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Generic Confusion

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Monday, October 31, 2005

In defense of Social Security privatization

Jack Stoller at Honest Partisan highlights an article in the New York Times magazine on the problems with underfunded defined benefit pension plans. What's amusing is his comment:

The article doesn't mention this, but it's another argument against Social Security privatization, in my view.


Actually, it's an argument FOR Social Security privatization. Social Security is, essentially, an underfunded defined benefit pension plan. ($11 trillion underfunded, as I highlighted previously.) There's one difference, though: unlike pension plans, the terms of Social Security can be changed. Yes, there's nothing preventing the government from cutting or eliminating your Social Security benefits (other than politics). A company experiencing financial troubles can't cut pension benefits for its retirees by 30%. Yet people who say that current payroll taxes will be able to fund 70% of Social Security's needs when the "trust fund" runs out are implicitly saying that there will be a 30% benefit cut.

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