Social Security

A Truly Populist Social Security Reform

Politicians need to face the facts about Social Security.

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The U.S. government's debt—that is, our and our children's debt as taxpayers—is growing. This growth is largely driven by rising Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid obligations. These are the programs Congress could focus on and work to reform. Only the Democrats are really talking about reform, though they want "reform" to be in the direction of making these programs even more expansive.

There's some hope, however, as politicians will have no choice but to face the facts on Social Security. Come 2035, this program's trust funds will run dry and, by law, benefits will automatically be cut by 20 percent. When that happens, Congress will have no option but to reform Social Security in a more fiscally prudent manner. I have some thoughts on how to do this.

But before I explain, let's make sure we're clear about one thing: The program is indeed growing insolvent. Since 2010, Social Security has run annual cash-flow deficits. This means that the payroll tax revenues collected from you and me aren't enough to fully pay the retirement benefits for current retirees. For now, the program makes up this gap by using assets in its trust fund.

It looks even worse in the long run. The Social Security Board of Trustees reports that over the next 75 years, the program will be underfunded by $13.9 trillion. To make Social Security solvent over this period would require an immediate and permanent payroll tax increase (today) of 2.78 percent of overall wages—which raises the average Social Security payroll tax bite by 25 percent. Alternatively, Congress could cut benefits by 17 percent. A mix of both tax increases and benefit cuts is obviously an option. No meaningful reform will be painless, and waiting only makes fixing the problem harder.

The bottom line is that this talk of expanding the program, rather than shrinking it, is crazy talk.

When Social Security was created in 1935, it was conceived to provide benefits for retired workers. Given the lower life expectancy back then, retired workers were never expected to live off of these benefits for very long. Over time, however, Congress expanded the program's eligibility, extending it to spouses, disabled persons, and also children. While some aspects of the program are means-tested, everyone—rich and poor—receives core Social Security benefits.

This policy is silly for many reasons. First, in reference to a universal basic income (UBI), George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan explains that "Forcing people to help others who can't help themselves—like kids from poor families or the severely disabled—is at least defensible. Forcing people to help everyone is not." He adds, "If you were running a private charity, it would never even occur to you to 'help everyone,' because it's such a frivolous use of scarce charitable resources. Instead, you'd target spending to do the most good."

Caplan's criticism of UBI applies to Social Security, which is also universal, though this wasn't always the case. Back when Social Security was created—and with very few exceptions—ordinary Americans who stopped working became poor. Back then, Social Security benefits made more sense because they were nearly all paid to Americans in need.

Yet today, thanks to economic growth, capital markets, and massive increases in ordinary Americans' standard of living, seniors now are overrepresented in the top income quintile. Younger Americans are overrepresented in the bottom income quintile and are the same people now obliged to transfer massive amounts of their earnings to seniors. Why? In theory, it's for the promise that these younger workers will also get benefits when they turn 65-ish, even though their future benefits will pale in comparison to the payroll taxes these workers will have paid in over their lifetimes.

We must rethink the system entirely, root and branch. The current universal age-based system requires relatively high taxes and spreads the benefits thinly across everyone. Considering that much of the support for Social Security comes from people who incorrectly assume it's mostly helping poor Americans—economists have shown that Social Security is a regressive system that mostly benefits higher-income Americans—we need reform that truly targets people who can't help themselves. Such a reformed program would provide better and larger benefits to fewer recipients and, in turn, require less revenue and lower taxes.

To be sure, such a reform would be sweeping. Yet, so are the problems faced by the program.

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

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  1. It all sounds so sensible, but you know nothing’s going to be done. Like the guy falling off the roof of the skyscraper and saying as he passes the sixteenth floor, “So far, so good.”

    1. The politicians (Dems and GOPs both) seem to think all it takes is adding floors to the building faster than the guy can fall.

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    3. Well they’re talking about it. And by talking about it, I mean planning to make things worse.

      https://larson.house.gov/social-security-2100

      1. What, no free unicorns for seasoned citizens? Doesn’t go far enough.

        Seriously, that’s some batshit insanity. Guaranteed 25% *over* the poverty line and an immediate benefit bump? Many middle-class workers wouldn’t bother “risking” money in a retirement account with those kinds of handouts guaranteed to be waiting for them.

