I've said it before (somewhere) and I'll say it again: anyone who complains about budget deficits but isn't willing to radically reform social security is a hypocrite. The system simply isn't sustainable, as the numbers continually prove.

Simply, even using CBO's more optimistic technical assumptions, Social Security remains unsustainable: unable to pay promised future benefits given current levels of tax revenue. The report concludes that "unless taxation reaches levels that are unprecedented in the United States, current spending policies are likely to result in an ever growing burden of federal debt." ...

On top of that, the CBO achieves much of its savings by assuming lower benefit payouts in the future. That is, the CBO expects Social Security to become an even worse deal for younger workers in the future. Imagine what would have happened if some politician had suggested that we could buy a few more years of actuarial solvency by slashing Social Security benefits. Would Matsui or Kennelly be celebrating?

The report does not address Social Security's many non-financial issues: unfairness to working women and minorities, the lack of property rights, or the drain on national savings -- all of which provide further arguments for reform. In fact, in the end, the biggest reason for reforming Social Security is not a question of getting the lines to cross on a budget chart. It's about giving Americans ownership and control over their own money.

The types of benefits that Cass Sunstein thinks of as "rights" can only be realized by those in the present if they're willing to finance them on the backs of their children. As I've written before, I find the behavior of many members of America's older generations irresponsible and despicable.



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