“Phasing Out” Social Security: That’s a World Class Dumb Idea

So, I’m reading CNN and I run across this line, “Many conservatives have long argued that in order to keep Social Security solvent, it must be modified. One popular idea is to transform the program into a private savings account. Yet others call for its outright elimination.”

This prompted an eye roll. After all, who’s calling for ending Social Security? Some fruit loop on a Ron Paul message board somewhere?

Much to my dismay, CNN actually had the goods this time,

Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, a conservative public policy center, also spoke to the Phoenix audience. He called Social Security a “morally corrupt scheme” that’s causing “suffering” in the United States.

“Phasing out Social Security is not going to be easy. It’s going to take a little bit of time,” Brook said. “But we need to stand on principle.”

This sort of idiocy is stunning. The time to argue on principle that the country would be better off without a Social Security program was the thirties. It’s 75 years too late to try to make the case now.

That’s because there’s not the tiniest, slightest, most infinitesimal chance that the American people would even consider “phasing out Social Security.” Let me put it this way: There’s probably a better chance that we would declare Islam to be our national religion or convert wholesale to communism than there is that Americans would willingly give up Social Security.

It. Just. Won’t. Happen.

Moreover, at this point, it’s not even “principled” to ask the American people to do it. After all, we’ve had Americans who’ve paid into the program their whole lives and in return, they were promised they’d get Social Security if they lived long enough. If you’ve spent 45 years paying into Social Security, what’s “principled” about saying, “You get nothing for all the money you’ve paid in”? There’s nothing principled about it at all. When you do that to people, it’s called a “screw-job.”

That being said, is the program sustainable in its current form?

No.

At a minimum, we’re going to need to significantly increase the age when people can start drawing on their benefits. Sadly, we’ve been so irresponsible for so long that even that may not be enough and we may also be forced to increase taxes or even cheat some people out of their benefits by means testing for eligibility. But, those are things we may have to do out of necessity to ensure that we don’t go bankrupt paying out benefits. After all, you can’t get Social Security payments from a government that has no money.

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