Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Killing zombie lies and exploding the Social Security myths

digby wrote about Killing zombie lies and exploding the Social Security myths "The assignment is this and this post by Susan G at Daily Kos about Social Security myths. The first is this one about life expectancy, which is something that has driven me crazy for years. Mush of the literature about 'problems' with social security will tell you that longer life expectancy was unanticipated by the people who designed the system, which is ridiculous. They certainly did. And they will also tell you that life expectancy was only 63 at the time social security was designed, which is true, but they neglect to explain that life expectancy in those days was was shorter mostly because of childhood diseases, which means that the financing ratios were never affected. After all, kids who die at 3 never pay FICA in the first place. "

Good read.


Karl said...

So looking at those number it seems clear that the problem is not longer overall life expectancy, but a higher proportion of women in the work place.
On a serious note, how much do you know about SS? What happens to contributions from people who die before they start collecting? Obviously there are survivor and spousal benefits. I think the real metric we need is the ratio of contributions v. distributions. If this ratio is statistically rising, you could make an argument for increasing the contributions (either through higher rates or extended times).

Howard said...

I don't know much about SS but I do know that if you die before collecting, you (or rather your estate) doesn't get your money back. Yes there are spouse benefits.