        Just another pandering wealth transfer from my kids to the Depends crowd.

    4. One reason might be that the media Propagandists explain Social Security as a “Trust Fund” as if the cash just sits in the bank from year to year…like a real Trust.

      Social Security and Medicare are year-to-year tax funded federal expenditures. They are mostly on cruise control spending but if Congress passed a law to cut SS and Medicare spending, the effects would happen very quickly as it likely takes almost 3 Quarters of federal tax revenue to cover a year of SS and Medicare payouts.

    5. The article is lying: “Since 2010, Social Security has run annual cash-flow deficits. This means that the payroll tax revenues collected from you and me aren’t enough to fully pay the retirement benefits for current retirees. For now, the program makes up this gap by using assets in its trust fund.” No true!
      In 2010, the SS Trust fund held 2.609 trillion and by 2018, it held 2.895 trillion, an increase nearly 240 billion.
      The source: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4a3.html

      The SS website shows net increases every year since 2010, and the first draw on the 2.9 trillion surplus (“A 2018 annual surplus of $3.1 billion increased the asset reserves of the combined OASDI trust funds, bringing the total reserves to $2.89 trillion at the end of the year. ssa.gov ) will begin this year.

      I stopped reading when I saw this lie. The exhaustion of the surplus in 2035 can be resolved with a simple 3-word law: The cap on payroll taxes is hereby repealed.

      Anything else is nonsense and propaganda to benefit the rich, who don’t want to pay taxes on their entire income.

      1. I agree with your comments. Funny, when you name yourself “Reason” one would suspect that, but this and other articles seem like GOP rhetoric. My thoughts:
        1. I read many times that the simple fix is to take the lid off the income one is taxed to contribute to Social Security. I agree. Now its about $120K or so but why not go far higher as folks making $500K to Millions yearly, may work for large corporations that pay no taxes,
        2. SS says it prorates incomes such as my generation made when $10K to $20K was the average to todays standards. From what I see they are still paying to a 1970’s standard. That should be between $30K to $40K today.
        3. The fact that the top 1% have more money than 98% (or thereabouts) of the rest of us and that many of the largest corps pay no taxes tells me that they are living on the fruits of our labor, so they in turn should pay their share to support the society they have only shown greed to date. The average young family is struggling to make ends meet and for many of us Boomers, after helping our kids our goals to retire, come largely down to the quality of our social security payout.
        4. Investing in SS should be like putting money in the bank while earning interest to offset cost of living increases, yet the GOP calls this socialism. That’s B.S. in its purest form. I believe the long term saying that those that lead us should be in the same boat we are, tells me that SS would be a lot healthier now if that were the case. But the clowns that sign an oath to represent our needs, enjoy a far better medical and retirement program despite failing to honor their oath. Many are multi-millionaires likely having sold out to special interests.

        I believe in “we the people” and a healthier spread so we do not see CEO’s making around 300% more than the average employee whose income has been stagnant to modest despite more of the real work falling on them. I made HP hundreds of millions annually for 24 years and management took the primary bonuses. I made a decent low six figure income eventually but I am confident more people like myself would and could make a difference if success was shared.

        1. The data mentioned did not include projected outlays which are expected to increase.
          Overall, I would like to see more self reliance, and rewards for it, but realize that’s not going far in today’s environment.
          Regardless, we do agree on some core principles:
          * No cap on earnings that are taxed (may even allow a decrease in the future)
          * There must be some sort of “means” testing. If I’m retiring from the workforce with a “large” amount if assets, I don’t need SS benefits. However, we should also allow provisions for more tax-free retirement saving and investing to offset the ~15% tax paid over a lifetime (so I can build my own assets).
          * There must be a fair transition plan. People paying into the “old” plan more than ‘x’ years receive the same benefits in a graduated scale. Current retirees would see no change but future retirees might see a new pay scale based on age.

    6. Politics is reactive not proactive. One day after the very predictable financial crisis they will react. First by pointing fingers at the other party.

