Writing Off The Elderly
Paul Craig Roberts
June 16, 2012
When neoconservatives, politicians, and high ranking military officers speak of a 30-year war against terrorism, there is no discussion about its affordability or whether the one significant attack (September 11, 2001) that is attributed, perhaps incorrectly, to Muslim terrorists justifies an open-ended war against a dozen countries. There is no discussion of the burden on future generations of the massive increase in the public debt in order to finance today’s wars.
Affordability and intergenerational burdens are topics reserved for the discussion of Social Security. Conservatives and libertarians constantly assert that Social Security is unaffordable and decry the intergenerational basis for Social Security retirement.
Recently economist Walter Williams again made the argument that Social Security is not a retirement program, because the income earner’s payroll tax payments do not go into an account for the person paying the taxes, but instead are used to pay benefits for older people who have reached retirement age. Williams characterizes Social Security retirees as thieves who outvote those still in the work force and have the ear of Congress.http://lewrockwell.com/williams-w/w-williams128.html
This is an ideological argument that overlooks that Social Security is a pact between generations. The working generations provide retirement incomes for the elderly and in turn are provided retirement incomes by succeeding generations. Terminating Social Security for the elderly also terminates it for those who follow.
In other words, it is incorrect to describe Social Security as the elderly using the political system to steal from the young.