Great article on Social Security

After being on the defensive for some time and trying to prevent the long-held dream of the oligarchy to either cut spending on Social Security benefits (so that they can provide more tax cuts for themselves) or to privatize the funds (so that they can loot it directly) coming true, some Democrats led by senator Elizabeth Warren have gone on the offensive by arguing, correctly, that the benefits actually need to be increased for low-income retirees, with the extra money for it coming from eliminating the cap on earned income subject to the payroll tax that currently stands at $118,500.

Megan McArdle is a columnist for Bloomberg magazine who has been skewered repeatedly for being not only sloppy and wrong but even innumerate. But she is a loyal servant of the oligarchy and for such people errors don’t matter as long as they stay on message about why the wealthy are deserving of their riches and need to be given even more, with the money coming from the poor who are lazy and shiftless.

So she has naturally come out with a new column arguing as to why Warren’s proposal is bad. But her article is once again riddled with errors and in a brilliant column explaining the many ways she is flat-out wrong, Michael Hiltzik gives an excellent explanation of how Social Security and the taxation system works. It is worth reading in its entirety.

After ripping her article to shreds, Hiltzik ends:

In short, McArdle’s piece is a screed in favor of paring working people’s benefits to protect the wealth of the rich. Despite her role as an economics columnist, she doesn’t display much awareness of the toll that income inequality, which would be exacerbated by Social Security benefit cuts and alleviated by an expansion, wreaks on the economy’s basic sustainability.

Then again, she’s not addressing a general audience, but a rooting section of the upper crust. She gives this away almost at the top of her piece, where she writes that she’s mystified at any discussion of expanding Social Security: “Weren’t we just talking about entitlement reform,” she writes, “so that we could spend less on the program?”

No, Megan. “We” weren’t talking about anything of the kind. You were. “We” were trying to think about how to make ends meet in retirement, and using Social Security, perhaps the most efficient and effective social program in American history, to do so.

Well said.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    That hoary old chestnut, “the net interest the government is paying itself on the bonds in the trust fund”, certainly is NOT a mistake on McArdle’s part. It is a long-standing lie the right-wing has carefully nurtured. G. W. Bush in 2005 talked about personally seeing the bond certificates in a file cabinet and implied that they were all Monopoly money that weren’t actually worth anything. Yet quite wealthy people continually buy those worthless pieces of paper every month. So, either the American elites are pretty stupid, or Bush and McArdle are flat-out liars. I know which one I’d put my money on.

  2. sundoga says

    Glad some one is finally calling out the Reps on their outright lies and distortions regarding SocSec. I think it’s time for a new Democratic Congress -- one that really IS hostile to big business and the rich. Make them understand how good they’ve had it.
    Incidentally, Mano, have you heard the news about Richie Benaud?

  3. Mano Singham says

    No, I had not heard the sad news until I saw your comment.

    He contributed to the game in so many ways, but I remember him as a brilliant cricket strategist that he transferred into incisive commentary with his calm voice and in many ways was the conscience of the game.

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