Aug
22
2009

Half of the country wants *out* of Social Security.

“Where have you gone, Franklin Delano?  A nation starts this Ponzi scheme to rue*…”

[UPDATE]: Welcome, Instapundit readers. My reaction (and attempt to cash in somehow) on the Crowder Victory Dance here.

49% want the chance to opt out, 37% don’t.  This was the sentence that jumped out at me:

A majority of voters under 50 say workers should be allowed to opt out. A plurality of those over 50 disagree.

Speaking as a voter under 50, let me say that both the under-50 and the over-50 positions make perfect sense.  I’ve been putting money into Social Security for a quarter-century – and I don’t expect to see a penny of it, a quarter-century from now.  Somebody retiring fifteen years from now? …maybe.  Enough to roll the bones, at least.  For myself, I’m tired of tossing good money after bad.

Meanwhile, the article indicates that “[o]ne of President Obama’s top economic advisers signaled this week that the president will try to reform Social Security before the end of his first term.”

Not with a Democratic Congress, he won’t.

Most of those short-sighted people applauding there in that clip are still there.

Moe Lane

*”Woo woo woo.”

Crossposted to RedState.

23 Comments

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  • tim says:

    If I could get my money back that I’ve paid in for 40 years, even with zero interest, I’d do it.

  • Dont Tread On Me says:

    I’ve been paying social security taxes for 30+ years. I never expected to get anything back. I would have loved to opt out – for the same money, I could have gotten a private pension paying about 3X what social security has promised.

    It was always obvious to anyone paying attention that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. There is no “trust fund”, never has been, and intrinsically can’t be, in any meaningful sense of the word.

    Its also been obvious for years that when cash flow turns negative, the options will be to (1) increase the retirement age, (2) reduce benefits, or (3) increase taxes.

    I expect tax increases (and drawing on general tax funds), means testing (probably implemented as more heavily taxing your social security benefit if your income is > X), and perhaps minor age adjustments. This will happen in a few years.

    So in my retirement planning, I’ve always modeled social security as providing $0.

    Of course, the social security Ponzi problem is minor compared to Medicare – which has unfunded liability of about $35 TRILLION. The folks in Congress who are most responsible for this – the Democrats who have done everything possible to prevent undoing this disaster – Kennedy, Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Dodd, Conyer, etc – should be in jail. This is Enron x about a million.

  • Nigel says:

    Seems to be the obvious fix is to just raise the retirement age. When Social Security was created people seldom lived more than 2 or 3 years after they retired. I’m OK with a gradual phase out, but I’ve paid into it for 32 years now. I’d sure like to see *something* out of the thing. But if young people can drop out now, those 50+ year olds will get screwed out of what they paid in since it’ll go broke even faster.

  • Don Meaker says:

    Social Security average interest rate is 1%…Not 1% a year, but 1% over the entire 40+ years that a person works. Of course the return is less for blacks and other poor who have a shorter expected life after retiring. I want out and I am 55 this year.

  • Tom Gunn says:

    Moe do you really think the fed will not somehow attach whatever you may save for your retirement to fund the retirement of those who will not save?

    You aint been payin attention.

  • Kevin says:

    When Obama says “reform social security”, he means “remove the income cap on taxation while keeping the cap on payouts.”

    So, if a married couple makes $300K both working, they get to pay out almost $40K a year in the hope of getting $3K a moth after the retire, with nothing for anyone if they die.

  • kjl291 says:

    Silly Moe,

    Don’t you know that “Entitlement Reform” means “Raise Taxes” to Democrats? Actually, most thingd Democrats say actually mean “Raise Taxes.”

    In that sense, I don’t think the Dem Congress will have a problem with it…

  • John says:

    >>> the president will try to reform Social Security before the end of his first term

    Umm, ya do know that this is code for “raising the eligibility age”, right? The only “reform” Democrats have in mind for SS is making sure more people die before they are eligible to receive it.

    This is why they want control of health care so badly, so they can tweak the actuarial tables, deny health care to seniors and bump off all those non-tax producing citizens.

    Your government is using your tax dollars to kill you. Literally.

