Thursday, November 9, 2017

Smith: Three Myths About Fixing Social Security

Writing for, Brenton Smith outlines three myths about Social Security’s funding health:

Social Security is the largest, and arguably most important, program in the federal government. It is a life-line for millions. For the rest of us the program is a set of never-ending, polarizing arguments.

The contentiousness is caused in large part by the number and conflicting nature of the urban legends surrounding the system. Everyone has a fact that is someone else’s myth.

These convictions about the program shape who voters elect, and seriously limit what candidates are willing to say to the electorate. These beliefs have so penetrated the public conscience that actual policy makers are left herding unicorns.

Check out the whole article here.


Arne said...

It seems like an improvement over the myths of a decade ago when it "we don't need to do anything" on one side and "you will get zero" on the other.

A couple of nitpicks: 1) should say "full benefits" or the explanation is not quite right. 2) addresses payments even though it states the myth in terms of collections.

What all of Smith's "myths" have in common is the reality that Social Security cannot remain static in the face of changing economic and demographic conditions. Many people want to suggest solutions without understanding the problems.

JoeTheEconomist said...

Thank Arne,

I am not sure where you expected to see "full benefits". That is what is meant by scheduled benefits. I am not sure of your concern in the second nitpick.

Actually these myths are the backbone of the we-dont-need-to-do-anything mindset. The you-will-get-zero message is still around. I see that we are still where we were 10 years ago While these cliches may have a small rate of depletion, they still offset in a false dichotomy that leads to zero-progress. It isn't that they constitute 50% of the voter base, but collectively these forces can stop anyone from assimilating a base for support, ie suggesting a serious solution.

I will have to write a new myth piece incuding the you-will-get-nothing myth. Let me know if you have others that you would like to see included.