Why Is Social Security Going Broke?

Column by Glen Allport.

Exclusive to STR

- 1 -
 
In plain language, there is no good reason for the unfolding Social Security nightmare. Yes, the Baby Boomers are retiring, but so what? It's a big group, but this same big group has been paying into Social Security their whole adult lives. It's not like the money hasn't been set aside or anything.
 
Right?
 
- 2 -
 
Of course, you know better: the money that should have been set aside wasn't. That is the entire Social Security problem in a nutshell.
 
How did this happen? Government happened (as in, "Be careful not to step in the government"). Ringo's Law happened: "Everything government touches turns to crap."
 
Any demographer could have told you fifty years ago -- or before the start of Social Security during the Roosevelt administration, for that matter -- that a "pay tax as you go" system like Social Security has inherent problems, because (among other things) the generation following any "Baby Boom" group will almost certainly be smaller -- a non-Boom generation, if you will -- and will thus be strained to support the Boomers in their old age.
 
When other government revenues (taxes) are high enough and overall government spending is low enough, surplus tax revenue can paper over shortfalls in such situations -- but this only works if there is a tax surplus.
 
How often does the federal government run a surplus? In recent times (say, the last half-century), the answer is "never."  
 
What about the famed "Clinton surplus?" You will be shocked to learn that this alleged surplus was created by the usual types of government fraud: in this case by counting the money siphoned and stolen from the Social Security trust fund as general income (that money was indeed used in the general fund) and by not accounting for necessary set-asides for various programs (including Social Security, Medicare, and others). In fact, this fraudulent accounting has resulted in the build-up of federal debt to levels that are unimaginable and literally unpayable. Economist Laurence Kotlikoff in Bloomberg.com on the topic:
 
"Based on the CBO’s data, I calculate a fiscal gap of $202 trillion, which is more than 15 times the official debt. This gargantuan discrepancy between our 'official' debt and our actual net indebtedness isn’t surprising. It reflects what economists call the labeling problem. Congress has been very careful over the years to label most of its liabilities 'unofficial' to keep them off the books and far in the future."
         Laurence Kotlikoff, U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don’t Even Know It, 8/10/2010
 
My "unpayable" comment requires an asterisk -- it assumes current value for the dollar, which we all know is a poor assumption. Indeed, the federal reserve is working on that problem as you read this, and the dollar's value is quickly headed downward toward its ultimate and intrinsic value of "zero." When the U.S starts printing hundred-trillion-dollar bills because anything smaller won't buy a loaf of bread, then our multi-trillion-dollar debt won't be so hard to pay. Of course, those receiving the payment, including Social Security recipients and bond-holding retirees, won't get much real value, but that doesn't seem a concern to those in our government.
 
 

 

$100 trillion Zimbabwe banknote. Note that the $Zim was actually worth MORE than the $US as recently as 1980 or so. Image courtesy Wikipedia
 
- 3 -
 
So, the money for your retirement isn't there. The money should be there because you did pay it. You were forced to pay it, and the rationale was that paying your money into this government program would provide you with some financial security in your old age.
 
But because Social Security is a government program, you know what to expect: waste, fraud, and in the end, an effect opposite to the stated intent. The retirement age was already raised on you -- you won't be getting full benefits at 65; that promise was broken long ago -- and when you finally DO reach the age where they'll let you collect, you'll find the money is, at the very least, a bit thin. As I've already suggested, the purchasing power of your Social Security checks will be nowhere near what you were expecting (despite adjusting for inflation, because the government uses its own not-very-honest figures for the CPI), and nowhere near what would make sense given the dollar amount and the time (assuming compound interest, like you'd get at a bank) that you paid into the system. Most important of all, those monthly checks won't be enough to provide the support you were counting on -- whether as an addition to your savings and pension or -- as is true for millions of American retirees -- as your (gulp!) only support (the government says that description fit 22% of retirees in 2002).
 
The bottom line on Social Security being a government program is that Congress had more important things to do with your retirement money than invest it safely: Congress spent your Social Security money on other things; on war, for the most part, and on throwing people in prison for using pot or cocaine, and on new cabinet-level agencies and on zillion-dollar boondoggles and on sending SWAT teams to farms that Monsanto thought might have some plants that grew from patented seeds that had blown in on the wind from a neighboring farm and on preventing cattle ranchers from testing their own herds for Mad Cow disease and on feeling up your wife at the airport and on preventing you from using a cheap natural vitamin to slow damage from blood sugar because a drug company wants to patent the vitamin and sell it for Big Bucks as a drug and on jaw-dropping perks for Congress and other federal employees and on military bases in a hundred and thirty (or so) foreign countries and on, well, all the many, many other important things that government has been doing with your money.*
 
Let's be fair here: your piddly-old retirement just wasn't much of a priority in light of all that other, more important stuff. Surely you understand.
 
