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Misleading Memes: Social Security

File under: Things that superficially appear to make sense, but fall apart if you know anything about the subject at hand:

Image may contain: possible text that says 'By the time I am 67, over $600,000 will be paid into #SocialSecurity on my behalf. That money would have been worth 1.9M if I had gotten a 5% return. My annual interest would be $95K. The Government promises me 3,075/month at 67, which is $37K/ year How is this not THEFT?'

What’s wrong with the right-wing meme? First, Social Security is insurance. Some people pay in more than they get. Others pay less and get more. (Almost) everyone is covered. No scammy investment adviser can rip you off (which is surprisingly common). Next, very few retail investors actually average over 5% in the long run (see bad investment advice, above). And with a guaranteed benefit, the market won’t crash just when you are ready to retire. Don’t think that won’t happen again. In short, Social Security is good social policy. Personal greed is a good short-term play, but doesn’t make for a more equitable society. Finally, if the person in the example above lives to 87, he/she comes out ahead. The only way it doesn’t work out is if Republicans drastically cut benefits to plug a $1 trillion-per-year hole in the budget that they created with a massive give-away to the ultra-rich last year.

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