Note to Laurence Kotlikoff on Social Security

Laurence Kotlikoff has a post in Bloomberg opinion section on the current status of the Social Security. This is lifted from Dale Coberly’s note back to him:

Your analysis that SS is desperately broke ignores the fact that the projected shortfall can be made up by raising the payroll tax one half of one tenth of one percent per year, while incomes are projected to go up over one full percent per year.

This would result ultimately in an increase in the payroll tax of about 4% of income (which you misleadingly call a 33% increase in the tax, which it is, but which is likely to mislead the average reader). A 4% increase in the tax really amounts to a 4% increase in the savings protected by Social Security, which is properly understood as insurance against the potential failure of other modes of saving for retirement. The 4% increase is a very fair price to pay for the longer life expectancy that the workers paying the tax will enjoy.

They really won’t want to work any longer, and since they are paying for their own benefits, there is no reason they should have to. Further, while the tax increase does represent a higher percent of their income going to their own longer retirement, the projected increases in their wages would leave them at least twice as well off “after the tax” (that is, in terms of money left in their pockets each month after putting away the extra for their longer retirement) as they are today.

I don’t know if you are able to understand all this, or if you just prefer to ignore it. But I do what I can.