  2. When you uncover a Ponzi scheme, you don’t “reform” it — you shut it down, send the perpetrators to jail, and pay back the victims as much as you can from the remaining assets.

    1. Damn it I was gonna say shut it down! I don’t know how many words that was but all she needed to say was “Does it violate the NAP?”

    2. Rethink a Ponzi scheme? Root and Branch? Only if you are Ponzi. Nuke it from space. Burn it, root and branch.

      1. Amen, it now does exactly the opposite of what was promised. It only guarantees people will retire later, less free, less financially secured and all at an even greater expense to each successive generation.

    3. The perps are long dead, and the victims think they have a promise from the government that was written in stone and have votes. It is not what happens to a private Ponzi scheme.

      1. The victims have a legitimate claim. The fed has been stealing money from their paychecks all of their working lives.

        1. They have a legitimate claim, the problem is that there my be nothing left to claim against.

      2. Absolutely. FDR knew is was not financially sound from the day he signed it into law, same goes for LBJ. And the mostly the victims were not even born when they knowingly set off this financial time bomb.

    4. The longest Ponzi scheme was by Madoff, and it lasted 20 years. Social Security is 84 years old and has a surplus of 2.9 trillion as of today.
      Can you name a Ponzi scheme that has lasted 84 years and has a nearly 3 trillion surplus to draw on until it is exausted in 2035, when a simple 8 word law can guarantee its survival: “The cap on payroll taxes is hereby repealed.”

      1. Now that’s funny.

  3. I think the point of the UBI being universal is that you no longer need a huge army of bureaucrats deciding who and who is not eligible for it.

    1. Of course the bureaucrats want UBI on top of the current entitlements instead of in place of them.

      1. UBI is a pipe dream, a horrible idea and a proven failure.
        We need to focus on reforming and transitioning the entitlement dependant the US has created in a fair and equitable manner.
        Or just go with Socialist Dems and hope for the best.

  4. Well we can’t have that.

  5. For now, the program makes up this gap by using assets in its trust fund.

    But is there a real trust fund? I thought the whole reason we need to worry about balancing payments by current workers against payments to current retirees was that the “trust fund” is imaginary.

    1. Yes, there is a trust fund.
      To prevent graft and corruption, and in the inevitable excess of caution, it was decreed that the excess funds be safely invested in US government bonds. There is a special bond type, issued once a year, only for the social security trust fund, in the amount of that year’s excess, and filed inside a mountain somewhere in West Virginia. As the funds run out, bonds are cashed. So there is your trust fund.

      1. In other words, there is no trust fund. Just an IOU from one arm of the government to the other.

        1. What else would you have them do? In bonds, it’s growing some amount. If they just banked it, it wouldn’t grow at all.

          Would you really want the SSA to invest it in the market? Have someone from the SSA show up in shareholder meetings?

          That the SSA invests in bonds rather then the market is by design. That the investment earns less then it could is regrettable, but preferable to the SSA owning shares of companies and corporations.

          1. The problem is that the idea of it “growing” is meaningless when there’s no independence. Those dollars represent a liability on the government’s balance sheet. Whether they are kept in a single account or moved to another account is moot – they’re still a liability entry. The “interest” on those bonds is also a fiction. Yes, the nominal value goes up but the amount comes from the same government owing the debt. That future debt gets paid by either raising taxes or more borrowing. Either way, it drives inflation. Over the long haul, the amount of interest will be exactly offset by the incremental inflation it causes.

            By the way, my objection is not with what they do with the money. As you say, we definitely do NOT want them investing in the market. My objection is to calling what they do a “trust fund”. That word implies a lot of things that are completely absent from the SSA/gov’t bond scenario.

  6. Yes, Comrade de Rugy! “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, I always say.

    Wait. What’s “Reason”. I thought I was posting to the comment section of “The Daily Worker”. It’s so hard to tell these days.

    Nevermind.

  7. “When Social Security was created in 1935, it was conceived to provide benefits for retired workers.”

