Monday, April 09, 2012

A Depression-era program in a 21st-century world

This title from Hit & Run says it all: "FDR would have opposed today's Social Security."  In short, FDR was a fan of the "lock box" idea so that Americans had faith that the government would protect retirees' money.  But somewhere along the way, Washington conspired to pick its own pocket and shifted to the Ponzi-ish "pay as you go" system.

One of my (many) complaints about Social Security is that it was designed to help the elderly at a time when work involved physical labor: farming, factory work, ditch-digging, etc.  Social Security was available at 65 when the life expectancy was 63 and penicillin was a new-fangled invention.  At the signing of the Social Security Act, FDR lauded it as a way to protect against "poverty-ridden old age" but today it's largely a subsidy for relatively affluent and healthy seniors.

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