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Another Way to Look at It - Scott Adams' Blog

Another Way to Look at It

What exactly is Social Security?

Some say Social Security is like a retirement plan, but that would require it to be self-funding, which it isn’t.

I’ve called Social Security a Ponzi scheme because it’s funded by the next generation of suckers. But Ponzi schemes are voluntary. So that analogy is flawed.

Some say Social Security is a social safety net. But old people wouldn’t die on the streets if the program suddenly stopped sending out checks. You and I are compassionate. We would open our homes and take in the oldsters. The alternative would be feral gangs of senior citizens grazing on our rosebushes. That’s not good for property values.

So it seems to me that the main purpose of Social Security is to prevent old people from sleeping on our couches. Keeping old people out of the house, and away from the rosebushes, is expensive, so we cleverly pass along part of the bill to people who haven’t yet been born.

While each person in my generation is paying to prevent, on average, one old person from sleeping on his couch, the next generation will be paying to keep two or three old people out of the living room, and the thermostat below 85 degrees. It might seem like a bargain to them. I call that fair.

People in my age group don’t have a cool name like the Greatest Generation. But I think we have a legitimate chance of someday being known as the Generation that Prevented the Greatest Generation from Sleeping on Its Couches.