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Craig24

Social Security Works

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A recently published book titled "Social Security Works" by Nancy Altman and Eric Kingston already has 206 Amazon reviews, 200 of them 5 star.  From the description Amazon provides:

A growing chorus of prominent voices in Congress and elsewhere are calling for the expansion of our Social Security system—people who know that Social Security will not “go broke” and does not add a penny to the national debt. Social Security Works! will amplify these voices and offer a powerful antidote to the three-decade-long, billionaire-funded campaign to make us believe that this vital institution is destined to collapse. It isn’t.

 

From the Silent Generation to Baby Boomers, from Generation X to Millennials and Generation Z, we all have a stake in understanding the real story about Social Security. Critical to addressing the looming retirement crisis that will affect two- thirds of today’s workers, Social Security is a powerful program that can help stop the collapse of the middle class, lessen the pressure squeezing families from all directions, and help end the upward redistribution of wealth that has resulted in perilous levels of inequality
 

 

This book and it's positive reception from the average reader may illustrate how difficult a task it would be to implement a fully free economy and country.  Consider the following samples of comments from the reviews:

Whether you’re 18 or 80 – or anywhere in between, or if you share responsibility for someone younger or older – Social Security is your best (and maybe your only) safety net.

...

Very clearly written, the book makes the logical case for preserving and expanding Social Security. Thanks to Social Security, people my age get to live as human being. In the bad old days, people like us lived on cat food.

....

The authors explain the degree to which such programs benefit all Americans and ways these programs could be expanded to help low income people. They also demonstrate how the current programs, and their suggested programs, can be funded in the future with a minimal impact on everyone.

....

This is the book that every American should READ, UNDERSTAND AND APPLY throughout their working lives. It is an unavoidable fact that we will all get old and not willing or unable to work hence, the need for Social Security benefits.

 

 

People have been taught since birth that the government is the best and only source of what one may call "financial assistance in times of need" and social security seems to be the best example of something everyone is convinced cannot be reformed or eliminated without causing the poor and disadvantaged to go extinct.  I haven't read this book yet (I just saw it today) but I think I will purchase the KIndle version and begin reading this weekend. 

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Part of what you are seeing here is a backlash against junk science, moronic populism, and unreason. Sure, its defending a socialist program, but it's defending reason which is more important.

 

For years the common attack on SS has been, "the math doesn't add up". Not that it's fundamentally wrong to make people pay for other people's retirement. Not that punishing somebody for being careful and diligent all their lives by making them pay for others. No, they said, it's that the "math doesn't add up".

 

Well, using logic and reason, the math does add up. SS will not "collapse", it will simply charge higher taxes when there is a different mix of people on it. Yes, that sucks a lot more to those of us who think that paying what we're paying already sucks, but its simply false to say the system will "collapse".

 

The chicken's homecoming on this bit of logic culminated with a rather brilliant politician by the name of Ronald Regan. People who secretly wanted to kill SS began floating the "math doesn't add up" argument and made a lot of people think that. Regan knew the political pressures around SS well, and knew that a lot of people seemed to like it a lot, so he took these statements at face value and declared that he was going to "Save Social Security". HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

 

Anyhow, as for this book, whatever political party claims it as its own (e.g. the Demos), gets to claim the epistemological high-ground. Detractors get to join the dumb-dumb populist politician "have your cake and eat it too" party.

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Well, using logic and reason, the math does add up.

Using your logic and reason, probably. But proudly declaring yourself on the side of logic and reason in every single post you make, only to launch into a series of false claims right afterwards, is not really how actual logic and reason works.

Scientific arguments don't start with "using logic and reason", and they most definitely don't include adjectives like "dumdum" or interjections like "hahahahahaha" to refer to an opposing position.

In this case, logic and reason would dictate that you use that "math" you mentioned, to prove your position. That would be the ONLY logical and rational argument to make in this case: math. Oddly enough, there's not a single number in your post. Not a one. Hard to do math without using them numbers.

SS will not "collapse", it will simply charge higher taxes

Simply, huh?

Unfortunately for that theory, potential government tax revenues are finite. After a certain point, raising taxes does not increase revenue. A logical and rational approach to this problem would've probably accounted for that basic fact, instead of stating that raising taxes is a simple, fool proof solution to any insolvent government scheme.

Edited by Nicky

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Unfortunately for that theory, potential government tax revenues are finite. After a certain point, raising taxes does not increase revenue. A logical and rational approach to this problem would've probably accounted for that basic fact, instead of stating that raising taxes is a simple, fool proof solution to any insolvent government scheme.

 

Finite? Sure. But we can raise taxes drastically in the USA and not have that problem though. We had a vastly higher federal tax rate in the 1960s for instance. We have taxes that are among the lowest in the developed world.

 

I guess you can claim that every government program is "insolvent" and then hope to God that people stop noticing (as they do now) that said program has been going for 60 years, still perfectly "solvent". You can hope they believe you when you tell them that all of those SS checks are sure to bounce tomorrow or a year from now--and then forget about then when the day comes and hope that they only remember your new, revised date as to when the program will become insolvent and those checks will bounce. You can hope they don't write you off as just another right-wing crackpot with conspiracy theories.

 

And we can all hope to God they don't associated Ayn Rand with any of this crackpottery... (too late!)

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And we can all hope to God they don't associated Ayn Rand with any of this crackpottery... (too late!)

From everything I've seen, the use of Randian language simply comes across as a variant type of religion. OTH, the notion of productivity of folk like Hill's efforts to build the railroad, when the government begged him to build the damn, or Rockefeller's bailing out the U.S. government, not once, but twice, is much better received. Taxation for the purpose of raising government revenue is obsolete, according to Paul Volcker. Social Security is simply dressed in the emperors new clothes.

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The fact you have to go outside the existing system to find new sources of revenue by definition means the math will not add up.  If the math added up you wouldn't have to charge more taxes.

 

Reality is you can't wave your hands and claim it works if we increase the number of victims participating.  By that logic Socialism works if you simply go outside of it and force more victims to participate and exploit to keep the scheme alive.

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