    Actually, it was conceived to ‘nudge’ the old farts out of jobs so the younger men could get a job. Unemployment was growing, and as men were in good shape doing manual labor, old farts could still do a job, and liked having an income. So the government needed to buy off older workers to get the young guys working.
    It seems a large number of unemployed workers has made governments nervous for a long time.

    Then, like all good government programs, it grew and grew.

  8. Reason keeps saying to “means test” Social Security, but that option has problems of its own. For one thing, it creates a big disincentive to saving. If you save money, you will lose your SS benefits.

    1. Yeah, you would want to make the means test high enough (perhaps even a phasing out) so that it’s not going to incentive/disincentive one way or another. If my private investments are bringing in over a million a year in income, I’m not going to care about SS benefits.

    2. I would agree with comment. We see it happen recently were wealthy families were emancipating children to be able get college aid.

      A bigger problem I have with mean testing is creating a second class that some politicians use as a whipping boy. They will whine about the cost of taking care of the poor or try to demonize the recipients. We will be hearing how we are paying for those that did not work hard enough before retirement. They then create tests like work requirements and drug testing. So my question to Ms. De Rugy is can we create a means test that treats people in a fair and humane manner? If you can convince me you can, you have my vote for means testing.

      1. Yes!!!

        “They then create tests like work requirements and drug testing.”

        Since the tax-paying public resents welfare, “means testing” SS recipients will turn SS into welfare.

        Many taxpayers of all political stripes will demand testing SS recipients for the use of illegal drugs… Maybe also keep an eye on them and their spending? Not too many pets, no hiring hookers, no frequenting any kinds of gambling houses…

        Conservative taxpayers will demand keeping an eye on the SS moochers to make sure they’re not hiring illegal sub-humans, or even courteously opening any doors or pressing any elevator buttons w/o checking “papers please”, or else you may inadvertently be “aiding and abetting” illegal sub-humans!
        Also, we need to make sure SS moochers aren’t diverting any money for abortions for their kids or grand-kids.

        Liberals will want to make sure that the SS moochers aren’t spending any money to buy pictures of Jesus, to decorate their abodes… Let alone donating any of their money to the church… For fear of violating separation of church and state money!

        We’ll have to hire more armies of Government Almighty snoops and spies to verify all of this “compliance” here, & we’ll be giving Mainland China a run for their money, more than we are already that is, for a Secret Police State and “social credit” ratings for, just HOW MUCH, or HOW LITTLE, does your spending and other behavior show your proper Love and Respect for Government Almighty?

        1. This is the best comment here. This is exactly what I was thinking when I was reading the article. That and I better stop funding my 401K so I can get SS.

          1. More WHINING … no solutions.
            This is WHY progressives have been kicking our ass for decades.
            It ain’t government’s fault, goobers.

            PRO-LIBERTY libertarians have long had THREE solutions — but shouted down by anti-gummint goobers.

            .

    3. The benefit to means-testing is that it will reveal SS for what it is: a giant welfare program. Currently, even conservatives parrot the “I paid into it!” line when you talk about reforming this disaster of a program, so it could be a wake-up call.

      1. Today’s conservative are the biggest losers of all.
        But that is NOT an invalid argument.

    4. Don’t means test it, privatize it. Make it mandatory, but the funds go directly into an individual’s account.

      Chile has been doing this for quite awhile and so far it’s working and it’s good for the economy and even better it keeps the grimy paws of politicians out of the cookie jar.

      Of course, there’s the issue of who is going to pay those who do not have personal account. It’s a mess until they die, but it’s got to start sometime or else we will have a mess forever. System that rely on demographics producing guaranteed results is always a disaster. (See state employee retirement funds).

      1. The US is not Chile!

        Cato’s Social Security privatization hustle for suckers

        “Workers would keep and control their 6.2% FICA contribution.”
        Michael Tanner says (page 10) the transition will be costly, but “a one-time event” … Yeah, a one-time event lasting over 20 years, declining from a first-year cost of $453 billion!

        Also Page 10, “Simply restraining the projected growth in nondefense discretionary spending by 1 percent would generate more than $20 billion per year.” …. Versus $453 billion, suckers! (OMG)

        But how to pay for it is NOT Cato’s job anyhow!

