Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

LDL&S: Social Security

Say you were standing with one foot in the oven and one foot in an ice bucket. According to the percentage people, you should be perfectly comfortable. – Bobby Bragan

A propos of yesterday’s post on the future of Social Security, I thought I’d say a word about two different statistics often cited in Social Security debates as evidence of the unworkability of the current system that don’t quite prove what people think.

First, people often claim that while Social Security may have made sense when originally passed, it is no longer a viable system because of increases in life expectancy. So, for example, back during the Great Social Security battle of 2005, the Bush administration’s talking points stated that “Social Security was designed in 1935 for a world that is very different from today… In 1935, the average American did not live long enough to collect retirement benefits. Today, life expectancy is 77 years.”

The statistic may sound compelling, but only if, unlike Bobby Bragan, we don’t attend to the meaning of the word “average”: Continue reading

February 26, 2008 Posted by | Social Security, Statistics | Leave a comment

Why I Expect to Collect Social Security

A few years back a poll was conducted which seemed to show that people in their twenties thought they were more likely to see a UFO than they were to ever collect social security. Now the results of that particular poll were problematic, but it is true that lots of young people take it as a given that they will never collect social security, because by the time they retire the system will have gone bankrupt. I hear this sort of thinking often, and its generally said with a sort of nonchalant cynicism, as if it would be naive to think otherwise.

Well, perhaps I’ve naive, but I expect that when I get old, I’ll be getting my social security check. Here’s why: Continue reading

February 26, 2008 Posted by | Social Security | Leave a comment