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Author: PMcMullenCT Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 5267  
Subject: Re: The Transition Cost. Date: 1/18/2001 8:57 PM
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If Social Security is a retirement program where people "invest" money in taxes and get back a "return" in the form of a monthly benefit, then it's an absolutely absurd program and was little more than a pyramid scheme for the first half of its existence. Ida May Fuller and all her cohorts got much, much more out of the system than they put in, around a 1000X more than they put in. Was that wrong? It depends on what the point of the program was.

That's my point. It is a pyramid scheme that is dependent on a sufficient ratio of workers to retirees. By converting to a system of mandatory private accounts, you are no longer dependent on favorable demographics, and the elderly are no longer held hostage by politicians.

The point of the program, and I think this is pretty much a fact, was to give money to the elderly so that they wouldn't be in poverty. They instituted a formula of how much you got based on how much you earned when you were working to make people think that they weren't getting a handout (most people don't like handouts). But, that's exactly what SS is. It's a means of transferring wealth from the working population to the retired population.

Correct, it is redistributing from workers to retirees, but the retirees receive, in return for their contributions, an income somewhat proportional to those contributions when they retire. The problem is that it only works as long as the population grows suffiently, and people die as scheduled.

True, the first generation of retirees to benefit paid nothing into the system, but since then everyone has received retirement income in exchange for, and in proportion to, taxes paid. Breaking that relationship through means testing and progressive taxation, will turn it into another wealth transfer from the rich to the poor - punishing those who study, work and save in favor of those who don't. If you must suppplement the income of the poor, do it with welfare checks and the associated stigma, rather than through SS.

You may disagree, but just because something is undeserved doesn't mean that it's wrong.

I do disagree. I don't disagree with charity itself (those who give it or receive it), but I do object to the claim that people are entitled to charity.

I think there is considerable public good that comes from not having our elderly living in poverty when they can't work anymore.

Then make private retirement account mandatory so that every senior would be guaranteed a nest egg.

I don't think there is considerable public good in giving people with multimillion dollar nesteggs an additional source of retirement income they can blow at bingo.

Is there public "evil" in the existence of affluent seniors? With too few setting aside money for retirement, is it wise to punish the few who have been particularly successful.
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