Kotlikoff on the topic again:
 
"This is what happens when you run a massive Ponzi scheme for six decades straight, taking ever larger resources from the young and giving them to the old while promising the young their eventual turn at passing the generational buck."
 
Of course, if you'd been allowed to invest all that money (including the "contributions" your employers were forced to make on your behalf, which they could have otherwise spent on something useful, including perhaps higher pay for you), then you could have put the cash in a bank, collected interest, and retired when you darn well pleased. You also would have been able to pass the remainder (if any) of your retirement funds along to your heirs, and since your money wasn't being spent by politicians and replaced with IOU's, you'd also have a much better standard of living DURING your retirement.
 
But the government decided to take care of you, using its patented "make them pay for it and then spend the money on something else" method for delivery of services. So the many billions of dollars that Baby Boomers were forced to hand over to Social Security just aren't there anymore. The smaller, younger group of people now working are being asked -- by which I mean "forced" -- to fund the retirement of the huge Boomer cohort, but (and here's where the fun really begins) this is mathematically impossible given that workers also have to pay federal, state, and local taxes of many types (gotta keep the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the Wars on healthy foods and supplements, and all the other wars on the American people going), and -- not that this is very important, but still -- given that workers need SOME income left to buy food and pay the rent. What's left over after all that, even assuming a much lower standard of living for the younger generation, is not enough to cover the money that Congress "borrowed" from the Boomer's Social Security accounts, much less to do that plus set anything aside for the younger worker-bees who now exist solely to fund government programs and to make up for the missing Boomer Social Security money.
 
Adding to the angst of all this is that unlike, say, our Aid to Dependent Dictators program or the oceans of free money given to banks and other corporate entities, Social Security is not a welfare program. Social Security is a retirement program that Americans have been forced to participate in. Retirement programs are perfectly ethical and sensible, but in accordance with Ringo's Law, government involvement in such programs spells disaster. Boomers have every right to expect that government will provide retirement income to them at a level commensurate with what they've been forced to pay into the system, and the idea that Social Security payments for the Baby Boom generation are a burden in any way angers the people who already paid the money.
 
The anger is just getting started, of course: as the situation gets worse, as living standards for both retirees and workers fall, and as it becomes even more clear that this disaster happened only because Congress handled Social Security money the way Bernie Madoff handled his client's money, the anger will intensify.
 
Fortunately, the federal government has prepared for this eventuality. Homeland Security, the TSA, warrantless surveillance of many types, those Halliburton-built domestic detention camps, the Patriot Act, and a great many other laws, regulations, agencies, and policies are aimed directly and blatantly at monitoring and controlling the American population. This seems reasonable proof that government does know what it is doing (bleeding the people dry for benefit of coercive elites in and out of government) and that it does plan ahead carefully -- it just has different and less honorable goals than it claims to have.
 
- 4 -
 
If we are to have any hope at turning things around -- at increasing our liberty, compassion, and prosperity instead of further destroying those qualities in the United States -- then people must begin to understand the most basic truth about coercive government: that it is based on coercion and thus behaves in criminal fashion, by definition. Force, aggression, violence -- these are the hallmarks of government, from its methods of funding (even for "nice" programs) to the way it supplies "compassion." The DrugWar, for example, is supposed to be protecting us from the evils of drugs (a compassionate goal) but instead involves ruining the lives of millions with prison and with violence, not only in the United States but in Mexico, Columbia, and indeed throughout most of the world to one extent or another. "Compassion" has nothing to do with the DrugWar, other than this: the DrugWar is a wrecking ball that smashes compassion to bits wherever it swings. With government, that's par for the course.
 
Whether it's aggressive foreign war that murders civilians without qualm (it's only collateral damage, after all) or a safety-net program like Social Security, the end result of any government action is to take money from the citizens by force and fraud and then spend that money in ways that hurt people and which the citizens would almost always reject if given a choice. When people are allowed to spend their own money directly, they spend it in ways both wise and foolish, but what they don't do is invade other nations, use drones to launch missiles at the homes of other families, build detention camps, spy on everyone in the country, throw their neighbors in prison for using pot, or run massive cons on millions of citizens the way Congress has with Social Security. (When individuals do set up such a Ponzi scheme, it is tiny compared to government efforts and the perpetrators can and usually do end up in prison).
 
