The Social Security Administration has been releasing heavily biased and overly optimistic numbers for about fifteen years, according to a new report by Harvard and Dartmouth:
According to the report, the SSA’s actuarial projections in the 1980s underestimated revenues and overestimated costs by $27 billion; in the 1990s, that figure was $200 billion.
Now, in the first ten years after 2000, the forecasts overestimated revenue and underestimated costs to the total of $1 trillion.
The Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ 2014 report projected that its trust funds would be non-existent by 2033 unless the trajectory of the program was changed, but King and Dartmouth professor Samir Soneji, his co-author in the new report, had posited in 2012 that the trust funds would be gone by 2031, as the SSA had underestimated how long Americans would live.
That situation could, and probably will, get worse, and the Social Security administration will probably continue to fudge its numbers so there isn’t a panic.
What exactly would it mean if the Social Security trust funds were used up? It would mean that the only money available to pay current Social Security “beneficiaries” would come from taxpayers currently paying into the system, purportedly for their own future financial security.
Truth be told, that has largely been the situation already. When Social Security was first begun, it was sold as a private investment fund—one account for every person who paid into it. The civil government would hold on to (maybe even invest) your money, then you would be able to draw on your money for retirement. That has never been the way Social Security works. The civil government lied to the first enrollees. Flat out.
Social Security taxes have always gone into one general fund. And what you get in return is a fraction of what you paid into the system. It is a scam. A more rosy-seeming method to redistribute wealth. And as with every government redistribution method, a lot of wealth is spilled, wasted, and siphoned off in the process.
So the chickens have almost come home to roost. And now what? I’ve been paying into Social Security my whole working life. And pretty much every cent I’ve paid in has already been spent. Even if I am able to draw on Social Security (which doesn’t look all that likely), it will be a negative return on investment. I’d be better off putting the money under a mattress.
And if I do take Social Security in the future, all I will be doing is giving the civil government a reason to steal from my children and grandchildren just like they stole from me and my parents. No thank you.
I wish my generation would be the one that says, “Enough!” That refuses to take another cent from Social Security and abolishes the system. Would that be unfair to us? Sure it would. But maybe it would right the ship a little for our kids. And isn’t that worth it?