Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why Is Social Security Going Broke? (Glen Allport)

Glen Allport wrote this outstanding article on the enormous Ponzi scheme known as Social Security:

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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.


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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."

Read the rest

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