Because government is only a way to do things by force, it can never be a long-term good. Thoreau was completely and profoundly correct: "That government is best which governs not at all." Coercive government crushes compassion, corrupts both business and charity, and brings poverty, violence, and despair to millions. Our present economic plight -- and worse, what's coming -- are, at bottom, entirely caused by government action, from mal-regulation and corporatism to running a military larger than the entire planet needs; from illegally turning the dollar into a dishonest fiat simulation of money to taxing and mal-regulating people and businesses to the point where productive activity is highly discouraged in the United States. Our bizarre and draconian banking and financial laws make even investing in this country seem foolish; our TSA and other police-state agencies and policies make visiting America about as appealing as a vacation in Guantanamo. Does any of this sound like a prescription for prosperity, or compassion, or freedom?
 
For more than a century after the American Revolution, the United States was a genuine beacon to mankind, a haven for the downtrodden, and a true (if horribly inconsistent) champion of liberty and human rights. During that period the U.S also became the wealthiest nation the Earth has ever known because it fostered non-coercive, civil society by keeping coercive government small and restrained. Now our government is huge and frighteningly unrestrained; coercion and centralized control have largely replaced liberty and the organic, decentralized decision-making that society needs to function properly. Love and freedom are being pushed out of American life in favor of cruelty and tyranny in a modern blend of corporatism, fascism, and coercive socialism.
 
The coming train wreck of Social Security (and Medicare, and other mandated but hugely underfunded programs) is only one symptom of this nation's slide into tyranny. If we don't reverse that slide and begin moving in the direction of love and freedom -- and soon -- I see little hope of salvaging any of the positive elements of our heritage.
 
Love and freedom, or cruelty and tyranny: It seems an easy choice.
 
 
--------------
 
* Links and references for all of these assertions about government activity may be found -- repeatedly, in many cases -- in my previous columns, including the recent Had Enough Government "Regulation" Yet? and 2008's Grand Theft America.
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Glen Allport's picture
Columns on STR: 105

Glen Allport co-authored The User's Guide to OS/2 from Compute! Books and is the author of The Paradise Paradigm: On Creating a World of Compassion, Freedom, and Prosperity. He maintains paradise-paradigm.net. This is one in a series of columns on the human condition.

Comments

Scott Lazarowitz's picture

"Our present economic plight -- and worse, what's coming -- are, at bottom, entirely caused by government action..."

Well, I wouldn't say "entirely," because there have been other factors. For instance, the invention of television has encouraged generations now to habitually sit in front of that thing, getting hypnotized by constant visual images, as they stare non-stop at the screen for hours every day. There is little active thinking going on during that process, as opposed to reading articles on your computer screen.

I have noticed that there are several writers and bloggers of the libertarian variety who have stated that they either no longer watch television, but don't even own one. My own experience is that my thinking became much clearer in the months following my stopping watching TV, which was in the mid-'90s, and there were other various "improvements" in my life as well. I am not surprised to see that others who have stopped watching TV tend to think for themselves, and thus are more apt to challenge the status quo. Generally, status quo ways of thinking seem to be pro-statism. There are other aspects of life besides the TV-watching habit that have also contributed to America's decline. (You can call me an "anti-TV elitist" if you want to. I'm just sharing my experiences in this area.)

But I believe that "our present economic plight" is not "entirely" caused by government - America's societal attitudes and personal habits amongst the masses that have tended toward laziness, including lazy thinking (or no thinking at all), are contributors.

jd-in-georgia's picture

This is a good reply, Mr. Lazarowitz. Ironically, through the means of television, the late great George Carlin has established an alternative reply to the depletion of Social Security.

Some may find the content of this video inappropriate and it is intended for mature audiences.
However, the message is spot on:

George Carlin~The American Dream (Youtube)

Glen Allport's picture

Good points, Scott. I agree with you in many ways: other things are involved, not only television but also coercion and mal-education in the schools [ http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/gatto6.1.1.html ], deceitful economics teachings, and perhaps just the exhaustion that civilizations are said to go through, mentioned lower in the comments (although I believe such exhaustion need not happen, despite it having always happened in the past, for reasons too long to cover here).

