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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Social Security and You (Part 2)

I ran across an article on Social Security funding and thought it was a good time to write a follow-up to my previous post on Social Security.

I hope that some of you did the work to answer the questions in that post and that you now have an idea of how much you pay for Social Security. Whether you think that amount is a lot or a little isn't necessarily the issue. Knowing what you pay will help you evaluate statements that others make about Social Security's costs, benefits, and viability.

Those "statements that others make" include my own. Here they are...

I was in my mid-teens and working at one of my first jobs (and paying Social Security taxes) when I first read an article about Social Security going "bankrupt" in about 50 years. It didn't take great brain power to add "mid-teens" and "50 years" to determine that it would go kaput right about the time that I was supposed to start getting paid instead of paying. That struck me as kind of a raw deal.

Since then, both sides of the political aisle have tweaked Social Security at the edges and pretended that they've done something significant but the "bankrupt" year has only been pushed back about 10 years. Now it's projected that I might get as much as six years of Social Security payments before there are real problems. I guess that's an improvement, but it still seems like a raw deal considering that I will have paid into the system for over 50 years.

If you're younger than me, I believe that the deal just gets worse. However, this all sounds a lot like one guy's opinion. What about the data? I strongly suggest reading The Coming Generational Storm by Laurence J. Kotlikoff and Scott Burns. It's a well-researched, data-driven analysis of Social Security but written in a readable style.

You don't have to buy it. If your local public library doesn't have a copy, ask them to buy one. Those are your tax dollars too.

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