonstrating that these studies are almost always bullshit. Unfortunately I can not verify the critiques I mention below, because the studies you point to don’t reference the data they use to calculate poverty income. That said:

      1: This number is almost always based on “Earned Income” which does not include things like dividends, cap gains and whole life insurance payments- a major share of the older generations’ income.
      2: These numbers do not include Wealth data. If you take a look at numbers on wealth, you see that older people even in the lower income quintiles are more likely to be in the top wealth quintiles.
      3: The older are able to plan yearly income much better, meaning they can draw less in years they don’t need it.
      4: Supporting the above 3 points, studies that track movement through income quintiles show some of the highest variability among the 65+- that is, one year a person draws high income, and another year they draw lower, then higher and on and on again. This is reflecting not insecurity, but the fact that the wealthy don’t need a continuous income stream- they draw income off their wealth according to major life requirements.

    4. Why don’t you bring out some homeownership figures, seniors versus the young? Specifically, the percentage of each group that own their homes free and clear?

      My mother in law falls under your “economically vulnerable” stats, probably, with a SS income of only $18K a year. And she’ll confirm it. Except that your stats and her brain ignores the fact of that $300K home she owns in full in a luxury retirement community.

  6. Harder to understand is why younger Americans don’t object when wealthy seniors take funds from those who can least afford it.

    Perhaps they’re just waiting for the right moment to act.

    1. Old people move slower, so the wealth can be recaptured by the young.

      1. We need to set up roadblocks outside casino bus parking lots and shake them down once they leave.

        1. That doesn’t make any sense — by the time they leave they’ve already been shaken down by the casinos. We need to shake them down on the WAY IN to the casino.

          1. So shake them down on the way there.

          2. Playing the penny slots? Please. They’ll have plenty of money left when they leave at 830am.

  7. That pic on the main blog – is that Mobama or Nipsey Russel in The Wiz?

    1. Hmm. Good question. Definitely a man’s *hand* ….

  8. A couple years ago my aunt’s dog ate a sock or something and need an operation. She used her entire year’s worth of Social Security to pay for it.

    1. Like, seriously, wtf Fido?

  9. OWS was full-on retard. No way were they going to do anything logical like this.

    REINSTATE GLASS-STEAGALL! END THE FED!

    Wall Street is their scapegoat.

  10. Being forced by law into

    government policies that transfer cash from the relatively young and poor to the relatively old and wealthy

    is the real scandal.

    I would gladly have opted out of SS since I was 16. But as I near retirement I will take every penny I can from Uncle Sambo.

    1. And this attitude is exactly why this system will never be fixed. It takes a hero to say “Fuck, it’s going to hurt me personally, but I’m going to be part of the solution.” Instead, they throw their hands up in the air and secretly hope that when it gets fixed it is the generation behind them that sucks the pain.

      1. you first asshole.

  11. I really despise this.

    I guess it’s a way to insure that leftism always has that needed ‘other’ to demonize, even after they kill everyone else? Eventually, no matter your socialist purity, no matter your status as new soviet man, you will age and consume more of The State’s resources than you’re worth. And then you can be the hated ‘other’ taking from the young proletariat who labor to keep you in finery while they starve.

    Gods above.

    Here is a truth–you are ‘young’ for about thirty years. 18 of those as children, 26 as the new imposed quasi-child. Thus you are the type of ‘young’ that matters for 4-12 years.

    You are ‘old’ for far longer. Today, one’s retirement years can easily surpass ones entire youth.

    More importantly though is that youth is subsidized by ‘old’ people. From birth until 26 the young live on the money of the old(to varying degrees after 18). The one takes care of the other–in both directions. Sort of. Because it’s not the ‘young’ whose taxes go to take care of the elderly–it’s the taxes of the slightly less old.

    Because you don’t pay as much in taxes when you’re 18-30 as you do later in life.

    There is no real ‘us versus them’ to be had here.

    Pol Pot is dead, Reason, let’s see that he remains so.

    1. That is the biggest bag of horse shit I have ever seen.

      How are the young paid for by the old?

      Parents pay for their children, school taxes are collected on property (and old people usually have a partial exemption).

      1. Apparently, private costs and public costs are the same thing.

      2. Well, as you noted, parents pay for their kids. Parents are quite often within the definition of ‘old’ set forth. They are past that age where worshippers of ‘the young’ consider people young.

        Tax dollars, paid for primarily by people past thirty, pay for schools.

        Older people pay more in taxes, more in SS withholding than do those between 18-30.

        The 40 year old workers are paying for more of the 80 year old retirees SS than the 18-20 year old worker–because they pay more and there are more of them.

        Costs are costs, whether public or private. It is only by ignoring the private costs of raising children or not comprehending that property taxes affect all of us that one can entertain the idiocy that the older do not care for the younger.

        As stated, this is ersatz class warfare that someone is trying to package in a way that libertarians will swallow.

        1. Well, so long as you define “young” and “old” to suit your story, your story works.
          To those of us with less flexible definitions, it remains bullshit.
          And conflating private and tax costs makes a mockery of the argument besides.

