Uncle Sam’s IOUs Can’t Save Social Security

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Dispatches recommended from Jeff Jacoby:

My mother’s mother revered Franklin Roosevelt. She voted for him four times, and firmly defended him decades later, when I tried to convince her that FDR was not the haloed saint she imagined.

“It’s because of Roosevelt that I’m getting $800 in Social Security every month,” she’d tell me. Actually, I’d reply, it was because of people like me — younger workers paying into the system, at tax rates considerably steeper than hers had ever been — that retirees like her were receiving those monthly checks.

But like millions of seniors then and now, Grandma was convinced that her Social Security benefits were an entitlement she had bought with her own payroll taxes years earlier. She blessed FDR for creating the Social Security trust fund in which she had faithfully invested for most of her working life, and couldn’t understand why her grandson had any objection to it.

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