Why are Republicans and media pundits really trying to eviscerate Social Security?


These accusations are interesting, plausible, and if true, potentially damaging to one of the greatest successes Democrats (and the beneficiaries of the program, of course) have had in the States. The few facts I know about Social Security are that a) it is not in danger of bankruptcy, the retirement age was raised from 62 when started in 1938 to 67 today (including deferment benefits for workers that keep working til 70), and that according to Milton Friedman, a demigod amongst conservatives, it actually disproportionately benefits the rich.

Friedman claims this is by virtue of the pay-in cap where you only have to pay a percentage of your wages into Social Security up to a certain salary, after which you no longer get “taxed”. You get the full benefit of payment regardless of how close to the pay-in you actually managed to make, so high-income folks get to withdraw much more than they made. Additionally, where mean life expectancy is determined by how much money you have to pay into hospitals, poor people live shorter, and may never collect from the social security fund while rich people who live longer will likely withdraw more than they paid in.

Since this is one of those memes best combatted by information, I’m happy to spread this message, though I’m skeptical without the real numbers. If there’s a risk of insolvency, why couldn’t they just lift the cap since even Lord Friedman suggests it’s configured unfairly? Why must the program be gutted and old people be put even more at risk of dying poor, underfed and without medical care?

Comments

  1. says

    Because there are billions to be made by corporations if social security gets privatized? It’s no different than Harper wanting to bring about American-style privatization of the health care system in Canada. Companies are giving thousands of dollars in donations to politicians in the hope they’ll give those corporations the opportunity to make millions and/or billions off the backs of the elderly and infirm. Really though, what could possibly go wrong?

  2. says

    OFF TOPIC
    I had a Third Debate on Presuppositional Apologetics with Sye Tenbruggencate on Eric Hovinds Creation Today webtv channel.

    The first half of the the transcript is here – http://patientandpersistent.blogspot.com/2011/06/annotated-transcript-of-third-debate-on.html the remainder will be posted over the coming week. THe audio should become available by Friday.

    Chris Bolt of Choosing Hats has accepted my challenge to a debate – http://www.choosinghats.com/2011/06/an-acceptance-of-paul-bairds-debate-challenge/
    details have still to be agreed but it will be over the coming months.

    I’ve also challenged Dr James White, Ken Scott Oliphint and Dan from Debunking Atheists (that would be a tea-break debate I think).

  3. says

    I’m a little wary about some of the numbers quoted myself, but the GOP hand in merely trying to score an ideological victory is, and has been on other matters, fairly transparent.

    The Republican party seems to have shot itself in the proverbial foot after their short-term win in 2010, in tipping their hand too early.

    This speaks poorly of their political savvy in long-term thinking and much of their eagerness to promote party ideals over political and economic reality.

    *shakes head*

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