Tuesday, January 25, 2005

An idea for Social Security reform that I hadn't heard before

An economist writes...
... there is only one real problem with social security: the declining ratio of earners paying in to receivers of payments.

This problem results from Congress and social security administrators treating the rules governing individual eligibility for entry into those two groups as two compartmentalized decisions, rather than the single joint decision which is necessary to make the scheme work.

In principle this is an easy thing to fix. If Congress stipulated that the ratio of earners to receivers would remain at some fixed ratio (say 3 to 1), and that eligibility to join the group of receivers would be determined by the availability of slots that did not decrease that ratio, then social security would be sustainable forever.

The beauty of this proposal is that it does nothing to diminish the importance of a national pension system for those who favor such things.

I daresay that there would even be a clamor for such a system if voters understood that receiving social security wasn't a right, but rather something that you had to wait your turn for.

[Via Carnival of the Capitalists]
At age 65, take a number and wait?

I don't know about that "clamor" -- but it sure seems like this would create an incentive towards making the idea of euthanasia more popular among the 50+ set.

I mean, I wouldn't want to be a retiree on life support with a 55-year-old doctor, lest the last words I hear be "Making room for one more!"