The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Take A Stand !

05/06/2018

Suppose I owe you a lot of money and then suppose I only pay you 77% of what I owe you.  How happy would you be?  Now, suppose you knew 20 years before that it would happen.  Would you try to do something about it?

Social Security is a pay-as-you-go entitlement, meaning money paid into the system immediately goes out to recipients.  Up until 1965, there were roughly ten workers to support each retiree.  Today, there are about 3.4 workers who are paying my monthly Social Security checks.  Thanks, guys!

The demographics are that men are living longer,while the birth rate is declining.  Either we start having more babies and allowing more immigrants, or men have to stop living so long.  (While older women still outnumber men on Social Security, the gap is closing.)  The demographics are not helpful.

The revenue provided by workers has been less than entitlements paid since 2010, and we are already dipping into the “reserve funds.”  And, the trend is getting worse, with the fund being dissipated by 2034.  At that point, it is estimated your monthly check will be reduced to 77% of what it is now.

Our options are to increase the labor pool, increase Social Security taxes on workers, scrap the Social Security fund and simply pay entitlements out of the government’s general revenue fund (which moves the deficit from one account to another), start decreasing the monthly checks, cutting off people like myself who don’t need it, or the politicians’ favorite — just do nothing and hope something good happens.  What would you do?

As long as Republicans believe that “what works in theory will work in practice” and as long as Democrats want to obviate poverty and unhappiness in every identity group, Congress will remain impotent.  I marvel that this subject has not been discussed with Republicans in control of all three branches of government.  Would Democrats have done any better with control of all three branches?

I recall a Congressman who said the job of Congress is to “do nothing, do nothing, do nothing, and then over-react!”  Sadly, he was being honest.

But, what would you do?

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