The first baby boomer has applied for Social Security, signalling the beginning of the end of the system as a whole.
Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue called it "America's silver tsunami."
Kathleen Casey-Kirschling applied for benefits over the Internet at an event hosted by Astrue. Casey-Kirschling was born one second after midnight on Jan. 1, 1946, making her the first baby boomer â€” a generation of nearly 80 million born from 1946 to 1964, Astrue said.
"She's leading the way for her generation," Astrue told reporters.
Despite being a teacher for 14 years, Casey-Kirschling doesn't seem to really understand the difficulties facing Social Security.
Casey-Kirschling said her generation won't let Social Security fail.
"I think the baby boomers will want to get this fixed," she said. "They're going to want to take care of their children and their grandchildren."
The only thing the boomers can do to save Social Security is to refuse to accept benefits from it. Most likely by "fix" Casey-Kirschling means that her generation is willing to vote to raise taxes on the rest of us to patch up the program.
Despite the common misperception, current beneficiaries are not supported by their own contributions to Social Security, but rather by current workers. The taxes my generation pays to Social Security go towards supporting the baby boomers, not ourselves, and the baby boomers will make absolutely no contribution towards my Social Security benefits (if any). Their generous willingness to raise taxes on other people is absurd and highlights the selfishness of the boomer generation. I wish the Associated Press and other news organizations would do the basic reporting required to explain how the system actually works to their readers, rather than just quoting ignorant retirees.
If Casey-Kirschling and her generation really want to help their children and grandchildren, they should refuse to accept benefits from Social Security and instead provide for their own retirement. Yes, via Social Security the boomers' parents took advantage of them, but someone needs to break the cycle of current workers supporting current retirees. It would be noble of the baby boomers to take the first step.