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Ok. I get these Kucinich updates every day, and I don't share them… - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Dec. 13th, 2003

04:13 pm

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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 14th, 2003 10:44 am (UTC)
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I've been discussing this a lot with other folks.

The fact of the matter is that Social Security is designed to work well and it would be completely solvent for at least our generation's retirement and probably much further out. Minor tweaks to it's structure should keep it solvent indefinitely. The ONLY real threat to the Social Security system is that the government has borrowed so much money from the Social Security Trust Fund that there is a danger the government will be unable to repay it's own debt to itself. The structure of Social Security is fine, it is the fact that politicians have abused that pool of money in the deficit spending frenzy of Reagan and both Bushes. It can still be saved but there has to be an honest effort by the government to really commit to repaying that debt instead of all this bullshit fear mongering about how it is definitely going to fail and should be replaced with something else. That fear mongering is just a way for those who are culpable for screwing it up to side step the issue.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:December 15th, 2003 03:22 pm (UTC)
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Future solvency aside, is the whole retirement age vs lifespan irrelevant? Does anyone know if the original intent that few people would live to collect, or was the lifespan extension expected and built in as a way of allowing it to ramp-up to full scale?

Also, if the system can be tweaked to achieve infinite solvency, how would the politicians be prevented from raiding the renewed coffers?
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From:zarfmouse
Date:December 15th, 2003 10:28 pm (UTC)
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My understanding is that if more people are living longer and not dying before retirement, then more people are paying more money into social security. Remember that there are death benefits to SS , so just because someone dies doesn't mean that the money they paid all their life into social security goes to someone else. If someone dies, their surviving spouse gets some benefits.

Social Security is a system of forced savings with a progressive structure. So rich people put in a little more than they get out and poor people get out a little more than they put in but on average it's just making payouts based on interested earned on money put into the system over a lifetime of work. It isn't predicated on death and if it ever received a slight advantage from early death (I don't know if it did or didn't) that should be easily corrected for by tweaking the numbers a bit.

Politicians would be prevented from raiding by enacting specific laws disallowing the government to borrow more than a certain amount from the SS trust fund and to have constant electoral vigilance to keep that protection as a priority. Note that "raiding" might not be entirely accurate. The money hasn't been stolen. It has been borrowed. If the government manages to pay it back without resorting to simply printing more money and causing devaluation of the dollar then nothing will go wrong. The issue here has NOTHING to do with Social Security and everything to do with unsound fiscal management by the government over the past 20+ years. If it wasn't SS that was in trouble it'd be whatever other creditor loaned huge stacks of cash to a nation already deeply in debt.

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