        “There are short-term costs that will require the president and Congress to make tough choices.” Page 6.

        Same “short-term” bullshit. If anyone is STILL confused ….

        cont’d

        1. part 2

          $453 billion is 50% FICA revenues
          Page 119 https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/BUDGET-2019-BUD/pdf/BUDGET-2019-BUD.pdf

          All budgeted to benefits
          Loss declines slowly as seniors die off.

          Any questions?

  9. The fact that you shouldn’t be relying on SS not with standing, the fact that the pols in Washington haven’t done anything on this one way or another is another testament to their incompetence. People turning 62 over the next seversl years need to know whether to take SS at 62 or wait. If they wait, they’ll get higher payments but it will take until they’re almost 80 to make up the difference of not taking early. If benefits will be cut 20% in 2035, that could have a major impact on that decision.

    1. It is not incompetence, it is cynicism. There is little benefit to politicians to do anything about it from either end because the voters believe what the New Dealers had sold the program as and will punish anyone who makes major changes to it.

    2. is another testament to their incompetence.

      This is testament to YOURS … WHINING … NO SOLUTION

  10. Personally, I want to privatize the damned thing and get it out of the hands of politicians, who have shown themselves to be completely untrustworthy and irresponsible.

    Would it not be much easier and cheaper to invest 10K into a Total Stock Market index fund upon issuance of a SSA number to a child born as an American citizen? That money would compound over 60 years. At age 35, the original 10K would be deducted and returned to Taxpayers. The remainder (already a substantial sum) would continue to grow. Assuming a pretty conservative growth rate of 3% real (not nominal), the retirement fund would be quite substantial, well in excess of 1MM.

    To me, this would be vastly better. Just get the Federal Government out of the annuity business altogether.

  11. As soon as “means testing” is added in a big way, as eyeroller says, saving and working hard will be relatively punished, and slacking off will be rewarded. Better hide your savings under the mattress!!!!

    Add to that, the perception that SS is “earned” and not “welfare” will vanish. Rich people will generally no longer support it… Why should they? What’s in it for them? If rich people don’t support something in the USA, it has a VERY hard time happening (AND stay in place when enacted)… Don’t forget who it is that makes campaign contributions! Politicians better think twice of touching this “live rail” of means-testing SS…

    1. Means testing is STUPID … IT ALREADY IS!!!!

      “For the 2019 tax year, single filers with a combined income of $25,000 to $34,000 must pay income taxes on up to 50% of their Social Security benefits. If your combined income was more than $34,000, you will pay taxes on up to 85% of your Social Security benefits.”

      Expand the BONUS for full retirement benefits, from age 67 to age 80 or 85 … as an ADDED INCENTIVE to work longer (paying FICA taxes).

      Libertarians use INCENTIVES. And know WTF we’re doing.

  12. Give every who paid into Social Security the amount in cash and keep the Social Security tax for 10 years or less to full pay off the national debt. Repeal Social Security.

    Any American after that who needs financial help needs to approach family, financial lenders, and charities.

    PRESTO. The biggest federal expenditure would then be National Defense.

    1. Sell off the BLM lands and the National Parks to raise the money needed to pay back those who’d otherwise be getting ripped off. Some Libertarian POTUS candidate (I forget who) proposed that a while ago. National Parks could be sold off to the highest bidder, with a deed restriction or two… They stay mostly as parks open to the public… Admissions costs will go up, but so what? They need to go up! Grand Canyon can’t be turned into a landfill, but other than that, let’s go for it! And shut down SS!!!

      But just you go ahead and try to sell such ideas to the socialists (of the public in general) today… Good luck!

    2. ANOTHER massive screuop by lc1789

      HA! this link. Cato’s Social Security privatization hustle for suckers

      “Workers would keep and control their 6.2% FICA contribution.”
      Michael Tanner says (page 10) the transition will be costly, but “a one-time event” … Yeah, a one-time event lasting over 20 years, declining from a first-year cost of $453 billion!

