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Old 11-22-2013, 09:53 AM  
Lzen Lzen is offline
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Social Security: The Most Successful Ponzi Scheme in History

Social Security: The Most Successful Ponzi Scheme in History

Mises Daily: Friday, November 22, 2013 by Gary Galles

“We paid our Social Security and Medicare taxes; we earned our benefits.” It is that belief among senior citizens that President Obama was pandering to when, in his second inaugural address, he claimed that those programs “strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers.”



If Social Security and Medicare both involved people voluntarily financing their own benefits, an argument could be made for seniors’ “earned benefits” view. But they have not. They have redistributed tens of trillions of dollars of wealth to themselves from those younger.



Social Security and Medicare have transferred those trillions because they have been partial Ponzi schemes.



After Social Security’s creation, those in or near retirement got benefits far exceeding their costs (Ida Mae Fuller, the first Social Security recipient, got 462 times what she and her employer together paid in “contributions”). Those benefits in excess of their taxes paid inherently forced future Americans to pick up the tab for the difference. And the program’s almost unthinkable unfunded liabilities are no less a burden on later generations because earlier generations financed some of their own benefits, or because the government has consistently lied that they have paid their own way.



Since its creation, Social Security has been expanded multiple times. Each expansion meant those already retired paid no added taxes, and those near retirement paid more for only a few years. But both groups received increased benefits throughout retirement, increasing the unfunded benefits whose burdens had to be borne by later generations. Thus, each such expansion started another Ponzi cycle benefiting older Americans at others’ expense.



Social Security benefits have been dramatically increased. They doubled between 1950 and 1952. They were raised 15 percent in 1970, 10 percent in 1971, and 20 percent in 1972, in a heated competition to buy the elderly vote. Benefits were tied to a measure that effectively double-counted inflation and even now, benefits are over-indexed to inflation, raising real benefit levels over time.



Disability and dependents’ benefits were added by 1960. Medicare was added in 1966, and benefits have been expanded (e.g., Medicare Part B, only one-quarter funded by recipients, and Part D’s prescription drug benefit, only one-eighth funded by recipients).



The massive expansion of Social Security is evident from the growing tax burden since its $60 per year initial maximum (for employees and employers combined). Tax rates have risen and been applied to more earnings, with Social Security now taking a combined 12.4 percent of earnings up to $113,700 (and Medicare’s 2.9 percent combined rate applies to all earnings, plus a 0.9 percent surtax beyond $200,000 of earnings).
Those multiple Ponzi giveaways to earlier recipients created Social Security’s 13-digit unfunded liability and Medicare’s far larger hole. And despite politicians’ repeated, heated denials, many studies have confirmed the results.



One recent study of lifetime payroll taxes and benefits comes from the Urban Institute. For Medicare, they calculated that (in 2012 dollars) an average-wage-earning male would get $180,000 in benefits, but pay only $61,000 in taxes — “earning” only about one-third of benefits received. A similarly situated female does even better. The cumulative “excess” benefits equal $105 trillion, with net benefits increasing over time.
The Urban Institute’s calculations revealed a different situation for Social Security. An average-earning male who retired in 2010 will receive $277,000 in lifetime benefits, $23,000 less than his lifetime taxes, while for females, their $302,000 in lifetime benefits approximates their lifetime taxes. And things are getting worse. By 2030, that man will be “shorted” 16 cents (10 cents for women) of every lifetime tax dollar paid.
While those results resoundingly reject “we earned it” rhetoric for Medicare, the Social Security results, with new retirees getting less than they paid in, could be spun as “proving” Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme. However, that would be false. The reason is that Medicare is still in its expansion phase, as with Medicare Part D, piling up still bigger future IOUs. However, Social Security has essentially run out of new expansion tricks, although liberal groups are pushing to apply Social Security taxes to far more income as one last means of robbing those younger to delay the day of reckoning. That simply means that we are being forced to start facing the full consequences of the redistribution that was started in 1935. That is, the current bad deal Social Security offers retirees is just the result of the fact that it has been a Ponzi scheme for generations, and someone must get stuck “holding the bag.”



