People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. It's a historic shift that will only get worse for future retirees, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. ...
"For the early generations, it was an incredibly good deal," said Andrew Biggs, a former deputy Social Security commissioner who is now a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. "The government gave you free money and getting free money is popular."
If you retired in 1960, you could expect to get back seven times more in benefits than you paid in Social Security taxes, and more if you were a low-income worker, as long you made it to age 78 for men and 81 for women. ...
A married couple retiring last year after both spouses earned average lifetime wages paid about $598,000 in Social Security taxes during their careers. They can expect to collect about $556,000 in benefits, if the man lives to 82 and the woman lives to 85, according to a 2011 study by the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank.
This "study" is misleading since it ignores the value of Social Security disability, survivors and dependent benefits. A person who remains healthy to retirement age and has a spouse who has earned wages at about the same rate never uses any of these benefits but a person who buys homeowners insurance receives nothing tangible from the insurance until they suffer some calamity such as their home burning down. That does not mean that homeowners insurance is useless. The study stacks the deck against Social Security by assuming that the married couple had similar incomes. If one spouse had a significantly higher income there would be dependent benefits which would change the equation dramatically. The equation would also be changed dramatically if the couple had a child who became disabled before age 22 or if they had to adopt one of their grandchildren. By the way, I can't find this study at the Urban Institute website.
The best answer to this attack is to point out that the public just isn't buying it. See this survey issued in July 2012 by the Hofstra University Center for Suburban Studies:
So continue the attacks on Social Security, Republicans.The attacks play well on Fox News, so they must be good politics, right?