Social Security turned 75 last week, and yet I saw few demands to retire the program.
Instead, pundits like Paul Krugman took the occasion to praise the septuagenarian boondoggle.
Krugman started boldly, saying that the program “brought dignity and decency to the lives of older Americans.” Huh? Social Security has indeed brought a steady income to retired Americans, many of whom would have had to rely on their children’s help to live out their last years. But Krugman doesn’t say that. Instead he implies that, before Social Security, old folks led indecent and base lives.
But think about this: Saving for yourself and living on a limited means is indecent? It lacks dignity?
Krugman also talks about the economics of the program, defending, for instance, its dual accounting method in a bizarre way. But mostly he steps carefully around Social Security’s biggest failings, which include the intergenerational swindle, providing bigger rewards-over-contributions to earlier retirees than to current recipients, and, by its nature, will take more from, and give less to, future retirees.
Most shockingly, though, he says this: “Social Security has been running surpluses for the last quarter-century, banking those surpluses in a special account, the so-called trust fund.”
Krugman does all but state that the special account has money in it.
I guess Social Security is a program too important to Krugman to tell the truth about.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.