Ignore The Social Security Fix-mongering

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NOVEMBER 1, 2007

Ignore The Social Security Fix-mongering

Josh Marshall raises a great question today about Social Security, one I've wondered about myself for quite a while: If you believe the Social Security trust fund is one big myth, as most conservatives do, why on earth does it make sense to start "saving" Social Security today? After all, the Social Security program will be running surpluses for another decade or so. Those surpluses currently help fund the rest of the government, which, in return, sticks a lot of IOUs in the Social Security trust fund. The only thing "saving" Social Security today--that is, raising taxes or cutting benefits--would accomplish is to increase the size of the current Social Security surplus, and therefore the number of IOUs in the trust fund. But, of course, if you don't actually believe in the trust fund, it's not clear why you'd want to make it bigger. (Well, it is clear, as Josh points out: Because you want to raid it for tax cuts. It's just not clear why anyone should go along with you.)

--Noam Scheiber

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