Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Social Security's Double Standard

My latest in Bloomberg View is about the double standard which lingers in the background of all our public conversations about Social Security. Excerpt:
The political conversation around Social Security is filled with double standards. Its trust fund is a national asset one minute and debt by another name the next. The 12.4 percent payroll tax on incomes of as much as $113,700 in 2013 is a dedicated source of funding -- until, when politically convenient, the money becomes fungible for economic stimulus.

And yet, the most potent double standard may be how parties define the purpose of the program itself. Is it a publicly run, universal, national retirement-savings program? Or is it a safety net for the elderly and disabled who need it?

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