Both these men sit on opposite sides of the political divide. Yet, they’ve made the same call about Social Security. Perry called it “a Ponzi scheme.” Krugman said, “In practice it has turned out to be strongly redistributionist, but only because of its Ponzi game aspect, in which each generation takes more out than it put in. Well, the Ponzi game will soon be over, thanks to changing demographics, so that the typical recipient henceforth will get only about as much as he or she put in (and today’s young may well get less than they put in).” That was in 1997, even.
Technically, it’s not a Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme involves an intent to defraud. We’re really not intending to defraud people paying into Social Security, but it’s Ponzi in every other way. It needs more people paying in than those collecting benefits. As originally structured, most people would die – losing what they paid in – before being eligible to collect. Now, changing aging in the USA means more people don’t die before collecting, so the system is drawing down rapidly.
As people discuss benefits, the overall consensus is to cut them for younger folks and preserve them for people already receiving them and who are about to receive them. Worse, there is no discussion of what should be done in the place of cutting those benefits, which act as a lifeline for so many people. Even if people never receive the benefits of Social Security, there are a lot of folks that would need to have those benefits in order to keep going.
As a nation, as a people, we have failed in our duty to preserve our vision for what it means to be an American. Our soldiers in our movies and on the battlefield never leave a man behind: why do we lose that camaraderie for the poor, the aged, and the infirm?
We need a plan. We need one that works and that is sustainable. Simply saying, “*I* plan to take care of my family” isn’t enough. There are enough resources in the USA so that nobody would have to go hungry or homeless. We need to figure out how to make it so we don’t have any hungry or homeless.
Or do you prefer images like this?