  12. When Social Security was born in 1935, the average life expectancy was 65. Today, it’s 78.8.

    The age one can begin collecting has also changed, as have the benefits and contributions. The next big change will be means testing. More to the point it is a simple exercise to show the money taken with my Social Security number attached to it from me and my employer’s will never be repaid regardless of how long I live. I recognize it is not a fully-funded plan, that is the problem. The fact that any investment opportunity with the strategy of the Social Security Administration gets destroyed should tell people something about the program.

    Younger Americans are getting poorer?the net worth of households headed by people younger than 35 shrunk by 68 percent even as the net worth of households headed by people 65 and older grew by 42 percent.

    That younger people are spending all of their income on a standard of living that didn’t exist 100 years ago and sensible people eschewed a generation ago is not my problem. Perhaps the choice to spend their entire take-home comes from an overarching message from the first day at government-financed pre-K on that the state will care for them from cradle to grave. Might this adversely impact their decision to save? It is a great move right up until the time the program runs out of money.

    This article is class warfare crap.

    1. The same basic argument could be employed against the old. You didn’t save for retirement, expecting to be taken care of by a government program? Too fucking bad.

      1. Too fucking bad.

        I agree absolutely. The stack I would have, had I not had the 15-odd percent of my wages confiscated throughout my life, is too depressing to even think about.

  13. I have been pointing these things out for years to my elders. My grandmother who is 93 and has been on social security for almost 30 years and she knows she got a great deal. She always knew and lamented the fact that the money she contributed was being spent on other programs and not being saved for the future.

    Her generation and the subsequent boomer generation where able to enjoy social security in the future while Uncle Sam used the money they paid in while working for present wants these generations enjoyed. This system benefited them during their working years and now in retirement.

    While the young could savage them for the mess they created, wouldn’t current generations do the same thing having been brought up in this environment of having your cake and eating it to. In the end, we are just seeing human nature at work and when we have a system with perverse incentives that is sacrosanct and as deadly to politicians as the electrified third rail, we end up where we are today. I don’t think the Gen Xers (my generation) or the Millenials would be any different and perhaps even worse. The way my generation in general is raising their kids, I have no doubt that we and our children will be the weakest and most dependent generations this nation has ever seen.

    But, as Margret Thatcher so eloquently pointed out, eventually you run out of other peoples money to spend.

    1. Boomers have just begun to get on the Social Security gravy train. Only a small percentage have recovered the amount they paid in FICA taxes. I’m square in the middle of the boomer generation, and it’s four years before I qualify for full benefits.

  14. The real driver of this issue is simple demographics. When Social Security was passed, there were 50-60 working people for every retiree, and most retirees died around five years after they stopped working.

    Today there are less than ten working people per retiree, headed to three by 2030. And retirees often live 20-30 years after they stop working and paying taxes. And as stated, there is not and never has been a “trust fund”, it’s entirely a pay-as-you-go system. So yes, SS is going to consume the entire federal budget in probably ten years or less.

    We’re on the same track as Europe or Japan in that regard, just a bit behind them, mainly due to mass immigration.

  15. Those of us who favor non-means-tested safety net programs do so because goobers at the Cato Institute, etc., have a much easier time getting people to favor killing programs that only go to those dirty poors.

    I agree that payers in the SS system are being asked to hand over too much of their income. Pity the aforementioned goobers have also been successfully working to keep wages as low as possible by every free-trade, union-busting means necessary.

    1. Tony|2.26.15 @ 10:20AM|#
      “Those of us who favor non-means-tested safety net programs do so because goobers at the Cato Institute, etc., have a much easier time getting people to favor killing programs that only go to those dirty poors.”

      So goobers like you are lefty ignoramuses? Do I have that right, goober?

      1. Welp, you can have a non-means-tested program, or you can have a safety-net program, but the same program can’t be both.

        1. He only has one brain cell to work with so you can’t expect too much cognitive awareness from him.

          1. lol Tony is just a masochist. Of all the schmuck trolls here, Tony is treated with the most inspired and immediate contempt. Why come here just to be treated like shit?

  16. “And seniors aren’t just doing well compared to previous generations; they’re doing well relative to their younger counterparts.”

    And a large portion of the younger group are still living with their senior parents who have contributed to their education, rearing their grandchildren, and contributing to their households.

    1. Great. Everything you cite is a private decision. No one mandates that you have children, pay their college costs (I’ll admit that public education is a bit different), or help them with their household. The situation is very, very different with Social Security and Medicare.

  17. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is wha? I do……

    http://www.wixjob.com

    1. Looks like you won’t pass the means test. I’d save some of that money for retirement.

  18. Interest Rate Manipulation hurts Social Security because when Interest Rates are over 6 % the Trust Fund makes money !
    Why do they ALWAYS seem to drop the Interest Rate FOR WARS ? But they RISE in Peace Time .. not that Americans have know Peace very long what maybe 25 years since the Country was Founded ?
    GOP does NOT want to pay back the $TILLIONS that Reagan STOLE from Social Security to fund Unprecedented Military Expansion to prepare for the Wars the USA have been in for the last 12 years or more ! The 1982 Zionist Plan is being followed to the letter breaking up the Middle East and the USA is PAYING FOR IT ! NOT OUR WARS NOT OUR DEBT !!!!!