      Also Page 10, “Simply restraining the projected growth in nondefense discretionary spending by 1 percent would generate more than $20 billion per year.” …. Versus $453 billion, suckers! (OMG)

      But how to pay for it is NOT Cato’s job anyhow!

      “There are short-term costs that will require the president and Congress to make tough choices.” Page 6.

      Same “short-term” bullshit. If anyone is STILL confused ….

      1. cont’d

        part 2

        $453 billion is 50% FICA revenues
        Page 119 https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/BUDGET-2019-BUD/pdf/BUDGET-2019-BUD.pdf

        All budgeted to benefits
        Loss declines slowly as seniors die off.

        Any questions?

  13. Love being part of Generation X, the most screwed over generation. We will have been made to pay into SS all our lives but will retire just when the con collapses.

    It is not politicians you need to convince of this primarily. It is the voters. Even if a politician understands the problem, unless they are very principled they will not act because they are going to be punished if they are perceived as taking away benefits the voters think they have earned.

    1. Your problem is that my generation are more reliable voters. I have nothing to do all day, while your generation is working and raising a family. Tough as that is you need to get the voting booth. Sorry but until politicians are scared of losing your vote, you are screwed.

      1. I often think this exact thing — If the “working” people who take responsibility for themselves all showed up to vote would the Democratic party disappear into oblivion?

        1. Interesting idea. Why not give it a test by making it easier for working people to vote. I believe some western states (Oregon for sure) use mail in voting. Not much easier than that system. Another option is internet voting, I do that all the time for companies I hold stock in. Let see if everyone votes do the Democrats disappear?

        2. Fascsim speaks in an undeniable voice. — to goobers

          Trump tweeted on Friday: “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”

          The market crashed AGAIN. Apple the biggest loss.
          How can ANYONE now deny a severe mental breakdown in the White House?

  14. Let me have a lump-sum distribution of all that I paid in and I’ll make no further claim on the system.

    1. Where is that going to come from? You contributions have already been spent.

      1. Beat me to it!

        The privatization hustle … for dummies on the right

  15. Any chance at reform was ended 55 years ago when “The Greatest Generation tm” crushed Barry Goldwater. The founding of AARP then piled more dirt on the grave site.

    1. BULLS

      1. BULLSHIT for the brainwashed right.

        PRO-LIBERTY libertarians have long had several solutions … crushed by anti-gummint goobers who swallow the privatization crazy bullhsit.

  16. Good luck with Social Security reform. It is probably the most important issue in the US right now but everyone including our esteemed representatives are holding their hands over their ears and going “la la la I can’t hear you!”

    I have tried on FB and even in moderate circles the responses I get are like, “I paid in, I deserve that money!” They don’t care that the system is broke, they don’t care if their children and grandchildren are taxed to the breaking point, they don’t care if many recipients receive back much more than they paid in.

    My proposals, meaningless as they are, are to remove the income cap on SS tax deductions, and means test SS & Medicare once a person has received back all they have paid into the system.

    1. ALREADY means tested … MUCH more than your version … which may be why you get ignored.

      “For the 2019 tax year, single filers with a combined income of $25,000 to $34,000 must pay income taxes on up to 50% of their Social Security benefits. If your combined income was more than $34,000, you will pay taxes on up to 85% of your Social Security benefits.”

      Libertarians use INCENTIVES. And know WTF we’re doing.

      Expand the BONUS for full retirement benefits, from age 67 to age 80 or 85 … as an ADDED INCENTIVE to work longer (paying FICA taxes).

      Simple.

  17. George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan explains that “Forcing people to help others who can’t help themselves—like kids from poor families or the severely disabled—is at least defensible. Forcing people to help everyone is not.”

    Sure it is.

    It’s a “if everyone gets a slice of the pie, then everyone supports more pie” sort of thing. If you start saying “you don’t get a slice of the pie”, then you start getting more folks who are in favor of getting rid of the pie all-together.

    We see this with every “means-tested” benefit. Folks that don’t benefit argue to get rid of it. Social Security and Medicare, since they go to everyone, are much more popular programs.