  • Don says:

    I m 53.I wish a Politician…any politician…would have the guts to admit it is broken and propose the following:
    WAIT LONGER and RECEIVE LESS in Social Security payments.
    That would work.. Make the MINIMUM Mandatory age 70 and reduce the payout.
    That is a possible solution.
    That would actually work. The BIGGER Problem is Medicare.
    That will go broke sooner and costs continue to rise for elder care.
    The answer is NOT Obamacare, but something needs to be done to fix the Medicare bankruptcy.
    I do not want to burden my kids and their kids with a broken retirement scheme or a broken Medicare program.
    We can figure it out if smart people put their minds to it.
    Government is NOT the answer, of that I am sure.

  • Metz says:

    There needs to be a plan to phase out Social Security. Unfortunately, a line needs to be drawn for those of a certain age that you will not be entitled to any benefits. I say this as a 44 year old who has maxed their contributions for several years, and would be fine being one of the ones excluded just to see an end to the program finally be put into place.

  • Rather than “end” Social Security; how about mending it?

    Private Social Security accounts, restricted to investing in gov’t issued bonds at guaranteed rate of return, monthly or year statements, at death your account rolls over to your estate. Withdrawal from the account is limited to what you put in plus interest on the bonds purchased. Age at withdrawal would be tied to reported life expectancy.

    This still allows the Feds to ‘borrow’ the social security money while allowing citizens who die early to roll over their funds into either their spouse’s or children’s social security accounts

  • Wu-Tang says:

    Yet another reason to seriously consider moving to Asia as an Expat.

  • Valjean says:

    I’ve always loved the opt-out idea — been arguing for it for years. I especially like the idea of setting an age at which opting-out would be “offered”: given the ridiculous math involved, that age would probably be embarrassingly high. But perhaps not. The morons in Congress might figure the electorate actually *likes* Social Security (almost as much as your typical congressman loves his own ideas, especially those involving government largesse) and therefore might figure the dropout rates wouldn’t be very high. Once 95%+ of respondents drop out, this horrific leech dreamed up by FDR’s minions might finally die a long-deserved death.

    As for “mending” this turkey, haven’t we just had a 70-year lesson that government has no business providing pensions? Any “fix” will just work the margins but keep the fundamental idea — that citizenry need government “help” with their retirement — the same.

  • Erik Z says:

    “Rather than “end” Social Security; how about mending it?”

    How about treating people like adults instead of children. Let me demonstrate:

    Adult: Hey, that’s a pretty good idea!

    Jerk: Hey, that’s a pretty good “Idea”.

    So, were you being condescending intentionally or unintentionally?

  • Sammy says:

    Ok, so we opt out of social security, then the gov’t will have to raise taxes (or reduce spending :-D ) to pay off our national liability:-(

    The way out is to get serious about gov’t run healthcare. Then we can use the “death panels” to covertly reduce the head count of the elderly by denying care to people to cut down the liability.

    All the reports say these people are simply living too long, right?

  • Jim Oswald says:

    I’m 55. If I could stop contributing to Social Security today, I would consider the past 37 years of paying in to the system as a charitible contribution. We can not pass this burden on to our kids. The ‘greatest generation’ voted themselves a great deal. They had a lot of kids, so they got away with it. The Ponzi scheme is now collapsing.

  • […] Moe Lane » Half of the country wants *out* of Social Security. moelane.com/2009/08/22/half-of-the-country-wants-out-of-social-security – view page – cached “Where have you gone, Franklin Delano? A nation starts this Ponzi scheme to — From the page […]

  • […] Instead we have Obama lying everyday on national television about how no one wants to take away your current coverage. On the one hand this is a crisis of epic proportions that requires swift and radical action but on the other hand you can keep everything exactly they way it is (if you’re happy with your current coverage, and until we decide to take it away). Shouldn’t people be leaping to get government coverage? […]

  • Jay says:

    Suppose you were given the choice of (a) continuing in social security at present tax rates and assuming that you get the presently-promised benefits at retirement; or (b) forfeiting all the money you have already paid in, get zero benefits out, but be relieved of any responsibility to pay in any additional money, and instead invest that money into a private investment that returns a modest 5% a year growth. Of course if you plan to retire tomorrow, choice (b) is very very bad. But a few years back I did some calculations and concluded that choice (b) is better for anyone under 50 years old. That’s right, if you’ve been paying in since you were 21 — 29 years of payments — you’re better off to dump the whole thing and start over with a private retirement plan than to continue.

    I also concluded that the average black male pays in far more than he gets back. Social Security is probably the most successful program in history for taking money away from poor black people and giving it to rich white people.

    Can I give the URL with my calculations? It’s
    http://johansens.us/sane/politics/savesoc.htm.

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