In fact, perhaps the best description of the current Social Security and Medicare situation comes from Henry Hazlitt, long ago, in Economics in One Lesson:
Today is already the tomorrow which the bad economist yesterday urged us to ignore. The long-run consequences of some economic policies may become evident in a few months. Others may not become evident for several years. Still others may not become evident for decades. But in every case those long-run consequences are contained in the policy as surely as the hen was in the egg, the flower in the seed.
Social Security and Medicare’s generational high-jacking has become “the third rail of politics” in large part because seniors want to believe that they paid their own way. But they have not. They have only paid for part of what they have gotten. The rest has indeed been a Ponzi scheme. And as Social Security is already revealing, the future cannot be put off forever, however much wishful thinking is involved. Some are already being forced to confront the exploding pot of IOUs involved, and it will get much worse.
The supposedly “most successful government program in the history of the world,” according to Harry Reid, has turned seniors into serious takers. The fact that some of them are now starting to share the pain caused by those programs does not contradict that fact. It just shows the dark side of the most successful Ponzi scheme in the history of the world.



http://mises.org/daily/6594/Social-S...eme-in-History
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:36 AM   #46
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This whole "social security is a Ponzi scheme" nonsense has been spouted by lots of people who make one critical, fundamental flaw.

For some strange, bizarre reason, they assumed this was intended to be an investment. It is not. It is a public government social program to use the resources of those who are middle class and doing well to provide a minimal subsistance income to the poor so that they have some kind of lousy meager elderly life without starving or freezing.

I mean, for crying out loud, social security even has the word social in it. Its not a freaking investment, its a social program. The only reason why middle and upper class people get it too, is because it is good politics to give something to everyone so that no one supports repeal.
The original intent was for retirement of workers as a supplement.

The significance of the new social insurance program was that it sought to address the long-range problem of economic security for the aged through a contributory system in which the workers themselves contributed to their own future retirement benefit by making regular payments into a joint fund. It was thus distinct from the welfare benefits provided under Title I of the Act and from the various state "old-age pensions." As President Roosevelt conceived of the Act, Title I was to be a temporary "relief" program that would eventually disappear as more people were able to obtain retirement income through the contributory system. The new social insurance system was also a very moderate alternative to the radical calls to action that were so common in the America of the 1930s.
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:41 AM   #47
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I am educated on the matter and I'm talking about the entire government not just social security. Print more money.
Well this is a discussion about Social Securtity and the the government doesn't print money to to give to Social Security. In fact the government takes from Social Security.

Your comment was BS. Your comment was ignorant. All you were doing was trying to make sure your partisan take on everything is put into every thread. Doesn't matter if its applicable or not.
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:44 AM   #48
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Well this is a discussion about Social Securtity and the the government doesn't print money to to gove to Social Security. In fact the government takes from Social Security.

Your comment was BS. Your comment was ignorant. All you were doing was trying to make your partisan take on everything is put into every thread. Doesn't matter if its applicable or not.
OH stfu, I've posted as much on SS before. Bush and Clinton both stole from Social security so take your partisan hack bullshit somewhere else. I am anything but partisan.
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:52 AM   #49
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I am anything but partisan.
Sure pal. Prove it.
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I believe Hitler hated Jews and had a lot of them killed. I dont believe it was anywhere close to 6 million though. I'm not an anti-semite; I just think that number has been severely inflated and there is a lot of evidence that supports this belief.
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:55 AM   #50
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:01 AM   #51
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As far as I am concerned, any program which counts on new participangs paying in to pay out for old payers is a ponzi scheme. The only difference here is that the government can compel working class individuals to pay in. It is wasteful. Shamelessly wasteful. That money could have been used in equity and debt markets throughout the country, but instead it has been turned into pork packages for congress people which generates no return for the taxpayer.
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:04 AM   #52
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Sure pal. Prove it.
Were you even around here during the Bush years? You know how much crap I caught for being a "liberal"?
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:21 PM   #53
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As far as I am concerned, any program which counts on new participangs paying in to pay out for old payers is a ponzi scheme. The only difference here is that the government can compel working class individuals to pay in. It is wasteful. Shamelessly wasteful. That money could have been used in equity and debt markets throughout the country, but instead it has been turned into pork packages for congress people which generates no return for the taxpayer.
Its a "ponzi scheme" the same way food stamps are a "ponzi scheme".

