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1/14/2005

Social Security Abolition

Charles Stein gets a Boston Globe background series on social security off to a mediocre start. Following the excellent series on Republican corruption, I'm disappointed.

The article tries to explain the different assumptions that ground the competing social security camps. People who think the program is in good health assume that the government will not default on its debt, and that the promise made in the Greenspan 1983 tax increases should be kept. People who want to abolish social security think that we will not repay the debts we owe to those who've paid payroll taxes since 1983. The article explains the different assumptions, but it doesn't provide the tools for evaluating them (maybe later in the series?).

Debt owed the social security system is a "special class" - how is it special, and is there any reason to think it is less likely to be paid? Is it incorporated in the reported national debt figures?

The trust fund is operating exactly the way it was intended by the Greenspan Commission. Why do people now pretend that the promise underlying that compromise has no moral authority? Abolishing social security because "the trust fund is fake" is a dramatic reneg on a $1.5 trillion debt, debt that was paid by middle class workers.

 

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