    But surely an economist understands the human perspective of such things. After all, that humans are not strictly rational actors has been known and frustrating to economists for a long time.

    1. But it is heavily means tested. I get your point , but the pie slices are so lopsided they are irrelevant. You have lower contributors who get more bang for their buck, people who never paid a cent into the system that may get a very large benefit, depending on their spouse’s income, and people like me who get my benefit slashed because I also paid into another pension. Phasing out survivor benefits and ending the WEP would be the fair thing to do.

  18. When that happens, Congress will have no option but to reform Social Security in a more fiscally prudent manner.

    Bwahahahahahaha.

    1. Have to know HOW to. DUH.

  19. “The U.S. government’s debt—that is, our and our children’s debt as taxpayers—is growing.”

    Wait until the Green New Deal and Medicare for All hit, with a $4.6 to $5.6 trillion cost per year (per Bernie Sanders’ own estimates), on top of the current $4.4 trillion Federal budget, and then you’ll consider this a tiny speedbump.

    1. You’ve been brainwashed on Bernie’s Estimate for MFA.

      Even the libertarian Mercatus Institute says MFA would cost $32T over the first decade …. they were too fucking STUPID to know we ALREADY spend MORE per year!

      And if you look only to the federal budget, you have no clue onj total current medical spending/

  20. The entire system isn’t becoming insolvent; it already is insolvent! Liabilities already exceed assets valued on an economic basis and have for quite some time. Given the scale of that shortfall, there is no possibility of becoming solvent by raising taxes. Only dramatic restrictions in the amount of benefits and the coverage will balance assets with liabilities. However given that Social Security was sold as forced saving for everyone, it hardly seems moral or ethical to now formally change to a redistributive system. Yes, benefits for a few who can’t provide for themselves might be defensible. But it would have to be damn few with means tests. Given that roughly half of tax filers pay no tax, it would seem inappropriate to pay benefits to the lower half of income earners. It would have to be smaller. Moreover, the states have as bad a problem with their government pensions. Morally, why should those of us who have struggled and strived to make higher incomes pay not only for the frankly stupid overpromises of the federal government only to have to pay for the reckless promises of the states as well. The truly moral and ethical outcome would be to pay back the living whatever assets are available in proportion to what they’ve paid in. And then start fresh. If it were a private system, that’s exactly the outcome we’d expect to get.

    1. However given that Social Security was sold as forced saving for everyone,

      That’s not how it was sold, and also why we lose.

      Given that roughly half of tax filers pay no tax

      No INCOME tax. Learn who pays FICA.
      Again, why we lose.

      Morally, why should those of us who have struggled and strived to make higher incomes pay not only for the frankly stupid overpromises of the federal government only to have to pay for the reckless promises of the states as well.

      Two reasons. Consent of the governed. Clueless how to change public opinion. Hard to defeat fascism with … fascism.

      The truly moral and ethical outcome would be to pay back the living whatever assets are available in proportion to what they’ve paid in.

      The fascism I mentioned. Dictatorial rule is neither moral or ethical. Even Ayn Rand knew that.

      If it were a private system, that’s exactly the outcome we’d expect to get.

      But it’s not, and you clearly have no idea how to change that.

      Nothing personal. The failure is near universal on the authoritarian right.
      .

  21. Wait…. Where’s the enumerated power for the federal government to be in charge of everybodies old age?

  22. That’s it? Rage, cute slogans and … no details. AGAIN?

    This is why the progressives have been kicking our ass for over a quarter century, in the court of public opinion.

    Screaming “SOCIALISM” and snarling “proggies” seems to have failed, totally. Compounded by hiding in a tribal cave and pretending public opinion doesn’t matter … ad it dies not … to the bellowing authoritarian.

    Today’s s whiny kids are too young to know that libertarians once had 3-4 viable and passable ways of dealing with this … NONE as fucking stupid as the Cato/Dubya “privatization” hoax for goobers, which Veronique at least had the integrity to never mention .

    Americans are close to listening, but the ant-gummint authoritarians have crushed liberty, as they always intended.

