Sunday, December 5

Social Security Solved and Solvent

Last night, perusing a left leaning blog, I came across this post
by Mr Yglesias. In it, as have many others before him, he tries to propose yet another solution to that anchor about the working stiff's ankles, namely the 15% flat tax called Social Security. Social security has one good point and a number flaws. The good point, is that it serves as a retirement safety net for everyone in our great land. The bad points, some of which are in contention, include:
  • it is a ponzi scheme,
  • in the next 30 years some people claim there will be one conributor per recient,
  • it has a baby boomer funding crises coming up,
  • it has a funding crises made worse by every medical advance,
  • and so on.
Many people are concerned about this issue. The "grey panthers" of our society don't want their benefits threatened. Parents worry about their kids (and own) retirement as well as how much burden their children will be asked to shoulder. I have no clue what the elderly think about their grandchildren's fate.

At any rate, the solution is simple. We all call Social Security a Saftey Net. Well, the problem with SS is that it isn't being used as a saftey net. Everyone collects regardless of need. Why would a safety net be used for those who don't stumble? The "aha!" solution to SS is the following. Let's really use it as a safety net. Only those who cannot provide for their own retirement and have failed to plan for the future can collect. To prevent cheating, I would propose making the following additional stipulation. To collect Social Security, you must show that you have no (or at least minimal) additional assets and will be depending entirely on the beneficence of Social Security for the rest of your life.

Now I haven't seen this suggestion elsewhere. Tell me what's wrong with it please, because it makes sense to me right now.