Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fixing Social Security

Me, I think the fixing should be the kind of thing the vet does but one must be realistic. It would also be nice if we could sell the kidneys of every Congressweasel that voted to get us into this mess. Still, we need to do something. Lots of money has been paid in stolen from taxpayers for this Ponzi scheme, and the government wrote itself IOUs it can't pay back so it could get its sticky fingers on the moola. Social Security is going to run off a cliff in 2037. This is a fact. The government made promises about Social Security. Another fact. So what can be done? Bearing in mind that *any* change will provoke legal challenges, it is important that whatever changes are made take this into account to survive them.

Some changes can be made already, and have been. Social Security is promised but not the exact amount you paid in. Cost of living adjustments can be reduced, means testing could be applied, and retirement age changed (again).

More draconian measures will likely have to be voluntary to survive lawsuits. My suggestions:

- Allow people to give up Social Security benefits in return for something of value, e.g. exemption from further SS taxes and no "new and improved" retirement-equivalent taxes until the amount owed by SS has been reached. My generation generally has no faith we will get a dime, so while it sucks it would be worth it to me to simply not have to pay into a fund I will never see a benefit from.

-giving up SS in return for a fixed lump sum at retirement

-not getting any SS payments, but in retirement Federal taxes are "forgiven" up to the amount SS would have paid.

And most importantly, a signed, engraved apology from the United States Government to the effect that it screwed up. I really think it would be best if we could phase out the current system and go to a personal savings account system (which couldn't be accessed by the owner until retirement or disability, or by the government EVER). The government has proven it can't be trusted around the cookie jar, so the best cure is to take the cookies away from them.


Anonymous Cortillaen said...

I don't find your first "draconian" measure draconian at all. In fact, I imagine it's exactly what most conservatives want. Let people choose whether or not to buy into the idiot tax (with apologies to lotteries everywhere for the unfavorable comparison). Then it would crash and burn several times faster as all the producers jumped the fatally flawed ship for private retirement accounts.

Long story short, the program was, from its very inception, a scam. The much-vaunted "savings account" structure never existed except as a convenient lie to convince useful idiots. Instead, it's essentially a gigantic government slush fund that promises to make money magically appear out of thin air. Calling it a government-run Ponzi scheme is quite literally accurate.

I'm probably a generation or two younger than yourself, and I see a ridiculous chunk of my generation being led along, ignorant thanks to public education and uncaring parents, bailing water in a ship more hole than hull. I hate it. The system has made impossible promises and is defrauding generations of Americans to pretend the fatal flaws don't exist. I find 2037 for the ultimate collapse vastly overoptimistic, but I suppose dishonest "fixes", in reality just more layers in the scheme, might be able to push it off that far. The longer true corrective measures are delayed, the more severe they will have to be, possibly reaching the point of massive economic trauma in mere decades.

9:58 AM, May 19, 2010  
Anonymous BillT said...

They'll never "fix" Social Security, because it was *designed* to be a money-making Ponzi scheme for the Fed gummint, not to be a retirement plan.

Proof of that is to look at the demographics from the thirties -- FDR never dreamed that there would be enough people living to age 65 to make a significant dent in the money pot when payofff time came.

5:14 AM, May 21, 2010  

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