Ponzi! Ponzi! Ponzi! There, I said it. To the extent people believe there are trust funds with their names on them, Social Security is absolutely a Ponzi scheme. So is Medicare. People need to hear it.
Many people think that when the government takes payroll tax from their paychecks, it goes to something like a savings account. Seniors who collect Social Security think they’re just getting back money that they put into their “account.” Or they think it’s like an insurance policy — you win if you live long enough to get more than you paid in. Neither is true. Nothing is invested. The money taken from you was spent by government that year. Right away. There’s no trust fund. The plan is unsustainable. Medicare is worse.
Mitt Romney and other Republicans who scoff at Rick Perry shamelessly pander to older voters. They should tell people the truth.
Still, I’m not convinced Perry has more than a sound bite. In his USA Today op-ed this week, the most he says is, “We must consider reforms to make Social Security financially viable.” He doesn’t say what kind of reforms.
Charles Ponzi promised to make money for investors by taking advantage of price differences in coupons for postage stamps. Trouble is, he paid some early “investors” with money wheedled from later “investors.”
What sustains a Ponzi scheme is deception. If people really knew how it worked, they wouldn’t sign on.