May 9, 2015

Wasted Effort

       Some Harvard researchers are arguing that Social Security's Office of Chief Actuary is being too optimistic in predicting the future of Social Security's Retirement and Survivor's Trust Fund. Right wing operatives are spreading the news. I'm not going to bother trying to understand the arguments on both sides because they're completely irrelevant. Let me clue you in to a secret. The future of Social Security has almost nothing to do with the actuarial future of the Retirement and Survivor's Trust Fund. What supports Social Security retirement benefits isn't really the Trust Fund but the political will of the American people who overwhelmingly support the continued existence of Social Security retirement benefits. If that political will were lacking, there would be no legal impediment to abolishing Social Security next week regardless of the balance in the Trust Fund. With that political will present, it wouldn't matter if the Retirement and Survivor's Trust Fund were running out of money next week. There would be hell to pay for any politician who refused to keep Social Security going. Republicans argue on the one hand that the Trust Fund is a meaningless abstraction but then try to invest the Trust Fund with an almost talismanic quality, thinking that any remote threat to the Trust Fund will bring down Social Security. Republicans can keep whining about the Trust Fund for the next 80 years the same way they have for the last 80 years and it won't threaten Social Security in the slightest. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said. And all true