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Will anyone at The New York Times speak out for the victims of Social Security?

It’s really a shame that we let Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme collapse. We could have kept it going for a long time had we forced people to pour more money into it.


Not convinced? Then you, my friend, are not a New York Times columnist. According to Gail Collins:

Social Security is not going bankrupt. In 2033, incoming payroll taxes will no longer be enough to pay for all the benefits. But they’ll still cover about 75 percent of the payments and we could take care of the rest of the problem with a few tweaks — like getting rid of the cap on Social Security taxes. (Currently, all income over $117,000 is exempt from the payroll tax.)

It’s hardly news that you can keep Social Security going by taking more money from Americans (although once you add in Medicare and the rest of our tax burden, we’re fast approaching a point where the bill simply can’t be paid).


But Social Security is already the largest tax most Americans pay. Right now most of us are working nearly a month and a half each year without remuneration just to pay for other people’s Social Security check. When critics of Social Security point out that the trust fund will run out in 2033, our point is precisely that this means the program’s already enormous burden will have to grow.


The question to ask is whether there is any justification for a scheme that forces some people to set aside their own hopes and dreams in order to subsidize retirees. Collins thinks so:

Social Security is a terrific program. It currently lifts more than 15 million elderly Americans out of poverty…

What about the young people kept in poverty because 12.4 percent of their meager income is handed over to the elderly each month? Collins doesn’t say.

…and provides many millions more with comfort and security they wouldn’t otherwise enjoy.

What about the comfort and security of Millennials, who are going to be responsible for more than $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities thanks to old-age welfare programs? Collins doesn’t say.


Obviously, if you take money from one group and give it to another group, you can make the other group better off financially (in the short run, anyway). But that is not a moral justification for robbery. Many of Madoff’s clients, after all, enjoyed “comfort and security” for quite a long time. The problem was, it came at the expense of Madoff’s victims.


Will anyone at the New York Times speak out for the victims of Social Security?