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Social Security Reform Debate: A Ponzi Scheme Which Must Be Overhauled

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One of the most important and controversial issues being debated among GOP presidential nominees this cycle is that of social security -- where it stands and where it’s going.Social Security

And with good reason.   The current application and structure of social security is leading this universally accepted and necessary financial security net into oblivion.  That is, as it is currently implemented future generations won’t benefit from this program as it was originally intended.  

Even nowadays, it is too often that senior citizens worry about the state of their finances and how they are going to get by day-to-day living solely from the income of their social security checks.  And according to our lawmakers and the media, the pot from which social security is pulled is emptying quicker than it is being refilled.

Technically I’ve been in the workforce since I was 17 (8 years).  And during this time I’ve been working under the impression that the part of my paycheck dedicated to social security was one of the few worthy allocations of my hard-earned dollars. Put money in now, receive the equal amount later when age, health and overall well-being leads one to retire from the workforce…

But because of increasing life expectancies and a regularly increasing cost of living, our input into the system will in all likelihood work disproportionately against many of us, and is already taking a toll on current workers ready to retire or thinking of retiring in the next few years.

According to an earlier proposal by Senators Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul and Mike Lee social security originally was supported by a workforce wherein the ratio of workers to retiree was 40:1.  Today, that ratio has decreased to 3:1, and by 2035 that ratio will decrease to 2:1.

Clearly, the economic numbers won’t add up, and to think that social security will be implemented the same regardless of this change is unrealistic, irresponsible and dangerous.

There must be reform.  And we need to get serious about it now.

GOP presidential nominee Rick Perry has come under harsh criticism for his rhetoric to describe social security, but if substantial reform is not pursued the money taken out of workers’ paychecks to fund social security is in fact loosely comparable to a ponzi scheme.  That is not to say that the right solution is dissolving any type of social security program altogether.  Rather, it is valid to suggest that social security as we currently know it is in effect stealing money from American workers to fund a bankrupt, or potentially bankrupt system.

The Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer said it best:

In a Ponzi scheme, the people who invest early get their money out with dividends. But these dividends don’t come from any profitable or productive activity — they consist entirely of money paid in by later participants. This cannot go on forever because at some point there just aren’t enough new investors to support the earlier entrants. Word gets around that there are no profits, just money transferred from new to old. The merry-go-round stops, the scheme collapses and the remaining investors lose everything.

This is precisely what is happening to social security now.

Perhaps describing social security as a Ponzi scheme may sit uneasily with some because it seems like an attack on a social welfare program widely accepted as a noble effort, but perhaps this type of rhetoric needs to be used.  Furthermore, maybe this language is necessary to exemplify the potentially dire position future retirees will be in if reform isn’t realized.

Contact Alyssa Bonk at abonk08@gmail.com

Photo from commonsensecapitalism.blogspot.com

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Check out more of Alyssa's work at Luckandhustle.blogspot.com and Smart Girl Politics

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