AJ Ericksen's Blog World

Friday, February 11

Social Security

Robert Samuelson makes a strong case for why the government should "Cut [His] Benefits". He exposes the fallacy that the elderly are largely poor and unable to get by without Social Security, and thus, he argues benefits should be cut now.

Some facts:
1. Because they have no children to support, although household income is lower, per capita income is higher among seniors 65 to 74 than people younger than 44.

2. Because of Medicare, more seniors are insured than young people (99% vs. 82%).

3. Three-fourths have paid off their mortgages; 3/4ths of younger workers have mortgages.

The result is that through Social Security, "Younger and poorer taxpayers are supporting older and wealthier retirees." Go to any casino or cruise ship and you will see that the program is not a safety net but a retirement subsidy.

But what do politicians do?
In principle, both liberals and conservatives should oppose this -- liberals because the growing costs of the elderly make it harder to help than anyone else; conservatives because these costs are the main engine of enlarged government. In practice, both keep quiet.
FDR is dead and so are the reasons that justified Social Security. Kudos to President Bush for at least opening the debate. Let's see if Congress actually does something right, even if hard.

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