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The Truth about Social Security

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 26, 2010

Social Security pays to keep working people (and their dependents and survivors) out of poverty when they are old. It spreads its benefits to all who have worked, whether they have children who would otherwise support them or not. The payroll tax spreads the burden to all working people, whether they would otherwise be supporting elderly parents or not. Both of these transfers are fair, modest, and sustainable. Cutting Social Security would simply create more poor elderly—those who could not turn to their children—and more stressed working families—those with parents in need. Both of these are very also bad ideas.

There are many older workers who've already worked hard at jobs for many years. They would love to retire. But they don't, because early retirement on Social Security is very costly: you lose benefits every month over your entire future life, unless you hang on to the regular retirement age. We should give these people a break, and lower, not raise, the full-benefit Social Security retirement age—say, to 62 for the next three years. This would give millions a chance to get out, if they want to.

Encouraging early retirements would mean that young people—just out of school, with fresh skills, good health, and high energy—would get the jobs they need now. They would not be stuck waiting, or spinning their wheels in school, for years and years. Meanwhile, the retirees, supported by Social Security and Medicare, would provide a continuing stable support to total demand, creating jobs for others as they get older.

This is the way the economy should work. When we have older people, we must care for them, and the best way to do that is to give them the resources to support themselves. There is no "burden problem" as our economy is plenty productive for the working population to support the elderly in modest comfort, particularly if we include some of our truly wealthy in the tax base.

Care for the elderly, energy, climate change, the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe, our decayed infrastructure, public health—these are real issues. Let's deal with them. The "long-term budget deficit" is a phony problem, ginned up by politicians, some economists, and the historic enemies of Social Security and Medicare on Wall Street. For God's sake, let's not sacrifice our most successful social programs to the hysteria we're hearing from them. Web Link


Comments (1)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Slick
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Oct 27, 2010 at 5:23 am

If you really believe the bankruptcy is a made up issue, and that these are "successful" programs, I have some really fine used cars for you...

Keep your head buried in the sand, it is less scary.


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