    1. Johnson began “stealing” from Social Security to fund the Vietnam War. It was a Democrat president and a Democrat-controlled Congress that brought about the unified budget.

      http://www.ssa.gov/history/BudgetTreatment.html

      Not that it really makes much difference, because money is fungible.

  19. When I entered the full-time workforce, FICA was 11.7% of the first $15,300 of income. It capped at $1790.

    By 1988, it was 15.02% on the first $45,000; $6,759.

    Now it’s 15.3% on the first $118,500; $18,130.

    Over that period, the CPI went up by a factor of 5. FICA taxes went up by a factor of 10. There’s no reason to think the future of Social Security taxes will be any better than its past.

    Social security is “a compact between generations”. The boomers paid up on their end of the compact and, now that they are geezers, they expect you youngsters to make good on your end of the compact. I know that sounds ridiculous, but that is exactly how FDR’s program was sold, and that is exactly why the Social Security scheme will continue until its inevitable, sorry end.

  20. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail

    ———————-WWW.NETJOB80.COM

  21. Wow won’t a font of bad facts:

    “Interest Rate Manipulation hurts Social Security because when Interest Rates are over 6 % the Trust Fund makes money !”

    There is No actual Social Security Trust Fund. Read more. The “Trust Fund” is merely a Treasury account and any excess money going in is loaned back to the government and spent.

    “Why do they ALWAYS seem to drop the Interest Rate FOR WARS ?”
    Here’s a graph on US interest rates for the last 60 years. There was no giant war in 1981, ergo your statement is wrong. http://goo.gl/l9TgGX

    “GOP does NOT want to pay back the $TILLIONS that Reagan STOLE from Social Security to fund ”

    What’s a Tillion? And was Reagan buried with this vast store of wealth or did he build a giant pyramid with it?

    “The 1982 Zionist Plan is being followed to the letter”

    Well then you should be able to easily show us this Plan and point to the entries that say:
    1982 – Continue Iran-Iraq War
    1986 – Foment Yemen Civil War
    1989 – Foment Kurdish insurgency
    1990 – Order Iraq to invade Kuwait
    1991 – Order the Allies to push Iraq out of Kuwait

    Etc.

    Because that’s all spelled out in the plan to the letter.

  22. I’m 29. I fully expect the federal government to be bankrupt by the time I’m an old man (in my 50’s to 60’s). It’s inevitable.

    It’s OK though. The beast needs to die.
    The future will belong to Texas and the sun-belt states.

    1. yuck. Im in NYc i love the city but obviously the govt sucks more here

  23. my neighbor’s step-aunt makes $85 every hour on the laptop . She has been without work for five months but last month her payment was $17746 just working on the laptop for a few hours. check out the post right here……..
    ????? http://www.netpay20.com

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  25. About 30 years ago I was riding a commuter bus to work when an old drunk got on.

    He loudly proclaimed the he was a senior riding free and was headed to a bar to get drunk with his social security money.

    As we got off the bus at the station, he shouted out that he wanted all of us to work hard and make more money so he could could get more social security.

  26. Reading the posts from, obviously, young people, who really seem to hate the elderly, I have to believe that they will be following Ezekiel Emanuel and believing that medical care should be denied past age 75.
    Sure would like to know how they feel as that age approaches.

  27. Last time I looked, “seniors” unless they had been elected to office, didn’t enact laws.

  28. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is wha? I do……

    http://www.wixjob.com

  29. Screwed by Seniors?? Come on now, seniors had nothing to do with creating all the various social programs that are bankrupting Federal, State, and Local governments. The reality is that we have been, and continue to be screwed by politicians who recognize the fact that elections can be won much more easily by telling groups of voters they are entitled to some benefit by government paid for by working taxpayers. Add to that the fact that the Federal government is spending much more per person than the average taxpayer pays in taxes relative to their family size each year, and nearly everyone can feel they are getting something for nothing, and the $18 trillion, and growing, debt is of no importance.

    1. Yes but their complacency has allowed the politicians to make it happen.

  30. Not to mention all the seniors who are earning thirty dollars an hour for the same work that their younger counterparts are earning minimum wage for. So many are grandfathered into high paying jobs without degrees of any sort whilst the younger people must go into student debt to pay for four years of schooling that doesn’t apply to the job anyway. SCREWED BY SENIORS who are also advocating for more restrictions on freedoms that they enjoyed as youth. This country is such a joke.

  31. This article would have been better, had they pointed out what a lousy deal Medicare is for seniors – even seniors who are now eligible for and using Medicare!

    David Goldhill, CEO of the Game Show Network, author of “How American Health Care Killed My Father” and life long Democrat, writes: “So even with the government paying almost all of their bills, today’s seniors pay a higher share of their income for health care than seniors did before Medicare.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..02229.html

    This suggests that abolishing Medicare would save seniors money on health care. That’s how much government has screwed up the health care marketplace. Everyone but government bureaucrats and politicians are getting screwed.

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