Monday, December 23, 2013

The Left Wants to INCREASE the Benefits Paid Out by the Broke Social Security System

Talk about pathological altruism.

Charles Blahous writes:
Followers of politics may have noticed a recent push from the left to expand Social Security benefits above and beyond the current-law growth schedule (which itself remains unfinanced). Such an expansion has received support from, Paul Krugman, and even from some sitting U.S. Senators. While expanding a popular program carries an obvious political utility, any reasonably careful analysis of Social Security reveals the idea to be highly problematic at best[...]

Unless current-law benefit increases are substantially slowed, younger workers will shoulder unprecedented cost burdens. The number of Social Security beneficiaries is increasing dramatically as the large Baby Boom generation hits the benefit rolls. Paying rising per-capita benefits to a swelling beneficiary population comes with a heavy price. When the boomers began to hit the rolls in 2008, the cost of financing Social Security benefits amounted to 11.6 cents of each taxable dollar American workers earned[...]

The left’s latest proposals embody a conscious effort to recast the Social Security debate by adopting a policy position well outside of longstanding mainstream opinion. For years, policy analysts have grappled with how to reconcile the growing gap between Social Security’s scheduled benefits and the financial resources available to pay for them. Conservatives generally prefer to slow cost growth, and progressives to raise taxes, while bipartisan proposals such as Simpson-Bowles land roughly halfway in the middle. By their own account, the backers of these latest benefit-expansion proposals are trying to reset the Social Security debate by positioning themselves far afield from this bipartisan ground. 
The accompanying graph gives a sense of how radical this attempted paradigm shift is. Social Security benefits have been growing steadily relative to inflation for many years. Even if Social Security were denied additional tax revenue to maintain solvency, beneficiary standards of living in 2035 would be nearly what they are today; by contrast, the program’s scheduled benefit growth could only be funded with a substantial tax increase. Further increasing benefits by, hypothetically, 20 percent, would mean more than a 50 percent rise in beneficiary living standards by 2035, and would also require workers to provide over 20 percent of their taxable wages to support one federal program alone.


  1. Looks like there is an election soon.

  2. I'm guessing SS can be "fixed" with a minor increase in the payroll tax, probably from current 6.2% to maybe 8%? (I do invite some real mathematical analysis showing real numbers and not sensationalism with no backup calcs, as we see presented here. Probably best would be a spreadsheet for each year, showing projected total payroll, payroll tax, and projected benefits, etc. - find out what payroll tax rate is required to make this program solvent.) When baby boomers start dying off, there should be a surplus and the tax can be lowered again. SS is all many people will have to live on - if it's "broke" prove it with calculations, not BS. And don't blather about the unfunded Trillions 75 years into the future - all expenditures of the future are unfunded. Your toilet paper expenditures of the future are unfunded and run into the tens of thousands of dollars.