75 years of unqualified success
Prof. Barkley Rosser at Econospeak, lifted from comments here:
We really should pause for a minute or so to appreciate the 75 years of this program, which has been an unqualified success, providing social security for millions of people extremely efficiently and without a single scandal that I am aware of in its entire history. That people of either party are going after it is really the scandal.
No good deed goes unpunished…
the real scandal… miracle… tragedy…. is that no one understands it. even the people who “defend” it want to turn it into some kind of welfare… “let the rich pay their share”… or think of it as an income transfer in which “the elderly” are pitted against “the young” so that people who should know better want to tweak the tax increases that would be necessary to preserve a barely adequate benefit level so that there is a “balance” between the “needs of the young” and “the needs of the old.”
of course there does need to be such a balance, but the people who… should know better… who talk about balancing are always just a little bit greedy about keeping a few dollars a week while they are young so they can “invest” it and be rich when they are old, while the old folks who they will be when they get there will have to live on less than enough unless of course their investments come in the way the expect, hope. which is exactly the failed fantasy that Social Security was designed to address.
i am foolishly hoping this will not provoke an argument from “those who should know better.” but i know better.
so let me conclude with the facts: Social Security is not welfare. It is not an investment plan. It is a way for working people to “insure” that they will have at least “just enough” to live on when they get old enough that working longer becomes problematic. because people are expected to be living longer… but not necessarily able or glad to work longer they will need to save a little more while “young” to be able to retire when they may need to. fortunately everything indicates they will have much higher incomes and will be easily able to save the little more that it will take. what it will take is about twenty cents a week… in today’s termes…extra payroll “tax” each year.
that is the one number “they” don’t want you to think about. they tell you “both parties agree” that a raise in the retirement age is the easiest and “obvious” change. or some elaborate way of “cutting benefits” or “means testing” so that Bill Gates won’t collect Social Security, or raise the cap, or tax estates…. and turn SS into welfare. But the simple idea that people continue to save for their own retirements under the protection of “pay as you go with wage indexing” is something that no one seems to understand.
“…the real scandal… miracle… tragedy…. is that no one understands it.” Coberly
As usual you are bing too kind, at least for the vast majority of those involved in the discussion. Certainly the members of the Deficit Commission know very well what the Social Security program is and how it works, and that it qworks very well. That is their problem with it. It works so well that it excludes the financial sector from the potential income stream that such an “investment” like program could generate, if it were privatized. That some of Social Security”s defenders talk as though it were a form of wealth transfer program is distressing because they are, in that way of thinking, fighting against the program’s best interest in so thinking. Some mean that to be the goal of their so caleed defense of the system, and I’d count the Administration in this group. They are the “we’ve got to fix it” group. The problem is that the fix is likely to be the death of the patient. They know that and that is the behavior of the conciliator. They argue with the extremes of the issue and agree to something unacceptable to the health of the system.
I agree completely. sometimes i feel like i am fighting the monster with one hand, while the fair damsel is grabbing my other hand saying, oh lets give him one of our children to eat. maybe then he will go away and leave us alone.
it’s the liberal spirit of compromise you know.
My 2 cents: jed sounds like one of those uber trolls in his writings.
I think your 2 cents is right on the money. It’s a little hard for me to tell what is a troll, much less who is one. A frequent contributor with an axe to grind… might describe me. A person paid to troll the blogs and destroy any possibility of intelligent discourse seems a bt far fetched… but the thought keeps crossing my mind. Just a person with too much time on his hands and a neeed to justify his half assed convictions, and completely unable to profit from the other points of view that others painfully offer hiim….
“In regards to social insurance benefits the federal government gives value to beneficiaries without receiving value in return, The fact that benefits paid are not based on the amount of taxes paid confirms the nonexchanmge nature of social insurance.”
That is a very strange interpretation of the Social Security program. Each beneficiary receives benefits at a specific age point based upon the income levels of that beneficiary over his/her working life. Those income levels relate directly to the contributions paid by that beneficiary and employer. Those contributions are referred to as payroll taxes only by general public agreement. The contributions are not described as taxes in the Social Security legislation. It would be helpful to all the discussions and arguments concerning Social Security if the participants, both within and without the government and its agencies, would use the terminology occuring within the Social Security legislation. Thee would be less obfuscation if all did so.