Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Social Security: Raiding the tip jar

Deficit hawks often lump Social Security as one of the drains on the budget; according to them it should be reined in to reduce the deficit.

But this is like a restaurant owner lumping the contents of the tip jar in with his overall income and then considering paying the contents to his employee as an expense.  If he reduces the expense of the tip jar, then he can improve his balance sheet.  He completely ignores that the tip jar is funded by customers with the intent that the contents go to the employees.

Similarly, Social Security is funded by the payroll tax.  Current revenues, by law, go into government securities.  This practice gives rise to the notion that the government is raiding Social Security.  You wouldn't want the money kept in a bank that might fold, would you?  And you would like to see the money earn interest, wouldn't you?

So, the anti-Social Security folks raise a hue and cry about Social Security contributing to the national debt.  Reduce Social Security payments and we can reduce the national debt.

I wouldn't want to be wait staff in a restaurant run by these people.