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This is the question posed by Jeff Goldstein in response to Stossel's Reason essay that compares Bernie Madof's Ponzi scheme to Social Security and Medicare.

Stossel's right. These programs have never been about individual Americans saving for their future; they've been all about taking money from working Americans and handing it over to those the government in Washington deems worthy. Welfare with a kinder face, basically. Now both programs are effectively broke. What a surprise.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 28th, 2010 07:21 am (UTC)
He might have dropped a mention (while lambasting politicians) that we can thank Congress for changed Federal regulations so that the funds of the Social Security system would no longer be held separate from the Federal budget. Woo-hoo! Big win! Look how robust the economy looks with all of this money in our coffers! We won't spend every nickel, promise!

Of course, even if the funds had been kept separate, it wouldn't have solved the cited problems in the design of the Social Security system. Trying to save Social Security before it was too late would never have flown, because some would have opposed it on philosophical grounds (like, it's Socialism, dude), and a lot of us just would have been annoyed by the big, wet bite out of our asses that it would have represented. That's never healthy for reelection hopes, so it never really had a chance, even with politicians who might have wanted it.

The baby boom (and post-boom reduction in the birth rate) is a decapitating blow to a system which already had a stake driven through its heart when Congress jumped it in a dark legislative alley and rolled it for billions of dollars worth of spare change, and which had severe pulmonary and circulatory problems inherent in its "genes." Fortunately, the Chinese will own all of this in 30 years, and if we're still kicking around I just KNOW that they'll bring good government and fiscal responsibility to the few who survive the Cultural Revolution.

Mar. 28th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
Not only that, but the program no longer consists solely of OASI (although that's the public face of the program) so there are additional drains on the income to the Social Security system.

In point of fact, the system is socialist. It's based on the model Bismarck used in an attempt to defang the German Socialists by co-opting some of their suggestions. Didn't work, of course; once you start implementing stuff like this, people keep asking for more, because someone else is paying for it/it's my money, no?
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )