Is Social Security Dying? The Answer Is No

This opinion piece by Administrative Law Judge Jonathan Baird declares that Social Security's demise has been greatly exaggerated. "While the belief Social Security will not be there [when today's young people reach retirement age] appears to be widely held," Baird writes, "nothing could be further from the truth." Baird cites the 2014 Social Security Trustees Report as evidence that benefits will be paid well into the future, even if lawmakers take no action on reform efforts.

But Baird says that Social Security nonetheless is in need of some reform.

First, Baird touches on what its critics have long argued:

  • It will go bankrupt (now or later)
  • It's a Ponzi scheme
  • Seniors should not need to rely on as much as they're getting
  • That young people should be able to invest on their own (giving them a choice)

"The allegation that Social Security is intergenerational theft," Baird writes, "is a newer spin." But it's the same old-same old argument, at root, with Social Security's political opponents doing what they can to sway the masses toward allowing Social Security to die.

Even though Social Security seems able to survive at least until 2033, Baird suggests that we do need some reforms, chiefly among them raising the payroll tax on high-income earners. Currently, billionaires pay the same amount of payroll tax as someone who earns the payroll tax limit of $117,000. It will take some political will, however, to do that.

Is Social Security dying? The answer, according to Baird, is no. Don't believe it when you hear it.

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