Monday, November 12, 2012

Samuelson: The Welfare State

Take a look at this RealClearPolitics article by the Washington Post's Robert Samuelson. He's very good on topics where economics and politics intersect - in this case entitlements, aka "the welfare state."

Samuelson says entitlements have gotten out of hand, and need to be reeled in. He makes the point that a number of people who don't need Social Security and Medicare are getting them; he's probably right. On the other hand, if the comfortable-to-affluent get nothing back, they'll cease supporting the program as it becomes unadulterated welfare.

My understanding is that now most of us get back from Social Security considerably more than we paid in, plus interest. Perhaps the poor should get that much, many who are far from poor need not.

My proposal: what if people whose income was above some comfort level merely received back from Social Security what they'd paid in plus a decent interest return on their money, actuarially paid out over the expected lifespan of the individual like an annuity.