Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Soaking (and means-testing) the wealthy won't fix Social Security

Allan Sloan gives us a warm-up on the debate on Social Security for the 2016 presidential season on p. A12, Economy and Business, of the Washington Post on Tuesday morning, link here, title “Soaking the ‘rich’ won’t fix Social Security” (or, online, “Blaming and fleecing the ‘rich’”). 
He reviews Chris Christie’s plan to means test richer Social Security benes now, and notes the $73 billion deficit for Social Security in 2014.  He also analyzes his own contributions and his wife’s, and says the couple gets an under-return of about 25% from what it should have gotten from a private annuity. So the rich are already subsidizing social security.
Note there are arguments for taking Social Security benefits early as a hedge against possible means testing from politicians in the future.

My own benefit seems fair enough.  I took it out at age 62 and my break-even age is 77.  I had good reasons, and cannot complain. 

But we have to stop acting like we will expropriate benefits people thought they had earned while working, even if they are “better off” than others.  That’s still why I like Cato-style privatization, and treating and debating tax-supported welfare separately, and honestly.
The means testing argument, when applied to me, would imply, I should go out calling people to sell them things, like everyone else has to. 

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