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Sun Dec 30, 2012, 03:24 PM

Look folks, politics aside, we might have to cut SS benefits 30 years from now... [View all]

...if we don't cut them now.

And as for why cutting them now is better than maybe cutting them in 30 years... well, it just is!

The security of my retirement depends on this. (I sunk my life savings into Purina stock.)



Seriously, though...

Meanwhile, an aging population will eventually (over the course of the next 20 years) cause the cost of paying Social Security benefits to rise from its current 4.8 percent of G.D.P. to about 6 percent of G.D.P. To give you some perspective, thatís a significantly smaller increase than the rise in defense spending since 2001, which Washington certainly didnít consider a crisis, or even a reason to rethink some of the Bush tax cuts.

So where do claims of crisis come from? To a large extent they rely on bad-faith accounting. In particular, they rely on an exercise in three-card monte in which the surpluses Social Security has been running for a quarter-century donít count ó because hey, the program doesnít have any independent existence; itís just part of the general federal budget ó while future Social Security deficits are unacceptable ó because hey, the program has to stand on its own.

It would be easy to dismiss this bait-and-switch as obvious nonsense, except for one thing: many influential people ó including Alan Simpson, co-chairman of the presidentís deficit commission ó are peddling this nonsense.

And having invented a crisis, what do Social Securityís attackers want to do? They donít propose cutting benefits to current retirees; invariably the plan is, instead, to cut benefits many years in the future. So think about it this way: In order to avoid the possibility of future benefit cuts, we must cut future benefits. O.K.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/opinion/16krugman.html?_r=0



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