But I decided to go with the provocative statement I used -- "entirely caused by government action" -- because the dead hand of coercive government is nearly everywhere, including in the supposedly free-market media. Television shows -- not all, but plenty of them -- push the pro-coercion, pro-elite, pro-Statist line and do so both blatantly and subtly. The news shows are infamous for this but sitcoms and dramas are equally guilty; they are written to make it seem that only horrid people would oppose "compassionate" government programs and that coercive government interference in our lives is as right and natural as rainfall. In a truly free society where systematic coercion has been abolished, the coercive elite wouldn't have the money to buy or control all the media (and the schools, and everything else that might help them sway opinion) nor any reason to do so, because no government would exist to grant special favors, to "stimulate the economy" by handing billions of dollars to corporate interests, to build and maintain a military-industrial complex, and so on. No government would have licensing and censorship and other weapons to use against the media, for that matter. Children would grow up able to think for themselves and with experience in respecting others and being respected BY others; even if television were as it is now (it wouldn't be) viewers would be far more choosy about what they watched and less confused about any anti-freedom messages they encountered.

So again: I agree with your comments about the negative influence of television, but I see that negative influence itself as being only possible, really, because of the State. Television would be very different and less toxic in a free society.

Persona non grata's picture

18th century Scottish historian Alexander Fraser Tytler:

"The average life span of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years progressing from "bondage to spiritual faith ... to great courage ... to liberty ... to abundance ... to selfishness ... to complacency ... to apathy ... to dependence and ... back into bondage"

Glen Allport's picture

Thanks for the quote, Persona non grata, and for the nice comment below. The meme of civilization's inevitable fall has, as you point out, been around a long time and for good reason: history shows it happening repeatedly. Paul Rosenberg (the CEO of Cryptohippie.com, a service worth considering by anyone concerned about identity theft or other data mining by any group) recently published "Production Versus Plunder: The ancient war that is destroying the West". It's a terrific, fun read and a mind-altering view of history, from the beginnings of civilization to modern day. Rosenberg says, and supports, that the big-name civilizations and empires we all learned about in school were in every case the results of productive societies (whose names and personages we generally don't know) being taken over by plunderers, who extracted ever-more of the wealth being produced and then used that wealth to build the huge monuments we still see today, and to subjugate other peoples and so on. In the process they naturally destroyed the productive mind-set and other elements necessary for production and then began bleeding the wealth from producers ever-faster in a spiral that ended in collapse of the civilization itself. Seriously -- this thing reads like a thriller but provides an eye-opening look at the underlying dynamics of the "rise and fall" meme. Best of all, Rosenberg points out that this problem doesn't HAVE to happen; he's more optimistic (not very, but some) than I am about our present situation and talks about what might yet turn things around.

An excerpt from the book:

http://dailyanarchist.com/2010/08/28/the-fall-of-rome-the-fall-of-the-west/

The Kindle version (also available in an unfortunately-high-priced paperback:
http://www.amazon.com/Production-Versus-Plunder-ebook/dp/B001XUS4YU/ref=...

Persona non grata's picture

Nice essay Glen

dogismyth's picture

Excellent summary. I am passing this article on to others, as everyone should if they believe in the conclusions.

One problem I see in "fixing" social security is that you have two antagonists: the government and those making a good earning (e.g., >$100,000). Those making >$100,000 encompass approximately 15% of the total population (http://www.mybudget360.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/incomedistribution...) with the average annual income in the high $40,000. The top 1% of the population have secured ~43% of the nations wealth. The next 19% of the population have secured ~50% of the nations wealth. That leaves a measly 7% for the remaining 80% of the population.http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

That means many Americans will be relying upon social security funds for their retirement, and rightly so since they have paid into "the scheme". I would asked the upper 20% who own the most wealth whether they would feel comfortable if someone decided to withdrawal their 401k funds as a source of funding for whatever projects. The 401k owners have no formal contract to those funds, and certainly less contractual rights than the average American expecting Social Security.

I realize that the funds will not be there for me when I retired which is only a decade or so away. My solution is that I no longer volunteer to pay these taxes. And if I am coerced to submit to paying, I will demand a contract under the law of the land....which is the Uniform Commercial Code.