    Republicans so totally fucked up on health care, that Dems could pass it in a minute if THEY weren’t so dumb. Dumbass Mercatus forecasts $32 Trillion in a decade, instantly ridiculded a LESS than we spend NOW (even if zero inflation). All Bernie has to say is, “Your employer will simply send premiums to the nonprofit government, instead of to the greedy insurance companies.”

    Then simply compare total current health care spending with the “free-market” Mercatus Institute. … while the goobers sneer and snarl their way into ANOTHER crushing defeat.

    Thank GOD Bernie is as stupid as today’s conservatives

    Left – Right = Zero
    Rediscover libertarianism!.

    1. Yes, goobers are taking over EVERYWHERE!

      The GOOD news is that I ***Do*** have a fix:

      Booger beam! Hold one nostril shut, and exhale powerfully through the other nostril, inundating all goobers in sight!!! (With unsightly boogers, of course, and carefully targeted). I have tried this method, and it WORKS!!! (Dave Barry was my inspiration, truth be told… I am an humble person, so I do give credit where credit is due).

      1. You failed spelling! 🙂

  23. I will be the first to admit Social Security should never have been started but I am getting a bit sick and tired of everyone blaming old folks for something that we never had a say in. Why not just for once try blaming the people who are responsible for the problem. The Progressives both Republican and Democrat that are hell bent on turning America into a Socialist ghetto like every other country that tried it. Or the people who have destroyed the family unit and social network for whatever these demented people think is social progress. And there is our wonderful politicians who seem to think that the Fund is their personal piggy bank to give to special interest projects for sole purpose of buying minority votes. Last but certainly not least is Wall Street and Central Banks that work overtime to take every last penny of those that try to save. Most of you writers are probably considerably better off than most and when the market crashes you have a bad day while the average Joe or Jolene watch their entire retirement go down the tubes in a matter of a few hours. So if you can’t write the truth then please just shut up.

    1. I am getting a bit sick and tired of everyone blaming old folks for something that we never had a say in

      Who does that?

      So if you can’t write the truth then please just shut up.

      If you can’t write the truth then please just shut up.

    2. A lot of us younger folks weren’t alive or old enough to vote while you all let your politicians get us into frivolous wars, spend us into oblivion and loot the SS fund. So yeah, its your fault.

      I’m sure we will make our own mistakes and we’ll have to take the blame for that. But this one is on your generation, sorry bud.

      1. WHO’S FAULT IS THE CONSTITUTION, CHUMP?

  24. Having involuntarily paid into SS for 50 years, it doesn’t quite seem like a welfare system to me – more of a redistribution system that will pay me back much less than I put in. I certainly would rather have not paid into SS but you didn’t have that option. The same way, I’ve saved money so I could use the interest to cover some of my bills in retirement. But, the Fed has to keep interest rates below the “natural” rate to keep some special groups happy (and to keep interest on the Federal debt lower). So, let’s not make this Beat-up-on-old-dudes day.

  25. The article states:

    have some thoughts on how to do this.

    But before I explain, let’s make sure we’re clear about one thing: The program is indeed growing insolvent.

    The article talks about insolvency, but hardly explains the authors ideas for reform beyond a few vague sentences stating that we could reduce benefits, increase taxes or both (duh). I’m so confused, who edits these articles??

  26. Today’s FAUX libertarian establishment mostly babble anti-gummintt slogans for the FAUX libertarians who now blindly follow,

  27. Facts:
    It’s a Ponzi scheme. From the beginning.
    There is no “fund.” It’s fake.
    Employee’s contribution is an income tax.
    Employer’s contribution is an excise tax.
    There is no “reform” just a graceful exit.
    Here’s how.
    Convert all 401k/IRA… accounts into Roth IRAs.
    Convert all SS payments into welfare payments chargeable against any estate value (ie stop funding estates w SS).
    Abandon system within reasonable time limit to mitigate pain caused by expectations.
    Or:
    Do nothing and wait for total collapse.

  28. Step 1: phase out spouse and survivor benefits. No more freeloaders on the system. Most other pension systems did this years ago. If you want your spouse taken care of, fund her or his retirement account yourself.
    And get rid of the WEP already.

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