Social Security is a government welfare program. The only reason why everyone gets this and not food stamps, is to prevent repeal.
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:51 PM
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Old 11-23-2013, 01:39 PM   #54
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@ people bekng shown that SS is not even close to being a ponzi yet still insisting it is.

Also, for those advocating privatization, it is a terrible idea. It would depress returns and increase risk as Wall St would have a guaranteed stream of money that they would just find ways to fleece.
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:11 PM   #55
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Its a "ponzi scheme" the same way food stamps are a "ponzi scheme".

Social Security is a government welfare program. The only reason why everyone gets this and not food stamps, is to prevent repeal.
Really? Welfare? I have never taken a dime from the government and they have gladly taken a slice of my pay starting when I was 14 years old. How would it be considered welfare for me to get my money back? They can keep the money they took from my employers but it would be nice to get the money they have taken from me forcibly over the years~
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:52 PM   #56
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Really? Welfare? I have never taken a dime from the government and they have gladly taken a slice of my pay starting when I was 14 years old. How would it be considered welfare for me to get my money back? They can keep the money they took from my employers but it would be nice to get the money they have taken from me forcibly over the years~
"Your" money is long gone. If you want money now it's coming from someone else. Did you think you were investing your money in some sort of an annuity through the government and that one day they would give you your money back with interest?
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:04 PM   #57
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Were you even around here during the Bush years? You know how much crap I caught for being a "liberal"?
I voted for Reagan twice, does that make me a Republican?

I'm talking about right now, not what you were. Your still currently a partisan incapable of viewing another s perspective.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:16 PM   #58
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IOU's, lol. It is actually Latin American Countries that cannot pay out, not America.

Oh, and you opinion pieces are bunk. Not even linking to to the study.

So, I take it you are FOR government mandates then, since the government mandates Chili's workers deposit 13.3 percent into private accounts?

Or for the government to subside workers for failing to accumulate enough money in their accounts? There are your IOU's.

You see, the returns you are claiming are false, intentionally ignoring the costs of the middle man, among other things.





http://www.globalaging.org/pension/us/socialsec/kay.htm
The article you are quoting from is from 1997. Of course the article you post also forgets to point out that there are fees associated with social security management, they just aren't paid transparently through the social security tax. They are paid out of general operating funds which come from other taxes and well social security taxes. Remember, the government doesn't follow GAAP.

The Chilean system is just more upfront and transparent to the consumer as to what those costs are. The social security system is not. Just like the canard that medicare is more cost efficient than private insurance. Its not, its actual cost is hidden and covered by other function of the government.

Another problem with social security is that congress at a whim can stop paying benefits. There is no individual account for you, you don't own any of that money and it has already been spent. Also, soon social security will have a negative return on investment and there is no way switch to another fund like the Chilean system.

Finally, I am not for the government coercing people to save for their retirement but if the government is going to do it. I would rather have those accounts and funds in private hands. You can only sue the government after all if they decide to let you. Not so with a private company.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:42 PM   #59
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I voted for Reagan twice, does that make me a Republican?

I'm talking about right now, not what you were. Your still currently a partisan incapable of viewing another s perspective.
Ok, i'm not sure you've ever noticed but I'm totally Issues based. I never vote along party lines. I vote based on what side of the issue these morons are on. If by partisan I have a stance on issues that's not likely to change, then yes you are correct. I consider those that don't to be wishy washy people that shouldn't vote.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:50 PM   #60
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"Your" money is long gone. If you want money now it's coming from someone else. Did you think you were investing your money in some sort of an annuity through the government and that one day they would give you your money back with interest?
I did not think anything it was taken from me rather I liked it or not. I would be more than thrilled if they gave it back to me with no interest~
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