Its time that Americans pulled together and collectively "turn their backs" on this government. We must stop submitting our hard work and wages to their ponzi scheme and irresponsible management. Our government is complicit in genocide, fraud, torture, and treason to this country. I realize that the hollow windbag politicians are not the true enemy BUT they are the front line in protecting this country and its assets, including the American people. I have been horrified by the behavior of this government since I began researching the ugly truths that holds our world together. I began that research effort in 2003 when I was yanked from the safety of my home and separated from my children by government kidnappers. After decades of loyalty to the government and their non-positive and positive laws, I was scratching my head on what the hell was going on. I did everything right, never hurt anyone and I find my life being destroyed for some nefarious reason that generates "good" statistics for AG Ashcroft.

Let's just say I know the truth and the author has provided a glimpse of one of the many unknown truths or realizations that are never spoken by major media, the politicians or any powerful leaders.

I wish the best for everyone but until you begin to suffer as I and others have, your priorities and beliefs will likely not change. For this change to occur, you must change your thought process. To change that process, you must be subjected to a life-altering experience. The United States government is a ruthless, destructive and vile collection of arrogant and evil souls. How this has gone on for so many years is beyond me. But I guess that happens unless...like I said...you experience something life-altering at the hands of this rogue government.

A Liberal in Lakeview's picture

dogismyth, I must object, albeit politely, to the claim that "many Americans will be relying upon social security funds for their retirement, and rightly so since they have paid into 'the scheme'."

The SSA raids and pays as it goes. What you and I have had taken from us thus far has been redistributed to others. For us to receive retirement benefits from the SSA in the future, still more people must be robbed. But who can be entitled to the benefits of robbery?

Reconsider Ponzi's scheme in the following way. Perhaps the people who paid in very early made money, but the people who became involved late lost their shirts. Were the late investors entitled to get their wealth back? Certainly so, but only from Ponzi and no one else. They chose to give Ponzi their money and had their own cupidity to blame in addition to Ponzi's deceitfulness. To arrange for payment by anyone but Ponzi would have required voluntary contributions, which fools might have paid, or coercion and violence, such as government organizes for the SSA.

Now suppose that coercive and violent means had been used to repay the late investors. People who'd not chosen to invest in Ponzi's scheme, which involved international reply coupons, would have been robbed. Would not these people too count as victims and, by the standard of conduct set thus far, be entitled to compensation for their losses? After all, they were less guilty than Ponzi's investors. In fact, they weren't guilty at all.

Given the nonterminating nature of the SSA racket and the obvious potential for conflict between the young the old, the SSA scheme is much worse than any confidence trickster's scheme. Is it not?

I think you can see where the discussion goes from here. A few more steps are all that's needed to establish that each person who paid the SSA did so because he or she expected the benefits to exceed the costs imposed upon him or her. So each of those persons submitted. But how can their choice obligate others to submit to the racket? If retirees had not chosen submission and cooperation in the evil, which they calculated was to their advantage, the racket might have died out by now.

So, I don't think it's necessarily true that Americans who have paid into social security have any valid claim to being paid.

Glen Allport's picture

This column was originally posted in my Archive but not on STR's front page, because there were formatting issues that needed to be resolved. During that time, user "Paul" wrote an insightful comment that got removed when the new, properly formatted version of this column went up. I made two changes to this column based on Paul's comments and mentioned that in my OWN response to his comment, which of course also disappeared when the column was changed out for the better-formatted version. So, Paul, whoever you are (there are several Pauls who write for STR and THIS Paul might be someone else entirely) -- thanks, and the changes you see early in section 2 are indeed thanks to your input.

A Liberal in Lakeview's picture

Glen, you concluded "Love and freedom, or cruelty and tyranny: It seems an easy choice".

Indeed. By "love", it seems you indicate something cognitive, like benevolence, rather than a mushy sentimentality. Pls correct me if I'm wrong.

Glen Allport's picture

Hi, A Liberal in Lakeview --

Actually, by "love" I mean the compassionate sense of connection with others that characterizes emotional health. People who are treated with compassion and respect in childhood, and who are not badly traumatized (from birth on, and even including the third trimester during pregnancy) are empathic, compassionate, relaxed, and respectful of others. Freedom for children plays a HUGE role in creating adults who deeply understand freedom. Most people have no idea of the importance of freedom in the lives of children. Here are excerpts from a 1949 report on Summerhill School by British government inspectors; the full text is at http://www.paradise-paradigm.net/summerhill.htm -- and note that these results were achieved on a shoe-string by a private school with a chicken-scratch budget --

"The main principle upon which the School is run is freedom. ... the degree of freedom allowed to the children is very much greater than the inspectors had seen in any other school and the freedom is real. No child, for instance, is obliged to attend any lessons. As will be revealed later, the majority do attend for the most part regularly, but one pupil was actually at this School for 13 years without once attending a lesson and is now an expert toolmaker and precision instrument maker. This extreme case is mentioned to show that the freedom given to children is genuine and is not withdrawn as soon as its results become awkward."

