2011/05/31

Social Security is not an insurance program

For those who have deluded themselves into thinking their payments into Social Security have earned them benefits, there is the Supreme Court case Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603 (1960), in which we find these excerpts:


... eligibility for benefits, and the amount of such benefits, do not in any true sense depend on contribution to the program through the payment of taxes ...
...
To engraft upon the Social Security system a concept of "accrued property rights" would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustment to ever-changing conditions which it demands.
...
Congress included in the original Act, and has since retained, a clause expressly reserving to it "[t]he right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision" of the Act.
...
We must conclude that a person covered by the Act has not such a right in benefit payments as would make every defeasance of "accrued" interests violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

So contributors to Social Security may have a political claim, but not a legal claim, to benefits. Paying in to Social Security earns no one anything.

See "Private Alternatives to Social Security: The Experience of Other Countries", John C. Goodman, Cato Journal, vol. 3, no. 2 (Fall, 1983), especially the section on the system adopted in Chile.

You would be better off donating to an effort that is doing something about problems like this. Pass it on.

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