"... the children are full of life and zest. Of boredom and apathy there was no sign. An atmosphere of contentment and tolerance pervades the School."

"... the children's manners are delightful. They may lack, here and there, some of the conventions of manners, but their friendliness, ease and naturalness, and their total lack of shyness and self-consciousness made them very easy, pleasant people to get on with."

"...initiative, responsibility and integrity are all encouraged by the system and that so far as such things can be judged, they are in fact being developed."

"Summerhill education is not necessarily hostile to worldly success."

The report backs up that last point with a list of degrees held and careers followed by former pupils. Clearly, the lack of a "normal," coercive education has not harmed the children of Summerhill. More importantly, compared with a modern American public (that is, coercive-government) school, Summerhill clearly produces -- and has, for over 75 years -- exactly the kind of people we would all want as neighbors. For more examples, look into Sudbury Valley School in America and other schools on the same model.

In today's America, most children coerced constantly throughout their school years, and worse, birth and post-birth practices are increasingly traumatic for newborns, shutting them down to deep feeling (including to compassion and empathy) before they even get started in life. In most of the world, inc. Europe, home births, midwives, and (at least somewhat) natural birth practices are the norm. Here in the States, the medical industry has evolved into a system that pushes C-sections (25% or so of all births! -- vs maybe 4 or 5% that might really be medically necessary ) and that uses other "technologies" designed to both protect the physical health of the baby and enhance the doctor's income and convenience (such as induced labor, for birth by appointment). The result of all this, plus the educational nightmare and other problems, is this:

"College Students Are Less Empathic Than Generations Past"

"Research presented at the conference of the Association for Psychological Science found that today's college students are far less empathic than their counterparts 30 years ago." ( http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=college-student... )

Love (or compassion, empathy, a sense of connection, or whatever you prefer to call it) is the lubricant and anti-corrosive for the market and for a free society generally. Creating millions of semi-sociopaths, which I believe is exactly what we're doing, is NOT a good thing for any society that hopes for freedom.

Andrew_M_Garland's picture

People paid payroll taxes for thirty years to support those who had retired. They paid in more than was needed for those retirees. The government did not invest the extra cash; it spent it on government salaries and projects.

Now, those people want to retire. To support them, younger people will be asked to pay FICA taxes at about double the previous rate, 24% instead of the current 12.4%. (You may think that the employer is paying 6.2%, but it all comes out of the production of the worker.)

Those younger people will be wise to the scheme, and will wonder about who is going to pay for them. They may not like the idea that their savings will be vanishing, leaving them with only the option of extracting support from the next younger cohort of people. They may resist.

Ponzy Schemes Like Social Security

There is nothing real in the "trust fund". There is only a political promise to find the money somewhere that was paid in and already spent. The shortfall is about $15 trillion in today's dollars, about equal to the entire yearly income of everyone in the US. That promise is much more than what is recorded in the trust fund, which is itself only an unfunded promise.

Medicare and Medicaid are much larger and equally unfunded, except by much higher taxes in the future, and not just on the rich.

ObamaCare Bails Out Medicare

John T. Kennedy's picture

"So, the money for your retirement isn't there. The money should be there because you did pay it. You were forced to pay it, and the rationale was that paying your money into this government program would provide you with some financial security in your old age."

On the other hand you probably approved a lot of the spending the government did on your behalf with the Social Security funds. And the books were always open for you to look at - the disposition of those funds was always a matter of public record. So it's kind of hard for me to be sympathetic with someone who crosses their fingers for 40 years and doesn't look at the books during all that time and then says "Yikes, I was robbed!". Wasn't this robbed citizen supposed to be the government's oversight for those 40 years?

Taxation is wrong, but those who paid social security taxes don't have any special claim at recovery - a tax is a tax.

I see an AARP commercial with seniors against Social Security benefit cuts saying "That wasn't the agreement!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWjpV3OMZ3w&feature=relmfu

And I want to answer, "Hold on. You made an agreement with who? Your elected officials? And you let them spend your retirement fund for 40 years without checking on them?? And you re-elected them in many cases for spending that money on your communities? And now you want someone else to pay to bail you out? Are you kidding me?"